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Get your mind out of things that are not yours

Photo: PIXABAY

Remember Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2019? Remember how the beautiful bride was walked by Prince Charles halfway down the aisle and chose to walk the other half herself. At the time most of us were under the impression that she had to do so due to the lame excuse of a man, Thomas Markle, whom she had the misfortune to have as a father.

I wonder if partly her decision was a silent rebellion against patriarchy.

While a lovely sight to see a bride walked to the altar by her father who symbolically gives her hand to marriage to her husband-to-be (and I dearly miss, my uncle having stepped up to take the role my late father should have played), this wedding tradition dates back to the middle ages.

While today the father giving away his daughter is a symbol of his blessing of the marriage, the tradition has its roots in the days of arranged marriages. Daughters in those times were considered their father’s property. It was the father’s right to give his child to the groom, usually for a price.

In many parts of the world, well into a new decade in a new millennium, the bride price is well and kicking. In many African countries, from cash to cattle, from cigarettes to kola nuts, a pretty bride can fetch a handsome price.

In many parts of Asia, the tradition is still going strong.

In my native Turkey, a famous ‘80s song about a fictional child bride which represents all the child brides in rural Turkey, the lyrics go: “How many sheep does Unzile cost?”

Also in Turkey, and many Muslim countries, honour killings are ripe, often executed by the family of the bride who’s seen to rebel against the family’s choice of husband, eloped with another man considered unsuitable, or God forbid, brought shame on the family by not bleeding on her wedding night. No blood of course meaning no hymen meaning compromised virginity.

Imagine a girl’s worth measured in kola nuts and cattle?

Imagine a girl’s worth measured in a precarious patch of tissue? One that can be torn whilst playing or riding a bike and not only as a result of sexual activity.

Allow my horror, as a result, when I found out about T.I.’s abominable declaration that he takes his 18-year-old daughter Deyjah to the gynecologist once a year to check if her hymen is intact. I guess the only reaction could be to take a deep breath, count to ten and try and remember it is indeed almost a new decade in a new millennium.

Further proving his Stone Age mentality T.I. then went on to describe the annual daddy-daughter trips to the gyno. Explaining what he tells the doctor when reminded that a girl’s hymen can be damaged in other ways, the rapper responds with:

“Look doc, she doesn’t ride no horses, she doesn’t ride no bike, she doesn’t play no sports. Just check the hymen please and give me back my results expeditiously”.’

T.I. then added: ‘I will say as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.’

Can someone get a DeLorean and drop this man back to Stone Age where he belongs? Along with anyone, including women, who choose to stand for this sort of behaviour.

In this day and age, how can a man be so smug about monitoring his daughter’s body like she was his property? And where’s the mother in all this? Is she too weak to stop this man invade their daughter’s privacy like this and then share her presumed chastity with the world like it is any of his or our business?

In the words of a Facebook commentator: “Not only is that not a valid way of monitoring someone’s virginity but it is a complete invasion of privacy along with being completely creepy, disturbing and misogynistic.”

To T.I. and to all men – and sadly, women – who defend his line of thinking – get your mind out of vaginas you have no business noseying around in.

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