Deyjah, we feel for you big time. T.I’s daughter’s virginity and “hymen intact” tweets are pouring in, and the general consensus is a resounding WTF? The 39-year-old rapper and recent Rhythm and Flow judge was a guest on the “Life Hacks” episode of Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham’s Apple podcast, Ladies Like Us, where he made some pretty heinous comments about managing his 18-year-old daughter, Deyjah’s, virginity. Clearly, Tip had no respect or awareness of the platform he was given on a womens-centric podcast.
It’s upsetting to explain, so we’ll let T.I.’s words speak for themselves: “Deyjah’s 18, just graduated high school now and she’s attending her first year of college, figuring it out for herself. And yes, not only have we had the conversation, we have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen.”
I’m sorry, what? T.I. accompanies his daughter to the gynecologist not to confirm that she is healthy and happy, but rather, to confirm the outdated myth that so long as her hymen is intact, that she’s still a virgin. Not only is this invasion of privacy absolutely jarring—it’s also a painful reminder that we have a long, long way to go—even when it comes to our pop culture figures—before patriarchal thinking is a thing of the past.
If you can bear to read it, T.I. confessed that he manages to control his daughter’s sexual privacy by having her sign away her medical information. “So we’ll go and sit down and the doctor will come and talk and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism,” he explained on Ladies Like Us. “He’s 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 wouldn’t want me to know? See doc? No problem,’” he said.
What’s especially disturbing about T.I.’s comments, however, is that he’s fully aware that his thought-process isn’t sound. He revealed that doctors have already explained the hymen-virginity myth to him: “They come and say, ‘Well I just want you to know that there are other ways besides sex that the hymen can be broken like bike riding, athletics, horseback riding and just other forms of athletic physical activity.’ So 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.’”
Yikes. What about tampons, or the fact that some people are born without hymens in the first place? T.I.’s reluctance to listen to doctors’ logic is exactly all that’s troubling about stigmas like these—the moment we perpetuate the idea that virginity is linked to purity is also the moment it becomes someone’s mission to maintain it (even against all logic!)
Responses have already started to pour in all across social media, with #T.I. and #Deyjah trending on Twitter at the moment of writing. Many have astutely pointed out the double-standard that T.I. has between his own daughter and son. Twitter user and writer Lauren S. put it well: “Even if Deyjah wasn’t 18 what TI is doing is a complete invasion of privacy […] They’ll do this while simultaneously patting their sons on the back for their sexual advances.”