to own oneself

In Hermia insists upon her right to decide over her own body. This power to refuse others access to one's body is one of the few rights of virgins, and it is one that Helena also refers to in her anger at Demetrius in II i 220-230.

Theseus appropriates the source of Hermia's fragile power: her ability to deny men access to her body. He usurps the power of virginity by imposing upon Hermia his own power to deny her the use of the body. If she will not submit to its use by her father and by Demitrius, she must 'abjure forever the society of men' and 'live a barren sister all [her] life' (I i 65-6, 72). Her own words suggest that the female body is a supreme form of property and a locus for the contestation fo authority. (Montrose 1996: 110)

Hermia is given the right to choose with whom she wishes to share her body, but her choice can be seen simply to lead her from being the property of her father to being the property of her husband.

in the text:

Theseus tells Hermia she must choose between Demetrius, death and chastity in I i 65-90

Hermia tells Lysander to "lie further off" in II ii 38-60.

see also:

Seeing how love is depicted in the play, words seem more important than bodies.

Theseus and Egeus speak of Hermia as if she should have no independent volition.