The choice to lose one’s virginity negotiates a physical, emotional and/or spiritual status-change that must be arrived in a personal and intimate context; yet the reaction to this phenomenon swings between privacy and public-ness. The social and cultural dynamics surrounding virginity frame ethics of this act and the degree of its sainthood or profligacy. In certain cultures, an unwedded woman’s virginity is as much a public affair as it is a private matter, and a must condition for marriage; women may be requested to present a virginity certificate, compelling many to undergo a hymen restoration operation to surgically ‘stich back virginity’ for approval. This performance addresses feminine opposition to historically assumed meritoriousness of chastity in its broad context and issues of female gender interrogation.

Virginity Certificate, Performance, 28 minutes, 2010

Images courtesy of Kam Wan