Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Artificial Virginity Kit Angers Egyptian Conservatives

A controversial new product called the Artificial Virginity Hymen Kit has recently gone on the market in the Middle East, and conservative members of the Egyptian Parliament have already taken strict measures to ban the product in their own country. The kit, which is marketed and sold by the Chinese mail-order company Gigimo, contains a pouch that secretes a blood-like liquid when it is inserted into the vagina and broken during sex. Designed to trick the bride’s new husband into believing that he has scored himself a virgin, the device enables a woman to create an illusion of chastity on her wedding night and outsmart traditional Muslim laws that seek to punish practices of premarital sex. “With this product, you can have your first night back anytime,” claims the advertisement. “Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable.”

Although women have been having illegal hymen-repairing operations in Egypt for years, members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, who possess 20% of the country’s parliament seats, say “a product like that can make it easier and tempting for girls who don't have strong wills to commit such a sin. It will be a crying shame and a blot on the government if they allow the selling of this product in our markets." According to the conservatives, the product, which sells for around $30, would encourage a greater number of Egyptian women to become promiscuous.

But as the high demand for hymen-repairing operations proves, many Egyptian women are not afraid to violate the law if it protects them from lifelong ostracization or in the worst cases, becoming the victims of gruesome honor killings. While many in Egypt condemn the Kit and vow that it will lead to a disintegration of the country’s Muslim integrity, many women see it is a tool of empowerment, especially in difficult economic times, when many couples are choosing to delay marriage until they can afford it.

Photo courtesy of flickr.com/aldask

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