Eternal Hymen: Greek-Australian Female Narratives of Virginity in the Post-Postmodern Epoch

Elizabeth Kefallinos


The present article endeavors to examine narratives of virginity as they have been viewed by some contemporary literary trends and to conceptualize, articulate and interpret oral testimonies elicited from Greek-Australian women across three generations. These oral testimonies encompassed and redefined a view of virginity – and the sequence of three intergenerational women affirms that its significance is waning – as a gradual evolution, transformation or even rejection of the con - cept. In literature, virginity has been presented antithetically as both anatomical and ideological, real and imagined, private and social/public, prestigious and as an obstacle, sacred and profane as well as a commodity and artifact. Oral testimonies, on the other hand, have the ability to reveal hidden realities of the individual self and to incorporate a novel variety of experiences and perspectives to this subject matter. As an epithet the word “virgin” means the unknown, the unattached, the unspoiled and the pure; as a noun “virginity” means an intact hymen and the absence of sexual intercourse between male and female. In this article the dis - cussion is limited to this framework and won’t extend to other connotations and subdivisions of the term.

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