Virginity: Our Cultural Eraser

Everyone knows what virginity is, however people seem to forget the actual meaning behind virginity. It actually started out as a way for men to control their offspring. If a women given away at a wedding was not a virgin, then there could be no guarantee that her children would be direct descendents of the man’s bloodline. Essentially, women were seen as property in the same way a horse breeder sees their prize mare. So why is it still around today? What does virginity really mean?Virginity has become a way of controlling women by defining their worth to how much sex they’ve had. Basically, our society has constructed virginity based on cultural values, not science or anatomy. While it may seem funny how women are usually the only ones who are slut shamed, it makes total sense considering that our society views male virginity as a bad thing and female virginity as a good thing.

For people who don’t identify as male or female, this  can become a conundrum. If virginity is lost when a penis enters a vagina, what does it mean when someone is born a female or male without said genitalia?

Furthermore, virginity assumes that vaginal sex is the only type of sex worth having, despite oral/anal sex literally having the word sex in them. This is both incorrect and ignorant. Assuming that vaginal intercourse is the only way to “become a woman” leaves out gays and lesbians as well.

As Everyday Feminism points out, virginity represents a cultural box that only those who are heteronormative can fit into. The online outcry against defining virginity as vaginal sex only is seen when thousands of people question whether or not they have lost their worth by having sex with someone of the same sex.

When we popularize the concept of virginity, we are popularizing the erasure of minority communities as well as the bodily autonomy of women throughout the world. Virginity doesn’t just impact women who have had their worth defined by the men in their lives. Virginity impacts all of us, gay, straight, or queer.

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