Screenshot from the NHND Facebook page
“No Hymen No Diamond” is a community group page on Facebook that perpetuates the idea a man should not marry a woman (under the misinformed societal assumption that all women have vaginas) unless she is a virgin. While the original Facebook group was, thankfully, recently shut down, there is already a new page on Facebook with the same name. This new page states on its “about” section: “Promoting the awareness of the importance of female virginity and why men should marry virgins!” It upholds the same message and type of posts as the original page, even going so far as to welcoming the “refugees” from the original page. This usage of “refugees” implies that the members of the original page are somehow comparable to people who have been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Not only is this offensive to people who have been forced from their homes and live under dire circumstances, but it is also praising the actions of people who uphold a sexist, outdated, and seriously stigmatized ideal about women and marriage.
This group is, unsurprisingly, run by Men’s Rights Activists (MRA’s), which in itself is already a conundrum, since, as men, what rights do they have to condemn, judge or dictate the actions of women? In this case, the focus of the MRA’s criticism is women’s sexuality and their freedom to express it at their own volition. Hypocritically, the members of this group do not condemn men who have previously had sexual intercourse before marriage; in fact, they are praised for it. They have even gone so far as to suggest in one post that “women should have to wear an armband or some sort of insignia (perhaps an upside down cross or a HIV positive placard) around their neck when they reach a certain number of sexual partners.” Not only does this post suggest that a sexually active woman is doing the “devil’s work,” aka the upside down cross, it also suggests that any woman who has had multiple partners is going to have STDs, suggesting an impure and tainted persona. This is both wrong and offensive, and the suggestion that a human being should be marked depending on the amount of sexual partners they have had is horrific!
There have always been cases throughout history where societies condemn women they believe to be non-virgins, whether it was justified or not. However the entire basis for these MRA’s argument to “prove” virginity is a myth. The hymen, otherwise known as the vaginal corona, is a ring of stretchy tissue left over from fetal development that potentially served as a protection from germs and bacteria in the womb. However, it is actually highly unusual for a hymen to be completely intact, as estrogen naturally causes the tissue to change and wear away as the body develops, with the shape and size depending on the person. In fact, in those rare cases where the hymen covers the entire vaginal opening, known as a imperforate or microperforate hymen, it causes the person monthly cramping without the appearance of menstrual blood to the point where the hymen is surgically opened to allow menstrual fluid through and tampon insertion. So not only is the aspect of virginity a misconstrued myth, but in the outlying cases where it is true, it causes great physical and personal discomfort. It ends up being healthier for the person to just get rid of this supposed symbol of their virginity.
The vaginal corona is not necessarily only torn or thinned out through sex; it can be broken in a myriad of ways. The most common of these include the use of a tampon, horseback riding, masturbation, or bike riding. The bleeding and unpleasant sensations that occasionally occur during a person’s first time having sex is caused only when the vagina has not been properly lubricated and/or prepared for sexual intercourse. The “No Hymen No Diamond” group has stated many times that this is not true, going so far as making up historical facts, since they have no sources, to support their inaccurate argument. Thus, they are not only going against constantly-proven scientific data, but the members are also accusing people who have broken their vaginal coronas in a non-sexual manner of lying and deceit.
Not only do these members unfairly judge the actions of sexually active women, but they do not understand the anatomy and biology of vaginas. These MRA’s are trying to force sexual boundaries on women to keep them inferior to men, by enforcing a misinformed cultural ideology through sexual policing. In a way, groups like these do us a favor: they show us how these outlooks are still frighteningly common. In order to combat these sites, and to help the whole world become better informed on human biology and functions, we need better, widespread access to education, and a dominant ideology of equality and respect for all people. Until then, these sexist and misogynistic people will still be able to post such atrocities with the excuse of ignorance and misinformation, and not take responsibility for their actions.