Sociolinguistics: A Reaction to Virginity and Language

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This is a reaction to Jessie Zaylia's, "The Hymenization of Virginity: Examination of Sociolinguistics, Historical Roots and Consequences"

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Sociolinguistics: A Reaction to Virginity and Language

  1. 1. The Hymenization of Virginity: Examination of Sociolinguistics, Historical Roots andConsequences by Jessie Zaylί aIntroduction: The Power of Words We Say My first time, hard to explain Rush of blood, oh, and a little bit of pain On a cloudy day, its more common than you think Hes my first mistakeGoing back to literary criticism, how can one measure the strength media gives the public?Songs are powerful gizmos to convey what is intended by lyrics via simply turning on the radioor perhaps, all and sundry have an iPod or iPad to make use of. Messages are sorted in anassortment of categories. Whatever categories they are, they collapse under the samerationale: entertain. Added to the word, education has been a subject of songs. Taken fromVanessa Carlton‟s White Houses, without looking at its lyrics keenly, one at 6 can be misled intothinking of getting such song as, usually Filipinized, the song of my life. Misleading, such type ofentertainment could add up education making it possible for anybody to bring into being theword edutainment.As far as edutainment goes, to what extent learning is considered really learning? Withoutfurther this-and-that, can one regard sex education as learning? Controversial, sex educationhas been in the hot seat. If it were an earth child, it would be sitting coupled with all the bucketsof sweat since almost everybody in the Philippines is still, if not shy, unable to overtly talk aboutsex. That case being presented, the more introverted people become as far as such topic goes,the more people explore the unhelpful side of what is considered sacred, that is, sex.Bashfulness, maybe it is the best word, even envelops the face of anybody confronted with theidea of what virginity is. The Are-you-(still)-a-virgin-? inquiry has been in the circulation, yet, theperception of the answer-er goes into two forms: the Proud and the Shy. Respectively, proudrefers to, “I have been touched/I have had an experience”, and shy refers to, “I have not beentouched yet/I have not had an experience”.“Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. "Yes" is the answer.” Who would utter suchquestion? Who would answer it? These days, whatever biological identity one belongs to, anutter-er or answer-er can be taken as a position. This query has changed many of today‟syoungsters‟ ideas about that „thing‟. „Thing‟ is not even accepted today. Not only aboutPhilippine setting, anywhere all over the world, has one grown from concealing to totallyshowing everything. The word „sex‟ has become an extraordinarily common word so much thatone concealing virginity status is laughed at and/or put to shame. To describe as an irony,losing virginity has created hullabaloo not only in one society but it has also reverberatedin/at/on all corners. This is because no matter how short the phrase is, it has earned severalinterpretations.In a rough estimate of 97% of all the dictionaries searched, negative meanings have beensupplied to the word „lose‟. What has such word conferred to the perception of the people?Truly, the use of words to describe everything seen by the naked eyes, heard by the acousticpiece and spoken by the vocal source of utterance comes with power every sound creates.From many sorts of readings from the Bible to politically correct language to contemporarywritings about sex, women, virginity, culture and the like, this paper came into existence coupledwith considerations about the past, present and future paragon of language.Women-inity [wImInInIti]
  2. 2. Women are deemed to be more impinged on in terms of virginity. Not a need to mention, it isclaimed that men do not suffer from the nerve-racking virginity test as much as women do whichis [basically] based on the article. Taken from the article, it could be unmistakably seen that thewriter has written arguments bottomed at tyrannized women taking steps to knowing whatvirginity really is. As important as one considers, virginity plays a big purpose in the entirety of awoman, her life and death, and her naivety. Thus, virginity parasites on the word woman and asa woman, it is a need to guard her virginity. But why are men not sought after that much whensuch terminology comes into play? The continuum of tense which includes past, present andfuture of puritanical standards of language has to be asked about this.Past: The Was and WereWomen were or perhaps, have been, looked at inferior to men. No matter how much people oftoday‟s generation talk about the equality between men and women, almost everything has justbeen uttered without much action given to it. Most are even guided by books based on theirreligion and others base it on the tradition that has been passed from one age bracket toanother. Too controversial as it is described, religion is like cancer in its fourth stage. The onlydifference is that it does not have any death. When placed on the platter for discussion, there isalways a beginning but never will it have any ending. Used by the Bible, the word „helper‟ is abig proof why until now there are women treated lower than men. Taken literally, one would notthink of women be in an equal term with men. In some cases, helpers are treated in equalterms. In a saddening reality, rarely, one can be found treating a helper in terms of equality.Such word has pushed people to thinking that women are in a lower case in any sort ofsituation. Perhaps, this has driven people to thinking that men are on the pedestal and never willa woman be. Beyond doubt, although a word has a lot of meanings, it emits powerful soundsthat are taken by people in different lines of attack. Take the case of the Bible. In the second creation story, (Genesis 2:7) God formed only a man: "...the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Realizing that he needed a helper (Genesis 2:18), God marched all of the animals past Adam (Genesis 2:19-20) looking for a suitable animal. Finding none suitable, God created Eve out of one of Adams ribs. The term "helper" has historically been interpreted as implying an inferior role for Eve, although some modern interpreters believe that the word can mean a companion of equal status. (http://www.religioustolerance.org/ofe_bibl.htm)On the other hand, in the Middle East, women are not allowed to do things pertaining to theirown lives. Women are considered accessories and to be more exact, properties of men.Following this, it is but factual that virginity should not be given to just anybody; which isbasically true in all aspects; that virginity has to be taken care of; that once lost before marriageand found out, death approaches. It is no wonder why it is easy for male family members to takethe lives of women when they believe these women defile the name of the whole family in termsof virginity. This escorts honor killing which is sugar-coated through other words such asaccident and misfortune in addition to the word honor. Not to mention, questioning one‟s cultureis so miniscule that in the first place, it can and should not be questioned. The mistake peoplehave been committing is their dogmas have been attached too much to the ideologies of thesupposed-to-be-changed past. While it is true that the past shapes the present, it is not enoughto tag along the past and carry it to what is incumbent.Present: The Politically Correct Language [?]
  3. 3. On his article titled Watch Your Language, Andrew Vachhs made an effort to present theveracity of what language can define. When we use terms such as "lose ones virginity" in referring to adult sex acts with children instead of calling it "rape," or when we say that teachers "have affairs" with their pupils instead of saying that the teachers “sexually exploit” them, the only beneficiaries are the predators who target children. (http://www.vachss.com/av_dispatches/parade_060505.html)It is undeniably true that language plays such a big role in educating the people of what is rightand wrong or differently logical politically-correct-language-ly speaking. Honor killing cases aredropped once learned that they were done in the name of honor. Others call it the crime ofpassion, rage-induced killing or honorable murder. For the sake of reputation, women are killednot because they did something wrong, but eradicated because they have to save the taintedhonor of the males. Some females are even buried with unmarked graves since their veryexistence puts a load of shame to their family. Needless to mention, it is beyond death that theybear the shame. To whatever extent or degree, no matter how people call it, it is still killing andkilling is a crime. Politically correct language?To look and sound uncouth is a no-no both in spoken language and written language. Politicallycorrect language has existed to cover the matter-of-fact put-into-effect of egalitarianism ofindividuals. Technical as how it looks like, egalitarianism refers to the equality of men andwomen. Many accept as true that this language can reclaim anybody from uttering offensive andblatantly derogatory statements since in the first place they are or were made to efface thedisparaging words that might mushroom from our mouths. While many believe that politicallycorrect language has to be followed, they are blinded since freedom of expression is at ante. Insome cases, the politically correct term is even a more derogatory echo than the one wanted tobe uttered. Take the case of the word „wife‟ which is „an unpaid sex slave‟ in its politically correctlanguage counterpart. It was in 1960s when feminists started to demand some pronouns (he,him) be replaced by the plural they, them, which is why these days many use the plural frominstead of the singular form. In France, February this year, the discriminatory title mademoiselleor miss was given adieu since it is sexism. Thus, a speaker has the right to call a phenomenonthe way he wants to call it provided his statement is egalitarianized or if it is necessary, in itspolitically correct language form whichever is more fitting.Virginity has been a hot issue among women. In connection to the article, the word „lose‟partnered with the word „virginity‟ implies virginity is something of value that we ought to havekept. Like what was mentioned, virginity defines life and death. Still, it is not right to usepolitically correct language based on one‟s tradition just to swathe killing accident or misfortune.These days, many do not care whether they are virgin or not before marriage. Although neededin some components, it is awkward and not normally done to ask a woman whether she is virginor not before thinking of marrying her. Question: Does „lose one‟s virginity‟ have a politicallycorrect language counterpart?Future: The Result of the PresentTaking the principle of rippling effect, the present is so delicate that a small chink, crack, creviceor fissure, no matter how small it is, can lead to a shard, wreckage, rubble or ruin. It only followsthat whatever is done, mentioned, seen or heard at this instant is reverberated in the not-very-certain future. Moreover, everything done now is magnified tomorrow. In language, much hasbeen changed as far as grammar and vocabulary go to name only two. Indeed, everything issubject to changes in a number of forms. Not to mention, since language holds duality inmeaning, words or phrases uttered or read by one can be interpreted [by anybody] in many
  4. 4. possible ways. With that case at hand, the future is just a recipient of how the present isunderstood.Through Noli Me Tangere, Jose Rizal breathed life into the character of Maria Clara who isbelieved to embody the women-inity of Filipinos. Many have considered Maria Clara the perfectstature of what a woman is, that is, the Filipino women archetype. A woman has to be demure,meek and refined, and be sheathed in article of clothing so much that skin is not seen free inaddition to the di-makabasag-pinggan stance. Undoubtedly, many Filipino women take care ofvirginity that much. Noli Me Tangere has hooked every reader into the idea that women areconfined within the terms set. As a result, Filipinos always count good-natured women in theimage of Maria Clara. Not to be misunderstood, this paper does not want in any manner toqualify women who are not Maria Clara-d bad natured. It is simply to tell that these days womenare way different from the times of yore. A worn-out question in beauty pageants: What is theessence of a woman?Listeners have become analytic so much that everything heard has to pass through ameticulous evaluation process. Not a single word or phrase can go on without being weighedup. The word virginity being uttered will beyond doubt disturb even seen and unseen particles inair. There is no big deal whether one is still virgin or not for the reason that anybody can tellanything about what they are without being questioned. It is easy to say, “I am a virgin” and thatis all there is. The real issue is whether there exists an easy way to determine whether one isvirgin or not. On the other shade of the prison, is it even important to know who is virgin andwho is not? These are inane concerns. But no matter how inane they are, they will continuouslyperturb any suspicious mind lurking at the rear of every conveyed thought.The following is a list of five bloodcurdling and spine-tingling predictions about what virginity is. 1. More awkward and revealing, every woman and man will wear color-coded tags that will validate their virginity. The green tags are for “I have always been ready”; yellow for “I am confused”; and red for “Virgin. But you do not even think about it!” It only means that before getting into a relationship with anybody, one has already reflected on the consequences whether to pursue or not to pursue. (Credits to: Reader‟s Digest) 2. Awkward in and out, there will exist a device that can determine whether a woman is virgin or not. With this invention, no one would dare ask. This would just take a click and voila! 3. The word virginity will be sexism. Therefore, a politically correct language has to be used as a counterpart. I suggest guilt-free civil status-ed. It will be foul to utter such word [especially in public]. In addition, written documents will have to use guilt-free civil status- ed instead. 4. Never will a woman or a man speak of the word virginity. Doing such would put them into grave humiliation or danger. The word will be so sacrosanct that it can be shared only in intimate proximity. 5. As far as virginity goes, women will have to be valued much more than what value really is.ConclusionPowerful as they are, meanings embedded in the words we utter have to be taken into accountat a great extent. Since meanings come in different interpretations and representations, it is aneed to value everything that our brains bring into being. One wrong utterance might lead to theperil of anybody. Everything that has to be uttered has to be chosen circumspectly as much asone considers life a matter of choice. We do not need to proselytize either by our speech or byour writing. We can only do so really with our lives. --Mahatma Gandhi
  5. 5. ReferencesAlmario, A. (2012). Do Pinoys Deserve Pinays? Retrieved July 30, 2012, fromhttp://thepoc.net/thepoc-features/buhay-pinoy/isip-pinoy/16520-do-pinoys-deserve-pinays.htmlA Virgins Response to the Hymenization of Virginity by Jessie Zaylia. Retrieved July 28, 2012,from http://voices.yahoo.com/a-virgins-response-hymenization-virginity-6392964.htmlBennet, V. (1995). Politically Correct Speech, A Common Goal.Retrieved July 28, 2012, from http://www.ucc.asn.au/infobase/newsltrs/vol4iss1/politically.htmlDavis, G. (2008). "Honor Killing" Apparent Motive Behind Double Homicides: Teen Girls Victimsof Fathers Wrath. Retrieved July 30, 2012, from http://voices.yahoo.com/honor-killing-apparent-motive-behind-double-homicides-2063010.html?cat=41Erlenbush, R. (2011). The Virgin Birth of Christ - What the Church Really Teaches. RetrievedJuly 28, 2012, from http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2011/12/virgin-birth-of-christ-what-church.htmlKuchinsky, C. (2007). Women Everywhere Losing Their Lives to Honor Killings: The PracticeCrosses Cultures and Religious Boundaries. Retrieved July 30, 2012, fromhttp://voices.yahoo.com/women-everywhere-losing-their-lives-honor-killings-352066.html?cat=9Mehri, N. A. & Sills, L. (2010), The Virginity Industry. Retrieved July 28, 2012, fromhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8641099.stmRobinson, B. A. (2011). The status of women in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).Retrieved July 28, 2012, from http://www.religioustolerance.org/ofe_bibl.htmSantos, A. (2011). The Filipina on Top: Dissecting Maria Clara. Retrieved July 30, 2012, fromhttp://sexandsensibilities.com/2011/05/01/the-filipina-on-top-dissecting-maria-clara/Schwyzer, H. (2011). Why „Losing It‟ Is Sometimes the Best Term for First Sex. Retrieved July28, 2012, from http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/why-losing-it-is-sometimes-the-best-term-for-first-sex/The19th Century Filipina Minus Maria Clara. (2008). Retrieved July 30, 2012, fromhttp://senorenrique.blogspot.com/2008/10/19th-century-filipina-minus-maria-clara.htmlVachss, A. (2005). Watch Your Language. Retrieved July 29, 2012,http://www.vachss.com/av_dispatches/parade_060505.htmlVinciguerra, R. (2007). "Honor Killings" of Women: An Islamic Tradition. Retrieved July 30,2012, from http://voices.yahoo.com/honor-killings-women-islamic-tradition-463294.html?cat=38Ways that Males and Females are Treated Differently. Retrieved July 30, 2012, fromhttp://people.mills.edu/spertus/Gender/pap/node7.htmlAAAAugust2012

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