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April 30, 2007

(Almost) Like A Virgin: Traditional Muslim Women Seeking Hymen Repair Surgery

The Patriarchy, Old School:

This 30-minute outpatient procedure, called "hymenoplasty" and costing between 1,500 and 3,000 euros ($2,000-$4,000), is increasingly popular among young women of North African descent in France.

No exact figures exist to say how many such operations are done, but the woman's surgeon says he gets three to five queries and performs one to three hymenoplasties each week. Demand has been rising for the past three or four years.

Doctor Marc Abecassis, whose office is near the chic Champs Elysees, sees the rise in religion among France's five million Muslims fuelling this trend. His patients are between 18 and 45 years old, Muslim, born both in France and in North Africa.

"Many of my patients are caught between two worlds," said Abecassis. They have had sex already but are expected to be virgins at marriage according to a custom that he called "cultural and traditional, with enormous family pressure."

For this woman, the decision to have the surgery came after she broke up with a boyfriend who had pressured her into having sex. Unable to cope with breaking family tradition, she felt a hymenoplasty would help put her life back together again.

...

A leading Muslim spokesman said Islam says bride and groom should be virgins before marriage, but did not take a clear stand for or against hymenoplasties.

"If someone committed a sin, the essential thing is to repent," said Lhaj Thami Breze, head of the Union of French Islamic Organizations.

For many doctors, resewing the hymen goes against their ideals of sexual freedom and personal liberty.

"The surgery is an attack on women's dignity," said Professor Jacques Lansac, president of The National College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of France. "We will not take part in a market that places value on the quality of a woman -- if she's good or not. It is an attack on women's liberty."

Of course, this being France, the procedure is usually subsidized:

...

The church-state issue flared up in 2004 when France passed a law banning religious garb, notably headscarves, from state primary and secondary schools.

Since then, Abecassis said, some Muslims in France have been putting much more emphasis on certain customs as a way of expressing their identity. "Today it's the two 'V's' -- veil and virginity," he said. "It's a social phenomenon."

Surprisingly, French social security reimburses some of the cost of the operation in cases of rape or trauma. "Ninety-nine percent of the time, the claim is a fraud," he added.

Thanks to dri.

Related: Iran cracks down on "loose women" who whorishly expose their foreheads. And clothiers have been ordered to saw off the breasts of their manneikins.

A round-up from the Patriarchy, Central Asian Division, at Hot Air.


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posted by Ace at 01:52 PM

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