It’s one thing for your parents to help educate you about sex and sexual health. But there’s a fine line between appropriate and just plain weird––and rapper T.I. (real name: Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.) has definitely crossed it. You could say he’s so far over the line, he can’t even see the line.
In a podcast interview on Tuesday with Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham on Ladies Like Us, T.I. shared his approach with his eldest daughter, 18-year-old college freshman Deyjah Harris—and it left listeners horrified. When asked if he and his daughter had the “sex talk,” T.I. said he takes things even further past just a talk. He goes with her to the gynecologist every year to “check her hymen” and make sure it’s “still intact.”
T.I. even added that after Deyjah’s 16th birthday party, he “put a sticky note on the door: ‘Gyno. Tomorrow.’” He also described how he forced his daughter to give her consent to the doctor to share her private medical information with her dad.
When the ob-gyn told him that the hymen can be broken in ways other than sexual penetration—such as bike riding or athletics—T.I. replied, “Look, Doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports, just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.”
During the interview, he later revealed, “I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.”
OK, so it didn't seem like T.I. was kidding when he opened up about all of this. So we reached out to an ob-gyn to shed some medical light on what the hymen actually is, and why T.I.'s "hymen check" doctor visits are, well, crazy.
“The hymen is a membrane of fibrous connective tissue attached to the vaginal wall,” Christine Greves, MD, an ob-gyn at Orlando Health in Florida, tells Health. Many things can cause the hymen to break or tear besides sexual penetration. These include all the athletic activities reeled off by T.I. as well as simply using tampons.
Says Dr. Greves: “You cannot always tell, based on the appearance of the hymen alone, if someone has been sexually active. Not all women present the same, and tampon use and other factors play a part.”
Not surprisingly, T.I.’s comments have created a storm on social media.
“This just derailed my whole day because of how disgusting and enraging and humiliating and abusive it is,” wrote one Twitter user, while another accused the rapper of being “overwhelmingly weird and toxic.”
There’s another issue here: Getting a “hymen check,” also known as “virginity testing,” is a completely pointless exercise. The test is often performed by inspecting the hymen for tears, or by measuring the size of any opening in the membrane via inserting fingers into the vagina (aka the “two-finger” test), per the World Health Organization (WHO).
But WHO states that there is absolutely no evidence that either method can prove whether someone has had vaginal intercourse or not. The organization has slammed the practice, calling it "unscientific and a violation of women’s and girls’ rights.”
A report from the National Institutes of Health found that these tests can “cause physical, psychological, and social harms on women and girls." They also stated this: “Countries should review their policies and move towards a banning of virginity testing.”
So far, Deyjah herself has remained silent on the issue, although her Twitter account has liked several tweets criticizing her dad. Hopefully she’ll soon be able to take full control of her own body.
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