On Virginity and Hymens

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Time for more accurate terminology: Hymen renamed”vaginal corona”

The mythical status of the hymen has caused far too much harm for far too long. Last spring, RFSU published an information booklet in Swedish intended to dispel some of the myths surrounding the hymen and virginity.

The booklet was a great success and flew off the shelves. There was clearly great demand for the Swedish version, and in response to numerous requests, RFSU has now had it translated into Arabic, English and Sorani.

“When we introduced a new term for the hymen in Swedish, slidkrans, many people commented that it was good to finally have a word that accurately described this body part. A lot of people also asked why we hadn’t had the booklet translated. Now we have,”said Ã…sa Regnér, RFSU secretary general.

The new term for the hymen in Arabic is تاج{اكليل}المهبل،,

The new term in English is vaginal corona.

In Sorani, the term is ئهڵقهی زێ

“After talking to organizations working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights with people from non-Swedish ethnic backgrounds, we decided to start with these three languages. However, we aim to publish our booklet in other languages as well,”explained Ms Regnér.

The booklet describes what the female genitals look like and what the vaginal corona actually is. It also dispels many of the myths surrounding female sexuality and the misconceptions concerning the hymen and virginity. Etymologically, the term hymen comes from the Greek word for membrane. In Swedish, the hymen used to be called mödomshinna, which translates literally as”virginity membrane.”In fact, there is no brittle membrane, but rather multiple folds of mucous membrane. A vaginal corona, in other words.

“The vaginal corona is a permanent part of a woman’s body throughout her life. It doesn’t disappear after she first has sexual intercourse, and most women don’t bleed the first time,”said Ms Regnér.

“The myths surrounding the hymen were created to control women’s freedom and sexuality. The only way to counteract this is by disseminating knowledge.

Translating this booklet into languages spoken by large communities in Sweden is a step in the right direction. We also hope the booklet and the new term will find their way to other countries,”said Alán Ali, RFSU board member and in charge of two projects in Malmö tackling honour-related oppression.

RFSU’s vaginal corona booklet is available free of charge. It can be ordered by email from bestall@rfsu.se or downloaded (PDF) (English version).

Via Jezebel.

–Ann Bartow

This entry was posted in Feminism and Law, Feminism and Medicine, Feminism and Politics, Feminists in Academia, If you're a woman, Sociolinguistics. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to On Virginity and Hymens

  1. Pingback: Renaming the Hymen : Forensic Healthcare Online

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