While on the podcast, Ladies Like Us, T.I. made the startling (and quite frankly, BIZARRE) admission that he accompanies his daughter, Deyjah, to the gynecologist every year in order to verify that she is a virgin. When her gynecologist explained to him that the loss of a hymen is not necessarily an indicator that a woman is no longer a virgin since one can lose a hymen from sports and other physical activity, T.I. responded that his daughter doesn't play sports or ride horses- "just check the hymen please."
Now this creepy preoccupation with his daughter's sexuality might seem strange to most people for many reasons- one, this is a rapper who has rapped about all kinds of sexual exploits, two, he doesn't hold the same energy for his son, who is 15 and sexually active, and three, his daughter is 18 and whether she is a virgin or not is none of his business. But apparently, T.I. hasn't considered any of these points- well, I suppose he might now because of the firestorm that erupted after he made these comments. He also might now be considering how embarrassing his comments could be for his teenage daughter who probably didn't need the world to know that her dad is overly concerned about her pelvic exams.
I debated whether or not to even write this blog post- there have been enough articles about this poor girl and her father (who apparently teleported here from yesteryear.) Also, people are weird with their kids and as there are few hard rules and regulations on parenting, everyone just tends to make up things as they go along. I was just reading posts from a forum the other day where posters were discussing things that they thought were normal growing up until they got older and realized that other households functioned differently.
What bothered me though, besides the fact that he got on this podcast and told his daughter's personal business were the comments of the people who agreed with his behavior. I saw several comments saying that he's just an involved father who cares about his daughter and several other comments decrying the "whoredom" of today's woman who apparently can't appreciate a father who wants to protect his daughter's virginity. I'm well used to how a great swath of society likes to shame others for their partner choices, sexuality, etc. but I disagree that it has to be a dedication to a lifestyle of whoredom that would make people feel uncomfortable about a father having his daughter's hymen checked every year. It seems invasive. It seems embarrassing. It also seems as though T.I. is making a value judgment. What if she tells him one day that she's no longer a virgin? (Well, let's be honest- with his attitude toward this aspect of her life, it's doubtful that she will come out and tell him anything...) What if he checks one day and her hymen is no longer there? Does he still respect her? Does he still treat her as a valued human being?
No one wants their child to abuse themselves or make decisions that they later regret, but controlling one's children doesn't necessarily help them to become fully-functional, fully-realized human beings. I don't have teenaged children but I do know how I would want to be treated while navigating teenaged and young adult life: I would like to be treated with respect and have a sense of ownership over my own actions. I would like others to help guide me without becoming my puppet-master. I would like to be heard.
It's doubtful that T.I. is going to pay any real attention to the comments and articles that people are writing in response to his statements about his daughter's hymen-checking, but perhaps it will spark some deep thought/deep conversations across the U.S. If we are not at a point where women can be valued outside of their sexuality, let's hope that we can get to that level. Expeditiously.