Fierce

How Is It 2019 And We Have Dads That Are Still Obsessed With Their Daughter’s Hymens?

Last week rapper T.I. made headlines when he revealed his particularly disturbing brand of parenting. As the rapper detailed on the “Ladies Like Us” podcast, the rapper boasted about keeping his 18-year-old daughter “pure” and said that he does so by accompanying her to her yearly gynecologist appoints. As if the whole interview couldn’t have gotten worse, T.I. proved his ignorance by saying that, despite all of the doctors in the world that says that the absence of a hymen does not provide viable of proof a woman’s sexual activity, he makes the doctor report on its status.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the sane people of the world to express their complete disgust and outrage over the statements. Users on Twitter and sexual assault experts were quick to slam the rapper for perpetuating toxic masculinity and shame amongst young women for their sexuality and bodies. The “Ladies Like Us” hosts even took down the original interview with T.I. in which he asserted that  “I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact” and health experts were quick to admonish the rapper for feeding into myths that are untrue and have greatly affected the lives of young girls and woman across the globe. After all, last year in October, the UN Human Rights, UN Women, and the World Health  Organization stated that virginity testing is a major cause of violence against women. 

For a better understanding of the dangerous effects of misunderstanding hymens, we broke down some facts. 

The Purpose Of The Hymen

When it comes to our understanding of hymens, it’s not uncommon for our first understandings of it to be linked to virginity and purity. We often are taught that “cherry’s get popped” or more blatantly that hymens are “broken” during first sexual encounters.  The truth, however, is that by the time most women have sex for the first time, their hymens have already stretched or torn as a result of different activities including the use of tampons, menstrual cups, physical activity (including gymnastics and horseback riding) or pelvic exams. 

According to Healthline, “Most females are born with a hymen. A hymen is a thin membrane that stretches across the vagina. It generally has a ring-like appearance with a small opening.” What’s more, the site explains that “there’s no real medical purpose for the hymen, although some think it may have evolved over time to help protect the vagina from infection.”

What we know about the myth that says the presence of a hymen equals a virgin

So, now that you know that the absence of a hymen does not necessarily mean that someone is a virgin, it’s time to dig into who started the rumor.  According to a recent article by Bustle, “It’s not entirely clear how or where the myth started originally…There are loose references describing the hymen as a cherry dating back as far as the 16th century…In more recent jargon the phrase appears to have come about in the 19th century based on the notion that a woman was ‘ripe for the picking’ if she was a virgin. Regardless of how it started, this myth of breaking the hymen or ‘popping the cherry’ persists due to a lack of understanding of the female anatomy and an ongoing lack of education about female sexual health and wellbeing.”

The dangers of virginity obsession 

When T.I. told the world about how he violates his daughter’s privacy by inserting himself into her sex life and making her take exams where are virginity is reported back to him, he put her in danger. For once, the idea that he felt he had a right to be privy to what she does with her body gives an impression to others that they have the right to her body as well. What’s more, it feeds into “purity culture” which only generates toxic mindsets and situations for women and sexual assault survivors. In a 2013 interview about her kidnapping, survivor Elizabeth Smart who was kidnapped at 14 years old in 2002, said that she felt worthless after she’d been raped by her kidnapper for the first time. “I think it goes even beyond fear, for so many children, especially in sex trafficking. It’s feelings of self-worth. It’s feeling like, ‘Who would ever want me now? I’m worthless,'” Smart explained in a speech. “That is what it was for me the first time I was raped. I was raised in a very religious household, one that taught that sex was something special that only happened between a husband and a wife who loved each other. And that’s how I’d been raised, that’s what I’d always been determined to follow: that when I got married, then and only then would I engage in sex. After that first rape, I felt crushed. Who could want me now? I felt so dirty and so filthy. I understand so easily all too well why someone wouldn’t run because of that alone.”

Of course, Smart’s case is an extreme example of the effects of purity culture and clinging to hymens proof of virginity but the truth is that we have to stop policing women’s bodies and how they choose, and when they choose to have sex. It’s no one’s business but their own. 

Latinas talk “Imposter Syndrome”

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Latinas talk “Imposter Syndrome”

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Imposter syndrome. It may happen when you finally got accepted to college and have found yourself overwhelmed by the student body, or when you accepted that dream job, or even while doing your job. It can happen in relationships, in friendships. Basically anywhere and amongst us Latinas too. Even despite our hard work and much-earned credentials.

We wanted to talk about Imposter’s Syndrome and how to deal with it, so we reached out to our FIERCE audience on Instagram for their thoughts.

Latinas got real with their responses about feeling as if they were undeserving.

Check them out below!

Remind yourself that you’ve worked hard and are deserving.

“Thank you for posting this! I actually just got hired on as a school counselor and I’m feeling this intensely right now. I have to keep reminding myself that I worked so hard for this and that I AM WORTH IT!” – adelitafamania

Understand that anything can trigger it.

“It happens to me every single day on so many levels. It’s been holding me back my whole life and I keep pushing against it, some days it gets the better of me but I won’t give up on myself even when I really feel I’m not capable. I get so stressed all the time thinking someone is going to discover that I’m not smart, or fun, or whatever it is at that moment that I shut down. It’s so good to openly discuss it with friends or even professional help.” – pinatapink

And it can lead to social anxiety.

“This is so hard, I feel like this nearly every day. Lately, it’s been getting in the way of my entire purpose and whether or not I want to work hard at all. I tend to think, “Like for what? I don’t deserve to have the things I want because I didn’t work hard enough.” Yet, I did. Probably more than anyone else in my programs, jobs, teams, even my friend group. This is so tough and often it leads to my social anxiety which affects a whole multitude of behavioral patterns like procrastination and chronic lateness.” –curlsofroses

But you can battle it by not shrugging off your achievements.

“Happens to me all the time. And when people give me praise I tend to say “oh it’s not a big deal.” But I’m trying to remember that I’m enough and hell yeah I’m a big deal.” – erika_kiks18

Because it can happen to brain surgeons and Fortune 500 CEOs too.

“Our country and our community has been through a lot since the middle of March. Now more than ever is the time to nourish our goals and inspirations. In my podcast, I bring together some of the highest achieving Latinos that our country has to offer: Dr. Quinoñes-Hinojosa: who went from migrant farm worker to a world-renowned brain surgeon
Hector Ruiz: one of the very few Latinos to be a Fortune 500 CEO of an American Company Louis Barajas: the #1 financial Latino expert in the USA. (He is most likely your favorite Reggaeton artist’s to-go financial guy.)
Cesar Garcia: an actor who has seen. dozens of times in music videos, shows, and movies. He’s known for his roles in Fast and Furious and Breaking Bad. Chef Aarón Sánchez: The most well-known Latin Chef in the country. Find an episode that catches your attention or share an episode to a friend of loved one that would like to hear from other Latinos on how they achieved their dreams and goals.” – trailblazinglatinospodcast

And you can cure it by not reminding yourself to not give weight to other people’s thoughts.

“I cured mine by not giving a fck! The enemy is a LIEEEE.” –stephaniesaraii

And last but not least, know that it can be hard to defeat but you ARE worthy.

“This was me on the first day after I transferred to University. The feeling still follows me sometimes. It hard to defeat.” – dianalajandre

Organizations Advocating For Black Women’s Health To Support

Fierce

Organizations Advocating For Black Women’s Health To Support

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As our country faces a reckoning for the various forms of systematic oppression that Black people face in our country, it’s important to note that it affects Black women at a very unbalanced rate. To ensure Black women are given the proper support they need, we’ve rounded up organizations that have been actively fighting to support their health.

Check them out below!

Black Mamas Matter Alliance

When it comes to maternal mortality rates, Black women historically have the highest rates. According to the CDC, Black women are almost four times more likely than white women to experience pregnancy-related death. The Black Mamas Matter Alliance strives to change policy, encourage research, and fight for Black maternal health and justice.

Check out the Black Mamas Matter Alliance here.

Homeless Black Trans Woman Fund

The Homeless Black Trans Woman Fund provides support and funds to Black trans women in Atlanta who are sex workers and homeless. The fund works to give women cell phones, housing, food, and other necessities. According to the fund’s founder, Jesse Pratt López, “Atlanta has almost no resources for Transgender women, so I took matters into my own hands.”

Check out the Homeless Black Trans Woman Fund here.

Sisters Network (A National African American Breast Cancer Survivorship Organization)

Compared to white women and breast cancer-related death, Black women are more than 40% more likely to die. The Sisters Network aims to increase awareness of the ways in which breast cancer affects the Black community in the United States.

Check out the Sisters Network here.

Mamatoto Village

Mamatoto Village is a nonprofit that works to empower Black women to achieve self- care, good mental health, and financial health support.

Check out the Mamatoto Village here

The Okra Project

The Okra Project is a collective bringing healthy and home-cooked meals to Black trans people across the country. The project organizes and pays for Black trans chefs to go into the homes of other Black transgender people and cook them a free meal.

Check out the Okra Project here.

The Loveland Foundation

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, “African Americans are 10% more likely to experience serious psychological distress.” The Loveland Foundation works to give Black women financial assistance so that they can seek therapy.

Check out The Loveland Foundation here.

Black Women for Wellness

Black Women for Wellness is a California- based organization devoted to improving the health and well-being of Black women and girls. The organization works to achieve this by providing education programs, civic engagement, and policy work. Their workshops include sex education and healthy cooking.

Check out the Black Women for Wellness here.

Black Women’s Health Imperative

The Black Women’s Health Imperative has been around for 35 years and works to fight against the health disparities endured by Black women.

Check out the Black Women’s Health Imperative here.