Proving one more time that when it comes to Muslim women, it’s about headscarves and hymens — in other words, what’s on our heads and what’s between our legs — Egypt is hot and bothered over a Chinese device that fakes female virginity.

It’s reportedly available in Syria for $15 but nobody knows if the gizmo called Gigimo is on sale in Egypt yet. Just the mere thought of a device, which is said to release liquid imitating blood, allowing a woman to fake virginity on her wedding night, has driven some conservatives crazy.

One Egyptian Muslim scholar even went so far as to say that people caught importing the virginity-faking device into the country should face the death penalty and the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition bloc in parliament, want the kit banned on grounds it will encourage promiscuity.

The conservatives are not content that their ideology has put headscarves on the heads of 80 per cent of Egyptian women. Now it’s the horror of uncertainty about that “good girl” they marry.

With all the troubles Egypt faces these days — spiralling cost of living, a president in power for 28 years whose son looks likely to succeed him, etc. — why all the fuss over hymens, real or fake?

Welcome to the hypocrisy and denial that together drum at the heart of conservative religious views on women and chastity. And in the case of Egypt, that conservatism applies equally to Muslims and Christians.

As a Muslim, I know the Qur’an preaches chastity for men and women, but the conservative obsession with women means only females are expected to abide by the prohibition on extramarital sex. This obsession with virginity is shallow at best and deadly at worst.

And it’s built on a lie — people in Egypt are having sex outside of marriage, as they do everywhere. Hymen reconstruction surgery was an option for sexually active women who could afford it.

 

In less affluent and more rural areas, women have used body parts of animals for blood on the sheets. Now the Gigimo provides a cheaper, cleaner and non-surgical prop to maintain the lie that many men still want to believe.

Truth be told, it’s unlikely Egyptian women will flock to the Gigimo. But it’s been worth it just to watch male hysteria as the made-in-China hymens threatened to smash their virginity god.