Rapper and actor T.I. sparked major reactions on Twitter Wednesday after the 39-year-old shared his controversial approach to monitoring his daughter Deyjah’s sex life. In a since-removed episode of the ”Ladies Like Us” podcast with Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham, T.I. said that he attends his 18-year-old daughter’s gynecology appointments in order to ensure that she’s still a virgin.
The admission came after Mandi and Moham asked whether the father of six talks to his daughter —who just started college — about sex. “Yes, not only have we had the conversation, we have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen,” T.I. reportedly said. The rapper went on to say that he accompanies her to the appointments, adding, “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.’”
T.I. said he’s required to get Deyjah’s permission in order for the doctors to share access to her information, but insisted that wasn’t an issue. “[So] I’m like, 'Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain't no problem.'"
Although the “Ladies Like Us” hosts reportedly didn’t take issue with his remarks, many on social media disagreed that his actions are funny or appropriate — and experts do too.
“It’s inappropriate for someone’s dad or mom to be present at their gynecology appointment on so many levels, where do I begin?” Sherry Ross, MD, a women’s health educator and author of She-Ology, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The relationship you have with your gynecologist is sacred, private, confidential and safe and should not be shared with anyone, not even a parent. The gynecologist should set the grounds rules based on HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guidelines protecting a patient from having any of their medical conversations or records shared with anyone else, even a family member who pays the bills.”
While HIPPA’s code of regulations does permit “covered entities to share information that is directly relevant to the involvement of a spouse, family members [and] friends,” Ross says that doctors should be making the patient the priority. “An 18-year-old has to feel comfortable and safe with their gynecologist and it’s incumbent on the doctor to protect her medically and legally,” says Ross.
Beyond the privacy issues surrounding T.I. accompanying his daughter to the ob-gyn, many have pointed out that his method for apparently validating her virginity is misguided. In a Twitter thread that’s been retweeted over 1,000 times, Planned Parenthood shared the now widely held belief that virginity is a “social construct” and has “absolutely nothing to do with your hymen.”
On top of that, they pointed out that the idea of a hymen bursting for the first time because of sex is a myth. “...Many other activities besides sex can stretch your hymen — like riding a bike, doing sports, or putting something in your vagina (like a tampon or finger),” the women’s health organization tweeted. “Once your hymen is stretched open, it can’t grow back ... Some people think you can tell if someone’s had sex before if their hymen is stretched open. But that’s not the case.”
Planned Parenthood’s thread was bolstered by others, including Jen Gunter, MD, who tweeted that T.I.’s statement was “horrible on so many levels,” and journalists who have written pieces that dispel some of the most common myths about hymens.
Idk who needs to hear this but virginity is a made-up social construct, and it has absolutely nothing to do with your hymen.— Planned Parenthood (@PPFA) November 6, 2019
But women’s health advocates weren’t the only ones responding to the story. Model and actor Chrissy Teigen weighed in early on, tweeting “def did not think we would be talking about hymens today. or TI,” as did rapper Drebae, who called it “overly strict and controlling.”
T.I outta pocket & WAY too invasive. Daughters are policed way too often & the same energy is NEVER kept for sons.— Drebae💎 (@Drebae_) November 6, 2019
Overly strict & controlling parents create sneaky children. Let sis be. She’s 18 https://t.co/IFnUJZKv2e
def did not think we would be talking about hymens today. or TI— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) November 6, 2019
Neither the rapper nor his daughter have responded to the backlash. But in the meantime, Ross hopes that it’s seen as a lesson for parents and others of what not to do.
“T.I. is being incredibly disrespectful and inappropriate to treat his daughter this way in his efforts to control her body and decision-making,” say Ross. “Reproductive health and wellness is a choice that all women get to make independent of a parent’s wish. Working with a health care provider helps guide young women in making healthy choices on their sexual wellness.”
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