"Virginity fetishism is doomed, boys. Give it up," said William Saletan in Slate. Especially now that a company called Gigimo is selling a fake virginity kit for $30, and offering shipping to Muslim countries where a woman might be beaten or killed if she doesn't bleed on her wedding night. Angry Egyptian lawmakers want the kits banned, but they'd be better off accepting the end of the "barbaric" tradition of demanding proof of a woman's virginity.
Don't expect Egyptian conservatives to give in so easily, said Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan in the Los Angeles Times. After all, over the last 40 years they've succeeded in forcing Egyptian women out of miniskirts and into hijabs. The powerful Muslim Brotherhood is pushing a ban on the grounds that the fake-virginity kits encourage promiscuity in a nation that prohibits premarital sex, and cleric Abdul Moeti Bayoumi has issued a fatwa urging that anyone selling the device be punished for spreading immorality and sin.
In theory, the Artificial Virginity Hymen kit could save lives in places where that mentality rules, said Charlie Sorrel in Wired. But in reality, "it is unlikely that a woman who may need this would have access to it anyway." And the device is being marketed on a sex-toy website (read Gigimo's "icky" pitch on its NSFW site), so it seems directed at some market other than oppressed Muslim women.
"The product is no joke, said parenting blog Mom Logic. "Here's how it works: The device is inserted into the vagina and emits a small amount of fake blood when 'triggered.'" The stigma for women who have had premarital sex is so strong that some women shell out big money for "the popular and illegal hymen-repair surgery"—it's good that there is now "a safer and cheaper alternative."