There was a renowned pervert living in our neighborhood growing up. He was amazing with the mothers but a nuisance to the young girls. In my house he was always referred to as ‘Perv.’ Everyone was well aware of his interests and kept him out of the house.

A girl I grew up with from down the road was sent to go fetch her sister from her dance at night with Perv. The reasoning her mother had was that since she wasn’t a virgin, it didn’t matter what happened to her on a car ride with the Perv as long as the virgin sister is not alone with Perv on the car ride back. This story still breaks my heart. The mother thought it’s fine for the defiled daughter to be alone with a sexual predator but God forbid the virgin daughter is alone with him. If you don’t see the problem here you’re part of the problem.

Virginity has been glorified since the Madonna/Jezebel dichotomy. As women we are classified in either or of the two and there is no middle ground. This glorification of virginity is one of the reasons why we have some of the worst things being done to girls of a young age. Such as men living with HIV/AIDS being told that if they sleep with a virgin, they will be cured.

Being a virgin to me is like being a vegan. It’s a life of discipline and self control. No matter how much they tempt you with the meat just say no. Based on this premise I don’t think we should glorify one’s personal choice over another. Chastity is a personal choice just like going to school or choosing what to study or learning a new language. Personal choice.

Being a virgin has become a spiritual talisman. The story of Mary the virgin (take a wild guess from which book the story is from) is one of the many reasons why virginity has been tied to spirituality. Virgins are like the white livestock to African cultural tradition. Whatever the ritual I’m sure a white cow, goat or chicken will be required. Virginity is glorified so much that Achmed the dead terrorist thought if he completed his suicide bomber task he’d go to heaven where guess what would be waiting for him? Seventy-two virgins!

On the other hand, we mustn’t punish people who decide to indulge as well. Describing, not people, but girls specifically as “cheap” for choosing the road most taken is why we have the flawed thinking that sex is not for women it’s something that’s done to women. This is the underlying principle for Female Genital Mutilation, if you think this was you’re right in the razor on the mountain neighborhood. You think women don’t have the right to enjoy their basic bodily functions. (Don’t mind my cautious language my mom reads this now.)

What a woman does with her body in her spare time is her own private business. Once that seal has been broken, if can be used against her as an insult. When female politicians or changemakers start gaining traction, one of the tools of a smear campaign are always oh but did you know she’s done such and such with her body? Always.

Are they still asking if the girl is a virgin during lobola (roora/brideprice) negotiations?