This paper examines one of the dominant discourses Jordanian media circulate on female virginity, which emphasises the state’s various roles in relation to it. Relying on an analysis of virginity in online Jordanian media in the years 2008-2010, I argue that the Jordanian state is portrayed as having three main roles: that of the inspector, certifying the presence and/or authenticity of female virginity, that of the guard, protecting it from any measures or products that may disrupt the status quo, and sometimes, the state is portrayed as an ambivalent observer, flexibly but ambiguously, allowing some room for subversion. The media’s portrayal of the state as a paternalistic authority over women’s bodies betrays their own complicity in perpetuating the dominant virginity discourse at the expense of more progressive viewpoints.
- Arab women
- Arab media