Virginity tests and artificial virginity in modern Turkish medicine

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Cindoglu D.

WOMENS STUDIES INTERNATIONAL FORUM, vol.20, no.2, pp.253-261, 1997 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/s0277-5395(96)00096-9
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.253-261
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: No


This paper addresses modem Turkish medicine as arbitrator of two modern medical practices: virginity surgery and virginity tests. These medical procedures are currently practiced by medical doctors [obstetrician-gynecologists (ob/gyns)] in modem Turkish society. The virginity of unmarried women has had a great significance for many cultures. The taboos on pre-marital sexual relationships contribute to this social anxiety over the hymen of women. In this respect, in contemporary Turkish society medicine plays a significant role in controlling and reconstructing women's bodies through virginity tests and virginity surgery. The aim of this paper is to contextualize these medical practices within liberal gender ideology and discuss the connection between patriarchal expectations about the virginity of the bride and medicine as an institution. In order to assess the perspectives of the physicians: thirteen in-depth interviews were conducted with Turkish ob/gyns. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.