Whats the fixation on virginity? By Alkalo Njie

What’s the fixation on virginity? Girls, can’t you see that you have more to offer the world than your virginity? Parents, don’t you want more for your daughters than their worth being defined by a sexual act? Society, can’t you see that your fixation on young women’s virginity hurts you more than it helps you. Your fixation on the virginity of young women means that once again, in the most boring classic form of patriarchal subjugation, you feel ownership over the body of a woman, ownership over her sexuality, ownership over her mind.

Don’t give me that “it’s our religion” or “it’s our culture argument” that is such a boring overused and trite argument and way too easy to negate. All creatures should have the right to own their own bodies, their own minds, their own sexualities, and to tell anyone who tries to enslave any of those, under the guise of culture or religious teaching or any other reason, to back off!

The policing of women’s bodies and sexualities serves the clear purpose of numbing women’s minds, with the intent of keeping them beholden to a system of patriarchy created and enforced by the powerful in order maintain a status quo. The hegemony of this system is so powerful and so unquestioned that even our grandmothers and mothers and sisters act as the enforcers of a system that too enslaved their minds, all for the supposed benefit of virtuous and stable society.

Young women cannot escape a patriarchal society’s double-bind, the fact that men desire the women they marry to be both sexually experienced and at the very same time virginal. Grandmothers tell their granddaughters just to put up with it, that’s it supposed to hurt, that sex is supposed to be painful and devoid of pleasure, and that’s its purpose is solely for reproduction. Mothers tell their daughters to make sure to learn how to please their husbands, figure out what he wants, they encourage us. How ironic when experience is what creates a good lover that experience is the one thing a young woman is forbidden to attain. Meanwhile, the double standard is alive and well. If the son gets some early experience, well, good for him, just turn a blind eye. If the daughter does the same, she’s a slut and a harlot, has brought shame on herself and her family, and has reduced her worth.

And that’s just it, reduces her worth to whom? Reduced her worth to a society that fundamentally refuses to see her mind, body, and sexualities as anything more than something to be owned and controlled and subjugated. When will we break free from the chains of other-and self-imposed enslavement that we force upon our daughters, sisters, and wives?

Rise sisters and fight back in the name of ethical and morally based sisterhood. Stop feeling guilty about having sexuality and desiring sex if that’s who you are. Make your own wise and intentional choices about what’s right for you. Don’t let any other human being own your mind, your body, your sexuality. Claim the agency to be the sole owner of yourself. Resist the temptation to subjugate yourself for the interest of others. Resist the temptation to shame your fellow sisters into submission to the benefit of patriarchy but to the detriment of sisters and yourself.

Your sexuality is to be uplifted, to be celebrated, to be shouted with pride from the roof-tops, not hidden. Your sexuality is a gift from nature and your feelings and desires, if you have them, are too a gift from nature. Don’t allow patriarchy, a system created and enforced by humans and an unnatural system, to win. Fight back. Resist in whatever small or grand way you can. Start today.

Find a sister and talk. Tell her it’s ok. Tell her you respect her sexuality and celebrate her right to have it. Tell her it’s ok and it’s natural. Tell her not to give in to the human created system of patriarchy. Tell her that being true to her own sexuality is self-love, is moral, is honest, and is empowering. Tell her that family planning and being careful is for all, not just for married women.

Tell that sexuality is for those who have it. Tell her to take care, be choosy, use protection, and to only do things on her own terms and in full control. Tell her that enthusiastic consent is sexy and that anything else but a YES/YES approach to sex is not consent at all. Tell her that the lack of family planning, the lack of access and use of protection, the lack of being ready for sex should it arise harms her. How many marriages around us begin with a pregnancy that is covered up quickly with a wedding? Young people have sex because sexual desire is natural. Tell her that telling people to abstain doesn’t and will never work. Tell her that all it does is get young women in trouble, often forcing them into a life of shame or a marriage they weren’t prepared for. The system keeps going. But your sisters are broken from it. Their spirits shine less bright because of it.

Above all, tell her to own her mind, to own her sexuality, to own her sexy self. And then look in the mirror, my dearest sister, and tell yourself the same. Tell yourself to love you, to love your natural desire, whatever it is, and however strong or weak it is. It is part of your beauty, celebrate the gift it is. Be you!

3 thoughts on “Whats the fixation on virginity? By Alkalo Njie

  1. Very apt opinion and a conversation starter about women’s sexuality in The Gambia. Ownership, enthusiast consent and recognition of women as more than just their sexuality is the truth worth embracing. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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