The complaints that are worth a Guardian column these days:
There unfortunately remains a false narrative that there are good reasons to be nervous about cervical screening tests. In reality, the test is not physically painful for the vast majority of women, although it can be a bit uncomfortable. However, the test can be needlessly emotionally painful, and for no good reason. This is in part because some women go through the experience of sitting with legs spread apart and “private parts” out, and then hear the nurse call for “the virgin speculum” to be used.
This is the archaic and unnecessarily sexualised term for the extra-small speculum. It should have no place being used in 2023, and it clearly creates feelings of vulnerability.
The Lady Garden Foundation, a charity that I co-founded and chair, is calling for this instrument to be renamed the “extra-small speculum” or at least its medical term, the Pederson speculum; the term virgin speculum should be removed from use by medical device advertisers and the medical profession (it is currently taught in medical schools).
Jeez. No, that really is the complaint.
Of course, there’s the bigger thing in the background:
Fundamentally, virginity is a social construct with no biological reality.
Complete bollocks. In the days before contraception, abortion and paternity testing the question “Has this woman had the sex which might lead to pregnancy” was, in fact, an important one. The future of the man’s entire line, that basic impulse of all living creatures being to have grandchildren, relied upon it to a certain extent. For exactly the same reason that within Muslim law – often enough – a woman may not remarry within 6 months of a divorce or whatever the details of that rule are. Being able to assign paternity is pretty important in a world where pater must work fingers to the bone to raise the mebbe little bastard.