Excuse Me, What? Rapper T.I. Takes His Daughter For Yearly Hymen Exams
Nearly every day since 2012, I have woken up and spent my entire day writing on the internet. Specifically, I have covered reproductive justice issues, misogyny, incels, the manosphere, the purity movement, right-wing extremism, the Duggars and all kind of other horrifying things. At this point, by all rights I should be entirely dead on the inside. I should, at the very least, be numb. Somehow, I'm not! But it is very, very, very hard to truly shock me at this point.
With that being said.
Rapper and actor T.I., in an appearance on the "Ladies Like Us" podcast on Tuesday, revealed that he takes his daughter Deyjah to the gynecologist every year so that he can make sure her hymen is intact.
T.I. takes his daughter to the gynecologist every year to make sure her her hymen is intact.
And not only that, he appears to think this is a perfectly charming and adorable thing to do, as opposed to a horrific and misogynistic act of child abuse. He was, in fact, giggling the whole time he talked about it, as were hosts Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham. (If you want to actually listen to the whole discussion, click here. It starts at about 45 minutes in. Though let me warn you, it may result in an immediate desire to punch a hole in the wall.)
T.I. offered this information after being asked whether or not he's had the sex talk with his daughters, and then shared a story about how on her 16th birthday, he "let her" have fun and celebrate and enjoy the day, and then the day after the party, "she's enjoying her gifts" but he went and "put a sticky note on the door: 'Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30.'"
Everyone, apparently, thought this was just hilarious.
Does it get worse? YOU BET IT GETS WORSE.
"So we'll go and sit down and the doctor comes and talk, and the doctor's maintaining a high level of professionalism," T.I. said. "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 would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain't no problem.'"
OH BUT IT IS. It is a problem.
The fact that the doctor saw T.I. putting his daughter in a position where she clearly could not say no to signing over her right to privacy, and allowed it to continue, is a problem. Doctors are legally obligated to report child abuse, and not only did this doctor not report it, they participated in it. That is a problem. It's also, frankly, a sexual assault. It doesn't matter if she signed something saying it was OK for a gynecologist to check the status of her hymen and report back to her father, because she very clearly did so under duress. What were her options for saying no? What would he have done if she refused?
This doctor ought to have their license revoked and should never be allowed to practice medicine again. Least of all gynecology.
T.I. also noted that he was informed the hymen can be broken in ways other than through sexual penetration. "And so then 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,'" he said. "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.'"
Then he added, "I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact."
"My results." "Give me back my results expeditiously." You know, it sounds bad when you're reading it, but listening to him actually say it brings it to a whole other level. It is one of the most indescribably sickening sentences I have ever heard someone say out loud, made so, so much worse by the fact that they're all sitting there laughing about it, like "Oh what a cute and hilarious overprotective dad!" or something.
Yeah, no. "Cute and hilarious overprotective" is my mom offering our dates a clean glass of water to drink and then telling them "I have your fingerprints now, so if you were planning to murder my daughter... you just might want to think twice about that." It is not yearly virginity tests.
It's not cute and hilarious to monitor your daughter's hymen, or to be so stupid as to think a broken hymen means anything. Or that virginity means anything! Because it doesn't! It is literally just a social construct. It's not real. And he's sending a message to his daughter that her value to him and as a person is conditional on this bullshit. He's telling her that her body isn't hers, that she has no agency. That's not protective. A father who actually was protective of his daughter and cared about her as a human being would never, ever allow something like that to be done to her.
Naturally, he doesn't have the same purity standards for himself or his son. He's been caught cheating on his wife, Tiny, before, and his son admitted to being sexually active at the age of 14.
He also does not appear to understand the meaning of consent, or the word for "vulva," as he explained in a previous interview wherein he claimed to own half of his wife's vagina and that she therefore cannot refuse to have sex with him:
"I don't give you nothing. See, you can't be rationing out stuff, talking about what you're going to give nobody because what's yours is mine and what's mine is yours. That means that little thing you got, that little sex box you got is half mine. So you pick which side you want, and that's yours. The rest of it is mine. We can split it right down the middle of the…What do they call it? The, the, the, is it the, 'Uvula'?
And by the way, not only is he doing this to his daughter, he is announcing it for the whole world to hear. He is talking about his daughter's forced gynecological appointments and the state of her hymen as if she is a freaking Cabbage Patch doll in its original packaging and not a human being. That is humiliating for anyone, never mind a teenage girl (for whom literally everything is humiliating).
For her part, Deyjah has liked several tweets expressing disapproval with her father's creepy behavior.
Also on Twitter, "she's 18" is trending, because people are pointing out that Deyjah is an adult who should be able to do what she wants. While, yes, this certainly is a messed up thing to do to your 18-year-old daughter, it is a horrific and abusive thing to do to your kid at any age. It doesn't matter what age they are, you don't hire someone to inspect their vagina for you. In fact, if he has any other daughters (it sounded like he did), they should be taken away from him immediately. Because, again, this is abuse.
And now, your open thread.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse