Post-Fordist Hymen Factory intervenes in constructions of contemporary virginity across legal, medical, cultural, and cosmetic registers through a critical re-making and re-distribution of an artificial membrane commonly sold as the "Virginity Hymen."

The artificial hymen is a prosthetic artifact which circulates in markets catering to persistent notions of virginity. Extending a research trajectory which maps the appearance of this synthetic bodily commodity from its origin of manufacture (often China) to its points of distribution (Europe) and finally to its intended consumers (largely women in the Middle East), "Hymen Factory" is a design intervention to engage both architectural and consumer publics. This project provides for a period of prototyping new hymen objects, along with its delivery assets (packaging, instructions, and accessories) and environments of sale. A hymen with alternative forms and functions disrupts and recirculates notions of virginity in the spaces where it is commodified, heightening the performative nature of "virginity for sale." Additionally, the repositioning of international virginity markets and fetish/cosmetic prostheses as consequential objects of design opens spatial practitioners to other scales of inquiry, both intimate and global.

a global virginity market

In 2009 Gigimo, a Chinese company, became all the rage in Egypt when its product the Virginity Hymen made a conspicuous appearance in the Middle East market. This object, a piece of clear film injected with fake blood simulates the rupture of a woman's hymen upon penetration: an engineered product of convenience for women who have been practicing rudimentary versions of this technique for centuries. The product's Egyptian debut was met with controversy resulting in calls by the parliament and Muslim Brotherhood to ban it and punish those who market it, arguing the product was a dire threat to Egyptian womanhood, tempting "vulnerable souls into committing vice." The political performance to disavow the Chinese-manufactured hymen sought to contain 'fabricated virginity' but instead gave it valuable market exposure and introduced new variations and virginity-distributors into the Middle East market.

hymen manufacturers, distributors, and users expand and e-commerce environments for the aspirationally chaste

"Do you want to marry in confidence? Let your partner think you are a virgin? Would you like to surprise your partner or to spice up your sex life?"

Losing your virginity can be a tough pill to swallow, not only by you, but potentially your entire family or future family. Well who said anything about swallowing? Now, you have the opportunity to become a 'girl' again just by inserting a pill into your vaginal opening, or better yet, a liquid-filled film that slowly mixes with your bodily fluids before intercourse in just thirty minutes, allowing you to experience the red wedding you were always expected to have.

The manufactured membrane is, for many, an alternative to surgical hymenoplasties which range in cost between $1000-$4000 USD. The suppository or film, which retails at $30-$400 depending on the manufacturer, activates a curated performance from its purchase all the way to its expulsion from the body. From obscure local distributors to online shopping, the performative quality of this commodity activates new virtual and global territories. Calling upon the hymen as a historical cultural construction manufactured in various ways for centuries, this newer, contemporary hymen reconfigures rudimentary simulations of ruptured virgin hymens and entrenched cultural notions of virginity through an economic lens. Popular websites like or represent the larger online vendorss, while others express their presence on physical ground through local representatives of competitive hymen manufacturers. Indirect vendors operate on social media outlets such as instagram, twitter, facebook and youtube where content and contact information is public and the products are reviewed by identifiable 'past users' and at times clinical professionals.

a cosmology of hymen artifacts

A cosmology of virginity objects, long-patented and newly designed, surveys the extended field of artifacts that not only testify to virginity lost and kept, but are configured to enhance the performance, appearance, and pleasure (whose pleasure?) of the vagina.

Post-Fordist Hymen Factory consists of a series of public design interventions, namely the production and launch of critical hymen objects--counterfeits of a counterfeited body part and new performances of a performative artifact. The intervention becomes public by its reintroduction back into market spaces, extending the design scope to e-commerce environments and temporary retail pop-ups: digital and architectural extensions of the critically rebranded hymen. Insodoing, virginity prostheses assume greater scales and more explicit relation to critical and architectural discourses. New visual and spatial interfaces for this little-seen but widely-consequential part of the female body will challenge the moral and regulatory frameworks that act on female-bodied subjects.

Hymen Objects
An iterated series of products that disturb, queer and expand the functions and presentations of the commonly available synthetic hymen, usually available in suppository form (imagine a strap-on hymen, one that gives pleasure, one that prevents penetration, one that's applied as a polish or worn like lingerie or pants, that bleeds other colors, one that scales far beyond the extents of the body....)

Delivery Methods
Included with the hymen devices are materials like instructions and accessories for insertion, application, and styling. They are packaged in new containers which borrow from the heavily stylized boxing of products like the Joan of Arc virginity covenant. Here we intervene in the messaging that otherwise demands women to pay any price for their verifiable honor.

Hymen Factory also takes a critical interest in the value and labor systems that produce virginity artifacts. We ask how, by participating in the making of the hymen, even in service to an existing demand for virginity simulations, can we assert the means of production over our own bodies and their worth?

new public (and intimate) interfaces

To participate fully in the artificial hymen's re-making, we will recirculate our new hymen objects, both in market spaces that demand them, as well as in institutional and cultural settings where commercial and foreign bodily forms don't often enjoy critical reflection. We will install designed points of sale in territories where the artificial hymen is a known quantity and the intensity surrounding discourses of virginity comes to bear on women's public lives.

Retail Environments
Various web and mobile platforms and small scale physical interventions (a vending machine, a pop-up shop, a mall kiosk, a condom dispenser in a public restroom, a gallery sponsored booth at an international art fair...)