The Trouble With T.I. (and Men in General)

In today’s society, where women are increasingly self-aware and outspoken about having agency over their bodies, recent news has made it seem as if we’re taking a couple of steps backward. Clifford “T.I.” Harris, the hip-hop icon notorious for his extensive vocabulary and an acting role every once in a while, was the guest interviewee on a podcast titled “Ladies Like Us” hosted by Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham. During the interview, he revealed an alarming fact when it comes to keeping tabs on (what should be) his daughter’s personal life. T.I. shared that he attends gynecologist visits with his 18-year-old daughter, Deyjah, to ensure that she is still a virgin. He even claimed that he waives the rights for the test results to be private. The podcast episode has since been deleted, as the podcast hosts received a wave of backlash towards T.I. and the hosts for even him giving him a platform to share this alarming truth. The two soon apologized for their abnormal reaction to his statement.

T.I., at his grown age, clearly does not know how the female anatomy works— there are various ways in which one’s hymen can break, apart from engaging in sexual intercourse. (I had to use a bit of extensive vocabulary myself for Mr. Harris to understand if he ever reads this.) As for Deyjah, since she is 18, she is legally allowed to do what she wants with her body and is old enough to attend gynecologist visits on her own. I understand that in his mind, this is T.I.’s way of being overprotective of his daughter, but to the normal people of the world, this is just invasive.

Apart from the fact that this is just plain weird, it is sad to know that T.I., like many other men, feels the need to have control over the female anatomy. Many took to social media platforms to express their concern with this matter (even Planned Parenthood, which had a few things to say to Mr. Harris!) Deyjah also liked specific tweets in response to this shocking news, though she has not yet shared her own opinion on the subject— at least, not openly. I have a lot of sympathy for her, since not only is her business being aired out by her father, but she is also my age and a college freshman, which hits home. Parents should trust their children enough to know that once they are of age, they have taught them all they can, and it is now up to them to make smart decisions.

T.I.’s outrageous antics have also brought the topic of double standards into a much-needed conversation. While young women are shamed and dehumanized for having sex, young men are encouraged and applauded, sometimes before they even reach their teen years. Men often have (pretty awful) takes when it comes to their hypothetical children; their sons would be aided, while for their potential daughters, it would be the end of the world. The male-dominated society we live in makes the act of sex a taboo subject for some and a glorified act for others (you can put two and two together about which is which.)

From a personal perspective, I would not know how to feel knowing that my father would want to keep me on such a tight leash when it comes to whether or not I have been sexually active. Growing up, I've been taught that it is better to wait it out until marriage, or until I have found someone who is deemed worthy of being that intimate with. However, I have also learned that I have autonomy over my body, and it is up to me to decide who I get to share it with, whether it is in the realm of sex or simply just sharing space with the person.

It is unfair and just plain wrong that men feel so entitled to a woman’s body. From the number of partners a woman has had to whether or not they choose to have a child, it seems that as women, we have no real agency over our bodies according to society. It is up to us to take back our power, pushing back against patriarchal standards that are already so hard to keep up with. And, to T.I. (and men everywhere) instead of instilling in your daughters that sex is a no-no, teach your sons that women are not to be objectified down to something to do.