Eternal hymen: Greek-Australian female narratives of virginity in the post-postmodern epoch

Elizabeth Kefallinos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 concept. 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 profance 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 discussion is limited to this framework and won't extend to other connotations and subdivisions of the term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-195
Number of pages22
JournalModern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand)
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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