I’ve spent much ink over the years lamenting the harmful excesses of the sexual revolution — particularly the increasingly early promiscuity and overt sexualization of girls and young women — that has pervaded our culture for four decades now. And the excesses are still a problem. But the fundamentalist Islamic mores that now pervade large swaths of Europe are more problematic still. They remind us why liberation is, in the end, a good thing: as a moral matter, the Muslim men (and sometimes women) who enforce female chastity by making credible (and frequently sufficiently validated) threats of death and disfigurement to their daughters, have actually made our libertine culture look preferable to one where honor, in the form of female virginity until marriage, reigns. Though a little balance might be the desirable cultural state.
This article, on the front page of today’s New York Times, makes for an interesting summary of the state of the sexual culture among Europe’s educated Muslims. Some Muslim women, raised in Europe to exercise personal freedom, choose to have sexual relationships before marriage. But when it comes time for marriage — sometimes even marriage to the man she has been sleeping with — the woman is required to produce proof of virginity, to satisfy either the groom himself, or his less liberated family, on pain of rejection at the altar — or the nuptial bed. The article points out that the pre-modern European standard of blood on the sheets on the wedding night no longer suffices, since everyone knows you can use animal blood. The brides to be must be certified virgins by doctors of the husband’s families choosing.
Modern medicine being what it is, hymen reconstruction is now big business among the Muslim women of Western Europe and North Africa. On balance, this is one of those moments where the otherwise questionable Western approach of expensive, unnecessary surgery for the sake of keeping a man, looks like a good alternative to shame and unwanted singleness. So, whatever it takes to keep the Islamic male ego satisfied…. Call me a romantic, but just how great a marriage can be built on a lie about chastity, fear of exposure, and the resentment that must follow the neccessity to undergo that surgery?