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En bur gick ut för att finna en fågel: En tolkning av tolv kvinnors berättelser om mödomshinnan och kvinnlig oskuld
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities.
2017 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper is an interview study with 12 women between the ages of 17-88 from Bohuslän, Sweden and their thoughts about female virginity and the hymen. Today it has been proven that there exists no hymen that breaks at a woman’s first sexual intercourse. Nonetheless, the study shows that the myth of the hymen is still alive even though it is fading in the younger generations. All the women in the study have at some point in their lives believed there was a hymen but many have via education or media been informed that that’s not the case. Despite education, the hymen was still related to blood, pain, difficulties using feminine care products, or thoughts that something might rupture due to sport activities, like horse riding. Based on the women’s reports, this paper interprets why female virginity has become something that is in need of surveillance and control. As understood from Lévi-Strauss’s theories on the kinship system, the woman becomes a gift unit through the ritual of marriage. The alleged presence of the intact hymen is the valorizing factor in said structure.

     The semi-structured interviews were analyzed through a content analysis and interpreted by using the post-modernistic theoretical frameworks, with focus on the ideas of Michel Foucault. Further post-structuralist theories are applied to interpret how language and action create norms and truths. The results indicate that the belief in the existence of the hymen as an anatomical structure took hold in medical science and popular culture in line with the hypothesis that power creates knowledge. The results also show that knowledge is not constant: from being an established truth among the older participants in the study, to the youngest generation expressing that the hymen is something “old”. Simultaneously, all women expressed that the hymen and female virginity are connected to discipline and power asymmetries. The results show that the hymen, in this specific context can be seen as a social construction with the aim of maintaining unity and discipline. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 67 p.
Keyword [en]
Hymen, female virginity, female sexuality, discipline, power, post-modernistic feminism, Michel Foucault, Claude Lévi-Strauss
Keyword [sv]
Mödomshinna, kvinnlig oskuld, kvinnlig sexualitet, disciplin, makt, postmodern feminism, Michel Foucault, Claude Lévi-Strauss
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-24838OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-24838DiVA: diva2:1133448
Subject / course
Religious studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Religious Studies
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-09-04 Created: 2017-08-15 Last updated: 2017-09-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf