Well known rapper, actor and television host, T.I. has recently come under fire for the comments he made in an episode of “Ladies Like Us” podcast. Among other disturbing comments, T.I. said that he takes “yearly trips to the gynecologist” with his now 18-year-old daughter, Deyjah Harris, to make sure her hymen is “still intact.” Unsurprisingly, social media blew up afterwards with anger and shock that he would continually put his daughter through these unnecessary tests.
Hosts of the “Ladies Like Us” podcast Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham asked T.I. about having the sex talk with his two daughters. “Not only have we had the conversation. We have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen,” he said in the episode. He went on to say that he attends the doctors visits with her and that, “as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.”
As most people are aware, and as Deyjah’s doctor pointed out to her father, “there are other ways besides sex that the hymen can be broken like bike riding, athletics, horseback riding and just other forms of athletic physical activity.” T.I. told the podcast hosts that to this he responded, “Look, Doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.”
The podcast episode has since been removed from all platforms and the podcast hosts apologized on their social media for laughing during the uncomfortable situation.
T.I. has not made any comments or even any attempts to apologize for his statements and his daughter Deyjah has not spoken out other than liking a couple of tweets that condemn her father’s behavior.
Shortly after the release of the podcast there were several tweets reacting in disgust to T.I.’s comments. Planned Parenthood even clapped back with a series of tweets that were indirectly directed at T.I.
The practice T.I. exercises with his daughters is called virginity testing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) this is, “a gynecological examination conducted under the belief that it determines whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse.” In 2018, UN Human Rights, UN Women and WHO called for an end to the, “medically unnecessary, and often times painful, humiliating and traumatic practice.”
In a report done in 2017 by the National Institutes of Health, researchers found that women subjected to these types of tests often suffered physical, psychological and social harm. In addition to fear and anxiety before the exam, the report found that the test also provoked “long-term effects of self-hatred, loss of self-esteem, violation of privacy and re-victimization of previous sexual assault.”
Virginity testing has been documented in at least 20 countries all over the world and women are often forced to undergo them to determine if they are able to go to school, get a job or get married.
The term “virginity” is not backed my medicine or science and is a social and religious construct that enforces a social expectation that women should only perform sexual intercourse after marriage. This idea has been proven to be harmful to women and girls all over the world.
T.I. checking his daughter’s hymen is not only a violation of her rights as a woman and as a legal adult, but it reinforces the lie that a woman’s worth is tied to her virginity.