If we are going to cover the iconic elements of THE FEMININE some space has to be given to discussion of the concept of virginity and the hymen. This is a brief article, but a necessary one, as an iconic aspect of how women are defined depends on this trait that is largely a culturally constructed concept and not a biological state.
Whether a hymen is intact, or ever existed, is a definitive sign of nothing. This inner labial membrane does not exist in all girls; variation is the norm, with all degrees of presence and absence of the trait found in neonates.
There is no one physical presentation of this trait. So to have the social status of a girl or woman defined by something that can not be verified is not only ludicrous, but dangerous.
It is tempting to think that in the 21st Century a person cannot have her life ruined by the conjecture of others, but many extant fundamentalist religions seem to be based on such belief and men’s control over it.
The definition of a virgin is someone who has not had sexual intercourse, and the proof of this state is the presence of an anatomical state that may never have existed.
No one should need to prove such a status. That such a state or thing is believed to exist, and essentially has to be confirmed by another person, is inherently a matter of social control – not one of fact.
Language around this topic backs up the social control aspect of the concept of virginity. As most people know there are many ways to have sexual relations with others. There is nothing binary about sexuality or ways to be intimate with a sexual partner. There is no one thing that can be given nor taken.
There are many quite good explorations of this topic, some quite graphic, and I need not go into detail here and will just link to an article in the Atlantic.
Many feminist studies of this trait, as defined and managed by a patriarchal culture, see this as one of the major proofs that men seek to define and control all aspects of women in what is considered the default or basic state of relationships. This is changing for some, but no one is immune to such a s deep historical belief that spans all cultures to at least some degree.