In the latest Crossroads, I discuss with host Todd Wilken the media coverage of hypocrisy, the murder of a Pakistani journalist and virginity checks in Egypt. The latter two stories have stuck with me. They are sad in the way that lingers. The death of the Pakistani journalist didn't generate much conversation on this site, although I trust readers are just as appalled as others. The conversation on virginity did include quite a few comments and was a reminder of just how much I enjoy our community here.
Longtime commenter Julia pointed out one flaw with the story:
This archaism drives me crazy. There are many ways a hymen can be perforated other than intercourse. A medical exam, use of Tampax, an accident. I keep seeing this idiocy that an un-intact hymen is proof that one is no longer a physical virgin - only the journalist is tip-toeing around the subject. ...
I’m not just talking about Egyptians. The journalist seems to accept that you can tell physically that women are no longer virgins. Why is there no explanation of why these women were considered not virgins. Where is the interview of a physician about the significance of an non-intact hymen? Who performed these tests and what was the criteria used?
Sorry for being graphic, but the subject is physical proof of virginity. It’s the failure to discuss what we’re really talking about that keeps this assumption alive - with horrible consequences to some women in the 3rd world who fail this “test”.
Excellent point and one I wish I'd made. Another point was made by commenter Marie:
What about the implication that only a virgin can be raped and therefore any sexual assault on a non-virgin can never be considered rape. In other words if a man were to force himself on a non-virgin that would be okay.
Obviously these are both points that should have been addressed in stories about the virginity tests.
We also had a vibrant discussion about Weinergate, with some predictable results. But there were a couple of comments that were helpful, including commenter GFE who pointed out that CNN found a non-social conservative hypocrite:
For what it’s worth, a short while ago I was listening to CNN, and a theme of the reporting on John Edwards is that he was a hypocrite (yes, they used the word) — not because he was a “family values” candidate, but because of the image he presented during his campaigns of being a family man.
The original report I criticized showed a CNN host suggesting that only social conservatives had the capacity for hypocrisy. This goes to show how much a perspective can change just from show to show even on the same network.