It’s been a few weeks since T.I.’s comments about checking his daughter’s hymen went viral, and he’s finally coming forward to talk about it. On Monday, he and his wife, Tiny, appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk, and we watched it so you don’t have to. They spent a full 20 minutes discussing “hymen-gate,” as T.I. calls it, and basically, T.I. just seems like your average ignorant guy. *Pretends to be shocked*
After sitting down with Jada and her mother, Adrienne, Tip quickly started to explain that he wasn’t being entirely literal with the story he told on the podcast. He said, “From a place of truth I began to embellish and exaggerate, and I think people began to take it extremely literal. If you put any of my reputation, like who I am as a father, who I’ve been, I thought people knew me better than that.” He also corrected some misinformation that’s been spread, saying, “My intentions have been terribly misconstrued and misconceived. I never said I was in any exam room, that is a falsity. I never said that it was being done present day, as an 18-year-old, I never said that her mother wasn’t present. All of this false narrative has just been sensationalized.” Great, glad we cleared that up.
When asked if Deyjah had issues with her father’s public comments about her virginity, the answer was basically “duh.” Tip said, “She did have a problem with me talking about it, and I understand it, and I am incredibly apologetic to her for that—not to any of these other strangers, these weirdos, who just kinda toss lies around for fun.” Obviously, lies are bad, but Tip doesn’t seem to grasp that he literally made his comments on a podcast. If you didn’t want people to talk about your family, you probably should’ve kept your mouth shut.
While T.I. acknowledges that he shouldn’t have publicly talked about his daughter’s virginity, he still doesn’t see a problem with going to the gynecologist with her: “I’m going with the purpose of being a protective parent…there’s no such thing as an overprotective parent—there’s protective, and unprotective.” Yikes. I’m not a parent, and I wouldn’t tell anyone how to be a good father, but if you think there’s no such thing as overprotective parenting, you might be an overprotective parent. Just a thought.
T.I. also has some views on gender and parenting roles that are questionable at best. When pressured about whether a father should be involved in his daughter’s sex life, he quickly veered into problematic territory: “I want to know what is the purpose and the place of a father in this society… We could draw the conclusion that we just donate sperm and pay for things.” Oof, dude, don’t say sh*t like that. No one is suggesting that fathers should just GTFO until their daughter needs their credit card—there are just certain topics that need to be dealt with in a more sensitive way. T.I. has every right to be involved in his daughter’s life, but policing her hymen isn’t really the right way to go about that. It really feels like T.I. is missing the point here.
And when asked about controlling his daughter’s life, he basically was like, yeah I’m controlling, die mad about it: “In order to guide or direct you must have a certain level of control. I think that in the age or the time where our women, black women, are the most unprotected, unattended, disregarded, I’m being criticized because I’m willing to go above and beyond to protect mine. And I’m talking about all the slimy, grimy, chubby-fingered little boys who want to just come and defile and destroy the sanctity that I have…anything that is the most important thing in my life, I am going to handle that with extreme control.”
PLEASE STOP TALKING. While he said later in the interview that his goal isn’t to “protect, necessarily, virginity,” this statement feels like the exact opposite. Yeah, it makes sense that you don’t want your daughter to date gross dudes, but if you’re gonna act like every guy who’s into your her is like, a cartoon villain, maybe you should focus on her maturity and ability to use good judgment, not what’s going on between her legs.
And though he says that his control over his daughter is over now that she’s 18, he still sounds like a nun from the 1950s when talking about virginity. “Your childhood ends when you lose your virginity. That’s it. You’ve ended your childhood, and it’s time to begin your adulthood. You must heighten the level of responsibility. You can’t just run around like ‘oh I’ll figure that out later.’” Not to make this about me, but my life literally didn’t change at all once I lost my virginity. People have sex. It’s not that big of a deal. Grow up. Also, T.I. himself has claimed that he lost his virginity at 11 years old—does he really expect us to believe he was like, putting money into a 401(k) and meal prepping and just generally living as a fully grown adult at age 11? The idea that losing your virginity alters your life in some earth-shattering way is obviously dumb, but it’s also an outdated social construct that’s really only used to judge women. For guys, “becoming a man” is seen as an accomplishment, not something to be feared or protected against.
And speaking of judging women differently than men, they talked about that, too. One of the major questions after T.I.’s original comments was whether he would scrutinize his son’s sex life in the same way. Well, based on this interview, the answer is a resounding no. This quote honestly feels like something out of the Twilight Zone: “If my son goes out and gets a girl pregnant, the household does not necessarily change those nine months. My daughter gets pregnant, the household changes immediately.” NO NO NO. So if T.I.’s son gets a woman pregnant, good to know that she can expect no support from them. This kind of thinking is exactly why so many men feel like they’re free to roam around the world doing whatever the f*ck they want.
And in case you thought that specific comment was any kind of a fluke or a miscommunication, nope! When asked about how men and women should deal with their daughters differently, T.I. said he doesn’t understand why this needs to be a thing. He complained that fathers don’t get to dictate whether their daughters cut their hair, get their ears pierced, and—you guessed it—have sex. “She can give her body away to anybody she wants to without her Pop saying anything.” Wow. Imagine thinking that your daughter getting bangs should be dealt with in the same way as having the sex talk. Also, imagine thinking that parents have literal control over their kids’ bodies, and they’re not just gonna do what they want anyway? There are no words.
No matter how much T.I. says he’s learned in the past month, these kind of comments about parenting and sexuality show that he doesn’t really seem committed to learning that much, just digging his heels in and defending himself. And if he has been learning, he still has a looooong way to go. It’s not surprising that he doesn’t have the most progressive views on this stuff, but some of these things are just backwards. Throughout the interview, T.I.’s wife, Tiny, had disappointingly little to say, and I have to wonder if it’s because she agrees with him, or if she doesn’t feel free to express her opinions. Either way, it’s an unfortunate situation, and I hope their kids have some people in their lives who actually know how to deal with these things.
Even though they’ve gotten “hymen-gate” out of the way, there’s still a lot for T.I. and Tiny to talk about, so thankfully we’re getting a second part of their RTT interview next Monday. In Part 2, they’ll be discussing infidelity, prison, and how close they’ve come to getting divorced. While today’s conversation was pretty infuriating, next week should really bring on the drama. I’m annoyed that we have to wait a week for this, but mostly thankful that Jada Pinkett Smith is bringing us the important info we need.
When you become a parent, your life immediately becomes a lot more complicated. Not only do you have to try to make smart choices about your own life, but you also have to educate yourself and make important decisions about another little person’s entire life. I can say with confidence that I’m nowhere near mature enough to handle this pressure, and I probably won’t be for several years. Basically, being a parent is hard AF, and no one can be perfect all the time. But this week, T.I. made some comments about his parenting that seriously made me cringe, and we need to talk about it.
On the latest episode of the Ladies Like Us podcast, hosted by Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham, T.I. shared some stories about his parenting style with his 18-year-old daughter, Deyjah. When asked if he had given the “sex talk” to his daughter (of which Deyjah is the eldest), he said that not only has he had ~the talk~ with Deyjah, but he takes things a step further. He said, “Not only have we had the conversation. We have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen. Yes, I go with her.”
WAAAAAAIT A SECOND. UH. SIR?
Well I don't love that. https://t.co/7d18BGPZuq
— The Betches Sup (@Betches_Sup) November 6, 2019
Seriously, when I first read this, I literally gasped. This is just icky and stupid on so many levels. Before we really get into it, let’s go through some more of what T.I. had to say. He says that this father/daughter tradition started right after Deyjah’s 16th birthday party, when he “put a sticky note on the door: ‘Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30.'” I know some dads who won’t even hear about buying their daughter tampons, so you would think this is a positive step, but no. And before you can say “HIPAA violation”, he said that Deyjah signed a form allowing the doctor to share private information with her father.
Of course, one of the most obvious issues here is that your hymen being broken doesn’t prove you’ve had sex. T.I. acknowledged this on the podcast, but still sounded like a complete moron: “And so then they come and say, ‘Well, I just want you to know that there are other ways besides sex that the hymen can be broken like bike riding, athletics, horseback riding, and just other forms of athletic physical activity,'” he said. “So I say, ‘Look, Doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.'”
Okay, so Deyjah might not take her horse to the old town road, but has she never used a tampon? Driven down an especially bumpy street? I’m not a gynecologist, but a quick Google search will tell you that there are a litany of ways a hymen can break that have nothing to do with sex, whether or not you’re riding horses. But despite all these confounding variables, T.I. hasn’t had anything to worry about thus far. He said that, “as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.” Which is… great for T.I., I guess?
def did not think we would be talking about hymens today. or TI
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) November 6, 2019
In terms of the science behind this, there literally is none. The World Health Organization has stated that there is “no scientific or clinical basis” for virginity testing, and that “There is no examination that can prove a girl or woman has had sex—and the appearance of girl’s or woman’s hymen cannot prove whether they have had sexual intercourse, or are sexually active or not.” Boom, roasted. And on top of T.I. being clueless about what he thinks he’s proving with these gyno visits, he may be causing more harm than he even realizes. A study from the National Institutes of Health has found that practices like this can also have a negative psychological impact on women and girls (no sh*t), and has advised that “Countries should review their policies and move towards a banning of virginity testing.”
Damn, so this isn’t just stupid, it’s downright wrong. I understand that parents can be a little overprotective sometimes, but T.I. just bragged about invading his n0w-adult daughter’s privacy in a way that doesn’t even prove anything! If he would prefer that his daughter isn’t having sex, that’s a preference one can have, but it’s really not up to him to police her behavior, and certainly not in such an invasive, pointless way. Also, I’d be really curious to know if he’s as up-to-date on the sexual health of his sons around the same age? Just saying.
T.I. has gotten considerable backlash on the internet since his comments were released, and his name is currently the top trending topic on Twitter, along with “She’s 18” not far behind. So far, he hasn’t commented further about what he said, but maybe the negative response will get through to him, and his younger daughters will be spared this kind of parenting when they get older. We can only hope.
Images: Shutterstock; betches_sup, chrissyteigen / Twitter