Parental control should have some boundaries



Roughly two weeks ago, rapper T.I. stated on the “Ladies Like Us”  podcast that he takes “yearly trips to the gynecologist” to ensure that his 18 year-old daughter, Deyjah, still has her hymen intact. This sparked numerous reactions from the listening public. Some were in support of his yearly check-ups, arguing he was right for protecting his daughter; others — like me — considered the check-ups a violation of Deyjah’s privacy. An 18 year-old is legally an adult and can make their own decisions for themselves. Why, then, does T.I. see his daughter’s sexuality as something that he can (or should) control? 

I think most of us can agree that yearly hymen checks are just too much for a parent to impose on their kids, whether or not they believe it’s for their protection. It’s an unnecessary practice and reflects  distrust more than anything else. It would have been easier if they had a private conversation because no one should feel compelled to reveal that information. Children should  always have some form of privacy, especially when it relates to their sexuality. Not everyone is comfortable divulging that kind of personal information to their closest confidants, let alone to their parents. What’s more, privately subjecting Deyjah to a humiliating ritual is one thing, publicly broadcasting this abuse is another completely. T.I.’s evident comfort in casually detailing these horrible doctor appointments to the greater public should not go unnoticed. It ties back to a patriarchal culture that endorses deeply problematic ideals about a woman’s virginity and her father’s right to protect it at all costs. The truth of the matter is that an 18 year old girl should not feel external pressure to abstain from sex if she feels ready — especially not from her father.

At the end of the day, imposing hymen checks strips Deyjah of her autonomy. This public violation of trust could have long term consequences in her future relationships — not only  romantic relationships, but also her relationship with T.I. himself. A parent should not feel comfortable enough to invade their child’s privacy but should instead set some boundaries in order to not risk causing the child to become distant. Trust should be at the foundation of the relationship. 

Trust should be given to children in order for them to be raised as independent, autonomous thinkers who can decide for themselves; controlling them impedes that process. Taking away someone’s self-control and autonomy does more harm than good in the long run. 

Tyra Browne is a member of the class of 2020