Hymenoplasty, the operation through which a woman’s virginity is restored, is a surprisingly hot topic on Iranian weblogs. Vaginal reconstruction is a popular operation throughout the Middle East and among expatriate Middle Easterners of all religious backgrounds. The operation itself has been performed for centuries in a culture where girls are expected to be virgin on the wedding night. Traditionally, a groom’s avowal that the young bride was not a virgin could cause great scandal. In 1865 the Jewish Austrian physician Jacob Polak, who worked for the royal court in Iran, reported that some grooms used this tactic to extort a larger dowry from the bride’s family
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