There are naturally a lot of weird Facebook groups... but then there are some that are just gross. Prime example: The "No Hymen, No Diamond" Facebook page, which proudly advances the idea that women who aren't virgins aren't worthy for guys to marry. Over 1,100 people have liked the page — no joke. Although maybe there's a silver lining in this particularly noxious cloud, because in some ways, it's actually (if accidentally) pretty helpful; after all, it is quite convenient to have a readily accessible list of 1,100 people never to date, ever, in a million years. However, one of the most concerning parts of the whole thing is exactly how wrong all of the information about the hymen that's splashed across the page itself is — so let's take a few minutes to clear up some misconceptions about the hymen, shall we? Because it looks like most of the folks belonging to this group could really use an anatomy lesson.
The page uses a lot of the same rhetoric as Men's Rights Activists, or MRAs, an online anti-feminist movement — and indeed, the Daily Dot reports that the phrase "No Hymen, No Diamond" originated on the MRA blog Return of the Kings. The page is full of nebulous rage directed at women who have had sex before — or rather against some hypothetical vision of women who have had sex with men and then start dating some other guy while maniacally tricking him into providing for her while secretly wanting to sleep with other people... or... something. What can I say, clarity doesn't seem to be a forte with whomever runs the page.
In any event, the point of the page is to tell guys that they shouldn't marry women who aren't still virgins — by which they mean that men should only marry women who still have their hymens intact. This message is communicated through lengthy and not overly readable text posts and memes that are both morally and comedically awful.
Like I said, it's a database of people never, ever to date. Anyone who thinks your value as a person comes from the fact that you haven't had sex yet is probably never going to actually be able to appreciate you as a fully realized, multifaceted person — regardless as to whether you've had sex before or not. And, conveniently, the group even has a Zazzle store where people can buy bumper stickers with their "No Hymen, No Diamond" mantra, or the alternate slogan "Popped Cherry Don't Marry," which will actually let you identify these assholes from a distance. It's actually kind of considerate of them, in a weird sort of way.
But although the group overall seems fairly ridiculous, the type of thinking displayed in it isn't limited to one weird social media page. Many conservative religious denominations also hold similar views about women who have sex before marriage as being somehow "dirty" or "impure." And while such religions usually teach that sex before marriage is a sin for anyone, it's usually women and girls who get the brunt of the shaming.
It's also sadly true that there are a lot of myths about virginity, and about hymens in particular, floating around. So if you happen to meet any people who think like this in real life, here are a few hymen facts with which they can educate themselves.
1. Hymens Aren't "Seals"
Contrary to popular belief, hymens aren't a membrane that stretches across your vagina like a seal. If they were, it wouldn't be possible to bleed during your period (and in case you didn't already know, no, you don't have to have sex to get a period). Hymens are actually a ring of tissue. They also aren't seals in the sense of "freshness seals" or any other such nonsense. The status of a tiny ring of tissue has nothing at all to do with your worth as a person, and the idea that it does is absurd.
2. All Hymens Are Different
Some women are born with hymens that are thicker or thinner, meaning they naturally wear out at different rates over time. Some women are born without one altogether. Using them as universal and uniform requirement for marriage is a terrible plan.
3. Sex Isn't The Only Reason Hymens Tear
Hymens can tear for any number of reasons: Sex, tampons, even exercise. Hymens also naturally start wearing away when girls are small. Plus, once a hymen tears, it's not like it vanishes or blinks out of existence; it's still there anyway. So the idea that you can look at a hymen and tell whether a person has had intercourse is just incorrect.
4. None Of This Matters Anyway
This shouldn't actually be a controversial position: Women who have had sex are not impure or somehow less deserving. And a woman's worth as a person or potential as a future partner is in no way dictated by a band of tissue . And anyone who thinks otherwise either doesn't respect women, is hopelessly immature, or both.
Image: Wikipedia Commons