Rapper and actor T.I. appeared on the podcast Ladies Like Us this week and made some controversial comments about his 18-year-old daughter Deyjah Harris. The Atlanta artist revealed that he accompanies his teen daughter during her annual trips to the gynecologist to confirm that her hymen is still intact, implying that this confirms she has not had sex. It doesn’t.
“I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact,” said T.I., having obviously slept through Sex Ed. Pressuring his daughter to waive her right to privacy during the medical visits, T.I. said “[The doctor is] like, ‘You know, sir, I have to, in order to share information’ — I’m like, ‘Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain’t no problem.’”
T.I., real name Clifford Harris, is married to Xscape member Tameka ‘Tiny’ Cottle and shares a daughter and two sons with his wife (T.I. shares daughter Deyjah with R&B singer Ms. Niko and also has two sons from a previous relationship). When asked about whether T.I. would be as active in his son’s sex life, the double standard answer was hardly surprising. “I will definitely feel different about a boy than I will about a girl,” he said. Shocker.
The response to T.I.’s outdated and harmful comments have been swift on social media, with Planned Parenthood quickly pointing out that the ‘hymen check’ is a myth, noting that women’s hymens can be broken by many activities other than vaginal intercourse. It’s something T.I. also acknowledged in his interview…sort of. “I say, ‘Look, Doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously,’” said T.I.
Some people think you can tell if someone’s had sex before if their hymen is stretched open. But that’s not the case.
Say it with us:
— Planned Parenthood (@PPFA) November 6, 2019
def did not think we would be talking about hymens today. or TI
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) November 6, 2019
The double standard of the patriarchy is truly insane. Young women are fully capable of making their own informed decisions about their bodies and their sexuality. pic.twitter.com/qJJE4AV130
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) November 6, 2019
There is an urgent need to unpack on ways virginity as a concept has been weaponized against women from striping away our autonomy to putting our worth into a tiny body part sometimes existent, very often non existent
But TI’s daughter is that urgent conversation we needed
— Judicaelle Irakoze (@Judicaelle_) November 7, 2019
T.I.’s comments have unleashed a firestorm on social media with people horrified over the invasion of privacy, lack of agency, misogyny, and harmful relationship with sex that the rapper is setting his daughter up for, but on a wider scale, T.I.’s remarks shine a light on the very real epidemic of hymen testing happening around the world.
In 2018, the World Health Organization urged countries to ban the practice of ‘Virgin Testing,’ with its practice sometimes leading to suicides or murder in countries where premarital sex results in women being shunned or imprisoned. Just last week, Marie Claire published an investigation revealing that hymen tests are still being practiced in the US, with some physicians surveyed revealing they lie to parents and say the child’s hymen is intact in order to keep their young patients safe from retribution and abuse.
As for T.I.’s daughter Deyjah, on Wednesday night she liked numerous comments on Twitter that criticized her father’s remarks.