Dear Cosmo Girl, You Are Not Defined By Your Virginity

'It's your life and your body, Cosmo Girl. You're in charge—don't let other people think they are.'
by Cosmopolitan Philippines
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EDITORS' NOTE: This is in response to "Virginity," published in The Manila Bulletin.

Dear Cosmo Girl,

"Virginity is the best gift a woman can give your husband on her wedding night," wrote my mother to me when I was 16, and it enraged me so. A gift?! And why would that man, never mind if he were to be my husband, be deserving of such a gift? What about his gift to me? Did 16-year-old boys receive such letters from their fathers? I didn’t think so. What if I just tore my hymen off and put the membraneous tissue in a gift box so I could set it aside and get on with my life? I was livid. 

My mother was 41 then, and I suspect that she wrote that out of fear and worry, and also because it was what she was taught and what her generation grew up believing. She is now 73, and a whole lifetime later, after seeing her daughters grow up and grow, bloom, and lead fulfilling, fruitful lives, she no longer thinks that way. And she knows that her daughters certainly would never teach their daughters—and sons— that (well, only one of her three daughters has children).

But apparently some people still think that way, unaware that the concept of virginity was a social construct long ago used to control women’s sexuality and determine their value. Long, long, long ago, when women were considered to be property, and her "purity," a gauge of the "goods." 

It’s 2016. Women are no longer commodities. We are more than just the sum of our parts, and our worth is certainly more than just the state of our hymens. Being a good or moral person certainly does not depend on whether a piece of tissue is intact or broken. A healthy sexuality is our natural, personal right as humans, and no one has the right to judge how or when we exercise that right.

Love, 

Myrza (Cosmopolitan Philippines Editorial Director)

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***

No one has the right to diminish your worth just because you've had—or haven't had sex. You are not a delicate flower. You are strong and resilient and fully in control of your body and sexuality. You are SMART enough to know that rape is NOT your fault, NOT ALL MEN are perverted maniacs, and prayer can only do so much if you are not proactive about your choices. Do not let the government, or your family, or your religion judge you, because only YOU know who you are and what you're worth. You are much more than your hymen, and anyone who loves you just for it is a complete waste of your time.

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Love,

Jillian (Cosmo.ph Editor-In-Chief)

***

Do what feels right for you and makes you feel good about yourself. Don't let other people make you feel bad about the choices you make. As long as you're honest and true to yourself, no choice you make will ever be wrong.

Love,

Donna (Cosmopolitan Philippines Fashion Director)

***

If and when someone tells you that it's ideal for you to keep your virginity until your wedding day and doesn't give you factual reasons on why that's the ideal, don't listen. Don't even doubt or regret your choices for a second. If someone tells you that you have to guard yourself because boys can't control their urges and will take advantage of you the moment you show skin or want to be more intimate, don't listen either. Tell those people they're wrong and sick for not teaching boys that they shouldn't even rape. Tell them they're wrong and sick for putting the blame solely on you if you do have sex and get pregnant. They—from government officials, to your teachers, to your family—should have taught you and many other girls how to keep yourself from getting pregnant while still being sexually active. They should've empowered you to make informed decisions instead of brainwashing you to believe that it's wrong to experience sexual pleasure before marriage—and for what reason?

You, and every other female out there, are more than your virginity. It is not the best gift you can offer your husband. Your best gift for him is your love and support and patience and understanding because life—married life or not—is not just about the sex! Especially that first time.

Whether or not you know all these things, Cosmo Girl, I hope you empower people, especially other girls, to make informed decisions too. I hope you will be one of the keys to ending all this oppression and blame game on women. I hope you'll be the moms or the titas or the teachers or the officials who will teach the future generation to never violate another person's body, and to take control of one's own. The world needs you.

Love, 

Steph (Cosmo.ph Editorial Assistant)

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Your virginity is yours for a reason. What you choose to do about it, when you choose to do something about it is entirely up to you. Everyone else around you might say otherwise, but it is your decision to make. No one, not even the guy who promises you the moon and the stars, has the capacity to dictate or instruct you when it comes to your sexuality. Do what you know in your heart and your head is right.

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Love,

Patricia (Cosmo.ph Associate Fashion and Beauty Editor)

***

Your body is yours and no one can tell you what you can and cannot do with it. Just know your limits and make sure that you're ready to face the consequences of your actions. At the end of the day, you live for what makes you happy and go for the things that make you feel alive. It's your lifeyou decide.

Love,

Brei (Cosmopolitan Philippines Associate Publisher)

***

Your body is yours and only yours, and no one has the right to violate you or your body—whether it's physically, mentally, or emotionally. YOU are the only one who has the right to decide your sexuality, and what you choose to engage in. Rape is NEVER your fault. Don't let the government, any kind of religion, your family, friends, or anyone judge you or make you feel bad about the choices you make. Stay true to yourself and remember that you have the power to decide what to do with YOUR life.

Love,

Trisha (Cosmopolitan Philippines Assistant Lifestyle Editor)

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***

No one has a say on your worth except you and you alone. Your body, your choices. What matters more is how you really are as a person. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. 

Love,

Retty (Cosmo.ph Assistant Beauty Editor)

***

Your virginity, or lack thereof, isn't what matters in the long run. That you're not a terrible person does.

Love,

Gaby (Cosmopolitan Philippines Associate Features Editor)

***

You should never let anyone dictate your choices about your body—not your mom or dad, your partner, or society. It's your body, your choices. 

Love, 

Jacinda (Cosmo.ph Assistant Celebrity Editor)

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***

You are worth so much more than your virginity. You have so much more to offer [your husband or anyone else]. Nobody has any right to tell you what to do with your body. If you want to save your virginity for marriage, that's fine. Nobody has any right to make you have sex before you're ready. If you want to have sex with your boyfriend, all right. If you're into casual sex, who cares? The important thing is that you're emotionally and psychologically ready for it, and that you know how to be safe—that means knowing your options when it comes to contraceptives, and knowing how to use a condom correctly. It means being smart and being ready to deal with the consequences in case of the 2% chance that contraceptives fail. Nobody tells boys what to do with their bodies. "Saving it for marriage" is just a ridiculous double standard that society has imposed on women since women were considered their husbands' property. It's 2016, guys. If your future husband really loves you, he won't judge you for who and how many you’ve slept with. After all, you wouldn't judge him, right? If a boy gives you any grief about the number of people you've slept with, that's a red flag. You deserve better. You have the right to make your own choices when it comes to your body, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Love, 

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Angelica (Cosmopolitan Philippines Editorial Assistant)  

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People put a premium on virginity as the golden ticket, as something that makes you "pure," but I think that's a whole lot of bullshit. People should put a premium on being nice and kind and helpful and thoughtful and happy! You're smart and brave enough to make decisions based on what you think is good for YOU. It's your life and your body, Cosmo Girl. You're in chargedon't let other people think they are.

Love,

Sandra (Cosmo.ph Assistant Managing Editor)

***

It's your life and your right to make the choices you feel are best for you. Your virginity is not what will define you for the rest of your life. You are so much more than that and someday when you're with the right guy, he's really not going to care.

Love,

Happy (Cosmopolitan Philippines Fashion Editor)

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***

No one can dictate what you should or shouldn't do. It's your body. If it's the right time and it's the right person, do whatever you feel is right. But do not forget to be responsible. 

Love, 

Tiffany (Cosmopolitan Philippines Brand Publisher)

 ***

Truly loving yourself and your body is a lifelong process (and commitment)and it starts the soonest you know and believe that your body is yours alone to grow, nourish, adorn, and protect. Everything from your hair to your hymen is YOURS. Own it, and love it.

Love,

Mich (Cosmopolitan Philippines Managing Editor)

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