US rapper TI has provoked outrage by revealing that he forces his 18-year-old daughter to undergo an annual “virginity test” at the gynaecologist.
The Grammy-winning musician told a podcast how he escorts Deyjah Harris to the doctor’s office after each birthday to “check her hymen”.
“Usually like the day after the [birthday] party, she’s enjoying her gifts, I put a sticky note on the door: ‘Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30’,” TI, whose real name is Clifford Harris, told the presenters.
The trips began after Deyjah’s 16th birthday, Harris said, and his daughter was required to sign a waiver allowing the doctor to share the “results” with him.
The episode of the Ladies Like Us podcast was released on Tuesday, but appeared to have been removed on Wednesday afternoon after it went viral on social media.
Social media users were quick to condemn Harris’s behaviour, and express concern for Deyjah.
“It’s extremely abusive to police your daughter’s hymen and any doctor who would participate in such an act needs to lose their license,” tweeted author Ijeoma Oluo.
Hi. It's extremely abusive to police your daughter's hymen and any doctor who would participate in such an act needs to lose their license.
Thanks for coming to my "shit we shouldn't have to say in 2019" Ted Talk
— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) November 6, 2019
Men’s concern about their daughter’s virginity isn’t protecting anything but the patriarchal idea that a woman’s sexual activity is her father’s shame.
— Dara T. Mathis (@TrulyTafakari) November 6, 2019
Jennifer Gunter, a gynaecologist and bestselling writer, added that “hymen exams are medically not a thing”, and that the so-called tests “support a disgusting patriarchal trope”.
The presence of an intact hymen – which can easily be broken without engaging in sexual activity – is not regarded as an effective way to test virginity.
In the podcast, female hosts Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham laugh at Harris’s comments, jokingly referring to his daughter as a “prisoner”.
Harris’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Twitter account appearing to belong to Deyjah Harris had “liked” several comments condemning the rapper’s behaviour, including one describing it as “disgusting, possessive and controlling”.
That girl just got to college and her virginity is a trending topic. That's gotta be next level embarrassing. And it sets her up to be targeted by the weirdos who already go after freshman women.
— Simply TC (@BienSur_JeTaime) November 6, 2019
Harris, 39, is one of the leading forces in trap music, a style of hip-hop from the US South that emphasises aggressive lyricism and 1980s-style drum machines.
He served seven months in prison in 2009 for attempting to buy unregistered machine guns from dealers who turned out to be undercover agents.
He spent another 10 months in prison two years later for violating terms of probation on drug charges.
He has won three Grammy Awards, including for the song My Love, a collaboration with pop star Justin Timberlake.