John Lennon imagined a world with no countries or religions; I’m imagining a world where my Arab homeland has no hymens.
No, this is not a typo. It’s that hymen. That sacred membrane that marks a woman’s virginity. That revered tissue, which unleashes wars, triggers tribal disputes, and breaks families.
That part of a woman’s body that men call their honor and vow to protect with all their might.
That membrane whose absence can cost women their lives while its rupture is celebrated on wedding nights.
That obscure body part that defines a woman’s journey.
Imagine there are no hymens, no virginity tests too.
I’m envisioning a hymen-less society where women are born without it due to a genetic mutation that becomes mainstream.
My world is a hymen-less tale, but instead of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid Tale where women are property of the state, it’s a utopian one instead of dystopian.
In my world, Atwood’s Gilead is a place where women don’t bleed on their wedding nights and instead enjoy a night of intimacy without worrying about the menacing gauge of their morality.
In my world, the word honor is not an ugly one, a burden lugged by the whole society; it’s a beautiful word celebrated and cherished by all.
In my world, women are born whole and not turned into female adults after being taken by men.
ّIn my world, that genetic mutation, makes women whole.
A girl named Dalia
In my world, there is a 15-year-old teenager named Dalia who dwells in her happy place. She can ride bikes and horses without worrying about how this physical activity might rupture that membrane, turning her into used goods. She won’t have to think twice about how this will jeopardize her chances of finding a husband.
In my world, she has the choice to explore her sexuality, to love and make love, without fearing for her life.
In my world, Dalia and her twin brother Adam have equal restrictions. They have the same curfew and should be home at the same time.
In my world, Adam can’t fool around in a quest to quell his manly desires, while Dalia sits locked away behind closed doors, wondering why Adam has more freedom.
Both of them have the option to invite their partners to dinner if they wish to and to hold hands around the dinner table.
In my world, Dalia never has to think of ways to fake blood stains on her wedding night sheets using tomato sauce or “blood powder” capsules.
She would never have to find a shady doctor in a dark alley who promises to sew her hymen back for a hefty sum.
In this utopia, Dalia would never read about 5,000 women perishing each year due to honor killings – where women are butchered by family members for shaming their tribe with a sexual act.
In this world, Dalia would never be another honor statistic.
She would never read about men getting away with murdering their sisters in the name of honor. She would never have to worry about the pressure imposed on Adam to protect his tribe’s honor.
In my world, Dalia would never hear about the 200 million women whose genitals were mutilated to deprive them of sexual pleasure and protect them from deviation.
She would never be robbed of sexual pleasure.
In my world, some might reminisce about their distorted vision of a better time, the old days of the virginity tests and life before the genetic mutation.
However, the reasonable voices would always outnumber the skeptical ones, and all women would stay equal, no virginity gauge to separate the good from the deviant, the chaff.
My world, my land is a happier place. The youth are employed, conflicts have decreased—nothing to kill or die for.
That is my vision. That is my utopia.
You may say I’m a dreamer, a foolish fantasizer.
But I sure do hope I’m not the only one.