Revirginization Surgeries on the Rise in China
By Kendall McKenzie
In a spectacular mash-up of sexual double standards, chauvinism, and the tired notion that a lady’s worth is inversely proportional to the number of dudes she’s diddled, the Washington Post is reporting that “revirginization” surgeries are on the rise in China. Also known as hymenoplasty or hymenorrhaphy, the procedure either sutures together pieces of the remnant hymen or recreates it entirely using new tissue, almost always for the purpose of “proving” virginity to a new husband via busting it on their wedding night. Lovely.
While there isn’t sufficient numerical data to conclusively determine a jump in revirginization surgeries in China, it does occur and appears to be increasingly common. Previously thought to be confined to Muslim countries, hymen restoration is making the rounds in places like Europe, the United States, and now China, which goes to show that misogyny and f’d up expectations of women know no religion, ethnicity, or culture.
It’s mind-boggling that virginity, which is entirely subjective and indefinable, still remains an appropriate yardstick by which to measure the humanity of women. But the emphasis on the hymen itself is particularly problematic. These thin membranes are an unreliable indicator of one’s sexual experience because they often perforate or disappear with normal childhood physical activity; some believe women can even be born without one. Sexual assault obviously factors in as well. In terms of proving the occurrence of prior voluntary intercourse, hymens are as useless as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
Of course, this hymen-obsession is a blatant manifestation of one of the most toxic and unrelenting double standards, which places strict limitations on female sexuality, yet permits men to get their rocks off whenever they please. (It’s always been a head-scratcher for me: if guys are encouraged to sow their wild oats but women are supposed to remain chaste, um, who exactly are those men sleeping with?)
Doctors interviewed often voice similar ethical concerns about the procedure, but many find the courage within themselves to push past moral qualms and slice up those vaginas anyway. A gynecologist in China admits “[This value placed on virginity] is unfair to women. The men are not virgins. But we can’t change this male-privileged society.” Maybe she’s right, but when you’re raking in almost a grand per operation, I don’t see any reason why she’d want to try. (For the record, hymenoplasty in NYC will set you back about $6,000. Sexism sure is profitable.)
In this modern era of Brazilians, labiaplasty, and, ahem, vajazzling, even women who live in “progressive” societies are well aware that there is no limit to the number of costly and sometimes painful mutilations that our vulvas must endure to be considered acceptable by today’s absurd standards. But surgically recreating a membrane most prevalent in little girls so your husband thinks he’s breaking some arbitrary freshness seal is on a whole other level of sexual objectification. A charming gentleman, explaining the importance of virginity, noted “If you go to buy a cell phone, of course you’d want to buy a new [one]. Who would spend the same amount of money to buy an old cell phone that’s been used for two years?”
Yeeeeeeah that would be a great analogy if women were electronics and not humans, but see, the way it works is objects lose value with use, while people gain value with experience. Who would you rather perform your open-heart surgery: a seasoned doctor with thousands of procedures under his belt, or a med student on their first day of class?
I thought so.