Nigeria crowns “World Purity Queen”.

What’s wrong with this picture? Earlier this month in a campaign to promote abstinence among youth, the government of Abia state, Nigeria  crowned Mrs. Nwanyieze Prosper “Miss World Purity Queen 2013″and awarded her a brand new car for keeping her Virginity until marriage.

Turning Virginity into a commodity that can be traded for a car or any type of personal gain only cheapens it.

Mrs. Prosper was one of only two women who cared to be in the contest sponsored by Nigeria’s Purity Organization, a government-funded institution focused on promoting abstinence until marriage. The president of the Purity Organization, Mr. Prosper Tochukwu, said the prize car which he described as an “ enviable gift” would be donated by his organization in fulfillment of a pledge it made to reward any girl medically certified to be virgin on the eve of her wedding. Mr. Tochukwu indicated that since only two persons entered the contest since last year, the second person would be given a car as well since both were certified as virgins by medical experts.

The governor of Abia state, Theodore Orji, commended the Purity Organization for promoting abstinence and said in a statement that the consequences of pre-marital sex are enormous and that the ideals of the Purity Organization were in line with the goals of his administration. He assured the organization of continued government support in its activities and called upon (female) singles to keep their virginity, which he described as an “enduring priceless legacy”.

Some pretty desperate things have been done in many countries to try to get young people to abstain from sex until marriage, but this goes way beyond the pale. Some would argue that the Nigerian government — and the United States government for that matter — are doing a good thing by promoting abstinence through groups like The Purity Organization in light of the rampant spread of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS and staggering rates of teenage pregnancy. These people would also say how nice it is for young people to have a role model like “Miss World Purity Queen” to represent the virtues of saving themselves for marriage. And if it takes incentives like giving away new cars to those that make do to get the message across, so be it.

Well, I disagree with this on many levels and here’s why…

1. No one should be pressured or bribed into abstaining from sex.

I believe that people should not be pressured into keeping their Virginity any more than they should be pressured into losing it. The problem that I have with the so-called “abstinence movement” (which is really just a propaganda campaign fabricated by governments and special interest groups, and has nothing to do with Virgins themselves) is that too often its facilitators use intimidation and fear to get people to accept a way of life that goes against their nature. This Nigerian campaign took things to a whole new level of unethical conduct by using bribery. Yes, I believe that Virginity is “an enduring priceless legacy” as Theodore Orji put it, but I believe in maintaining Virginity for the love of Virginity — not to please others, and certainly not for profit. Turning Virginity into a commodity that can be traded for a car or any type of personal gain, no matter how lofty the intentions of doing so may be, only cheapens it.

2. “Miss World Purity Queen” contest objectifies Virgins.

At first glance, it may appear that the “Miss World Purity Queen” contest honors Virgins by putting them on a pedestal but the “Miss World Purity Queen” contest dehumanizes Virgins by objectifying them. A prime example of this is the way its contestants were made to undergo a physical exam on the eve of their wedding night to ensure that their hymens are in tact as the basis for winning. Aside from the fact that the hymen is only a symbol and doesn’t prove or disprove anything about a woman’s actual purity, this contest dehumanized Virgins by reducing them from being thinking human beings to a piece of skin between their legs — and reinforced the idea that Virgins are just objects to be used by someone else, like the Abia state government and the Purity Organization used these two young women as pawns to further their own agenda.

3. Governments should not get involved in people’s private lives.

What place does any government have in telling people whether or not they should have sex? I personally don’t believe that governments should tell their citizens how to manage their sexuality any more than they should tell their citizens what religion to practice. The decision to keep one’s Virginity or not is a highly personal one that the individual must make for herself/himself according to their own personality, beliefs, and capabilities. Of course, I think kids should learn about abstinence, but I disagree with so-called abstinence-only education that attempts to pressure, frighten, or bribe young people into abstaining. I learned about abstinence in grade school and made a vow at 12-years-old that I would remain a Virgin, and I’ve kept that vow all these years with little or no effort. But I know that everyone is not and cannot be like me. People have to embrace the sexual disposition that they were given and make decisions that are right for them. I believe young people should be taught about abstinence in addition to the use of contraceptives and then be allowed to freely make up their own minds about which path is right for them. Some will choose abstinence, others won’t.

Some people would say, “They’re kids! They don’t know what’s right for them! And contraceptives don’t always work! If the government has to pay billions of dollars in aid for unwed teenage mothers and patients with AIDS and other STDs, then the government has a right to promote whatever message it likes with regard to how kids should behave sexually!

Yes, they may be kids, but kids are people too. And you can’t stop people from doing what they want to do, especially in a free and democratic society. Since governments that fund abstinence-only programs profess to have such strong religious faith, I would suggest that they pray the following prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

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“Catfishing” not news to Virgins.

People looking for relationships in the murky waters of cyberspace now have a new danger to watch out for this Valentine’s day… Catfish!

One month ago a catfish was, well… a fish. But now it has become a term for a phenomenon rocketed into the public consciousness by the bizarre events of the Manti Ta’o girlfriend hoax. For those outside the US who may not know what I’m talking about — Manti Ta’o is an American football player who fell in love with what he thought was an attractive young woman that he met on a social networking site. The relationship lasted for several years until Manti discovered that this “woman” who he had only communicated with online and over the phone was really a disturbed man who had created a fake online profile with a fictitious name, a made-up life, and a photograph of a woman hijacked from someone else’s profile. Manti Ta’o had been the victim of a “catfish”!

A Catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they are not online using Facebook or other social media to create a false identity, especially to lure unsuspecting people into deceptive online romances. The word “catfish” comes from the 2010 documentary Catfish about a man who, like Manti Ta’o, fell for a woman he met online based on a fabricated social media profile created by an internet predator to trick him into an  emotional/romantic relationship. (Watch the video at this link for more info on the Manti Ta’o story and the catfishing phenomenon.)

A Catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they are not online using Facebook or other social media to create a false identity.

A Catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they are not online using Facebook or other social media to create a false identity.

For weeks the Manti Ta’o catfishing story dominated the news. But it wasn’t news in my opinion, and I couldn’t understand why they were making such a big deal out of it. So, a guy gets scammed on the internet by a fraud.  There are lots of frauds on the internet, and I knew that from personal experience. Surely, everyone knows you can’t trust everything you see on the internet, right?

Well, apparently lots of people didn’t know that. I was shocked by the number of people I ‘ve seen in videos across the internet that said  that they had never heard of predators with deceptive online profiles or “catfish” before. The term “catfishing” may be new, but there’s nothing new about someone trying to lure you into a relationship by pretending to be something they are not. Virgins have been dealing with catfish — or in our case — non-virgins who pretend to be Virgins just to get into our pants, since before there was an internet. There’s a lot of frustration among Virgins about people who pretend to be Virgins, and this is becoming a serious problem as Virgin adults become more visible and begin to seek out other Virgin adults for moral support, friendship, and yes… even love. But these things become very difficult to achieve when every other person that claims to be a Virgin is not, and you don’t know who to trust.

So the whole catfishing thing was not news to me — and I doubt that it was news for the majority of real Virgins who probably have their own fish stories to tell. I certainly have mine.

The new “Virginity’s Voice” looks back at the top Virgin-related stories of 2012.

I would like to start by saying “Happy New Year” … and welcome to the new and improved Virginity’s Voice!

This day has been a long time coming. As you may or may not know, this site had been under construction for what had seemed like forever. Life often gets in the way of what you really want to do. But now Virginity’s Voice is back and ringing in 2013 with a new attitude! Some of the changes include a new look, an updated about page, a glossary of Virgin-related terms… and now you can keep up with Virginity’s Voice on Facebook! If you are not yet a follower of this blog I sincerely hope that you will become one because it will only continue to grow, evolve, and get better and better!

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Now, before I move on with the business of 2013, I would like to take a brief look back at some of the Virgin-related events of 2012. A lot has happened during the past several months that this site was under construction that I have been dying to comment on. So if you’ll indulge me for a while — here’s my belated list of the top 3 Virgin-related stories of 2012.

#3

Robert Pattinson gives his Virginity and gets screwed

The betrayal of “good old-fashioned lover boy” Robert Pattinson by Kristen Steward was one of the biggest Hollywood scandals of 2012.

Before Robert Pattinson got together with Twilight co-star Kristen Steward, rumors and speculation swirled about the gorgeous young actor’s sexual identity — was he a Virgin or not? Pattinson was like the human version of Edward Cullen, the character he portrayed in the film: a 107-year-old vampire who had never lost his Virginity, and had “old school” attitudes when it came to romance. Pattinson never came straight out and admitted that he was a Virgin. Real Virgins usually don’t go around advertising their Virginity, especially if they are over 18, and especially if they are movie stars. However, Pattinson did drop subtle hints about his Virgin identity from time to time. In an early Irish cinema interview with Paul Byrne when he was asked to comment about the message of abstinence in Twilight and about Edward Cullen saving himself for the right woman, Pattinson said “I completely believe in that.”

And for whatever it’s worth, being the “professional” Virgin that I am… I could tell that Pattinson was a Virgin. Don’t ask how if you don’t already know. It just takes an experienced one to know one.

Being the highly passionate being that we Virgins are, Pattinson fell hard for Steward and their onscreen relationship carried over into real life and soon became serious…. at least for Pattinson. “Friends of Robert have told us that this was the woman that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with,” stated Us Weekly magazine.

On July 21, 2012, Pattinson had addressed rumors that the two had already secretly married in an interview for Blackbook Magazine: “No one ever knows what is true or what isn’t … It’s not. At least, not yet. But it is true that Kristen has always done something to me that others haven’t.” Pattinson said.

A few days later, US Weekly broke the news of an affair between Steward, 22, and her 41-year-old Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, a married father of two. The magazine had published a cover photo of Steward kissing Sanders, prompting swift public apologies from both.

“I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob,” Steward said in a statement.

At the time, Pattinson had reportedly just bought a $5 million home in Los Angeles and was planning to propose to Stewart within weeks. He was not only blindsided and totally “devastated” by news of the affair — he was reportedly “horrified” by Steward’s public apology. Shortly afterward, moving trucks were spotted outside the home the two had shared, and Pattinson had fled to who knows where.

No one need wonder anymore if Pattinson is a Virgin. Steward definitely screwed him figuratively and literally. There are some in the Virgin community who say that getting romantically involved with a non-virgin is suicide and that Pattinson brought it all on himself. Who can really say? Meanwhile, it was reported in November that Pattinson had taken Steward back and photos had emerged of the couple together in public. Then it was reported in December that they had got into a huge fight over the Christmas holiday and had broken up again. Then a few days ago they reportedly got back together again and celebrated New Year’s Eve together. Whatever. The damage has been done.

But that’s OK, Virgins. We still have Elijah Wood.

#2

Hollywood salutes Virginity in Snow White and the Huntsman

Virginal Snow White (Kristen Steward) charms a pure white stag in a scene from “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

Note: “Spoiler Alert!”

Ironically, the sex scandal involving Kristen Steward cheating on Robert Pattinson with her director Rupert Sanders brings me to my #2 Virgin-related story of 2012. The film Snow White and the Huntsman starring Kristen Steward and directed by Rupert Sanders was a watershed event for the positive portrayal of Virgins on the silver screen.

Released on June 1, 2012, SWATH takes the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale and gives it a radical new vibe with a Snow White who is not only the “fairest” but the most courageous of them all. She doesn’t just sit around singing “someday my prince will come.” This is a strong and independent Snow White who frees herself from the tower where she was imprisoned, learns from the huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) how to fight, and returns to the castle wearing a suit of armor and leading an army of her people to vanquish the evil queen (Charlize Theron). She is a cross between The Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc: an icon and warrior whose power comes from her purity, especially her purity of heart.

SWATH is the first major Hollywood film I’ve seen in which the Virginity of a character in a leading role is accepted, respected, and fully recognized. Usually, whenever Virgins appeared in films they were there for the audience to laugh at. (Example: Steve Carell as “The 40-year-old virgin”)  Or — if they were heroic figures who were supposed to be taken seriously — their Virginity was downplayed and not talked about. (Example: Tobey Maguire as “Spider-Man”) SWATH is unique in that it features a serious heroic character whose Virginity is not only front and center, but a key element of the story. The words “Virgin” and “Virginity” are never used, but the film practically bends over backwards to make it clear that Snow White is Virginal. Her purity is mentioned frequently. Animals instinctively sense it and connect to her.  She is approached by a pure white unicorn-like creature in one scene and her innocence calms a raging troll in another. It is her innocence and purity, not her physical appearance, which makes her beautiful and a threat to the evil queen.

This is not your typical Hollywood film that caters to a pop culture audience. There’s one very striking scene when Snow White is shown locked inside the prison tower kneeling and praying “The Lord’s Prayer”. In another surprising twist at the end, Snow White doesn’t marry the prince (Sam Claflin) — or the huntsman, the man she truly loved, whose kiss woke her from eternal sleep — but remains single and rules the kingdom perhaps as a “Virgin Queen” like Elizabeth I, devoting herself to her subjects.

The only issue that I have with this film is its star. Why they chose Kristen Steward to play Snow White is one of the greatest mysteries ever. I don’t think she was at all right for the part (I would have like to have seen it played by an actual Virgin) and her acting was mediocre. Even so, SWATH is a thrill to watch, and I give special credit to the writers (Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini) and the producers (Laurie Boccaccio, Gloria S. Borders, Sarah Bradshaw, Helen Hayden, Sam Mercer, Palak Patel, and Joe Roth) for bringing this marvelous film with its positive and affirmative image of Virgins to life.

One can only wonder as we move into 2013 if the times could finally be “a-changing” in Hollywood. As Virgins become more visible in society, could SWATH be the start of a trend for them also becoming more visible as serious characters in films? Let’s hope.

#1

Cabaret icon Pam Shaw goes public about being a Virgin at 70

PAM SHAW, 70 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN

Pam Shaw, a Virgin at 70

70-year-old Cabaret singer Pam Shaw, star of the London and Las Vegas stage for over 43 years, revealed that she was a Virgin to UK newspaper The Sun on May 9, 2012. She explained that she did not believe in sex before marriage and that she never questioned the fact that she would remain a Virgin for as long as she was single.

This photo shows a flyer for her show as a cabaret star.
Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Pam Shaw who resides in Wigan, England and goes by the stage name “The Sexational Pam” has had a long illustrious career on the stage, in television, and on radio. In the 1960’s she was a popular Las Vegas performer and did a show with “It’s not unusual” singer Tom Jones, one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the British Invasion, during a week-long stint at Bolton Casino. She also rubbed shoulders with male sex symbols like James Bond actor Roger Moore and opened shows for comic Ken Dodd and crooner Englebert Humperdinck.

She said that men often made false assumptions about her sex life, or lack thereof, because of her looks and career in the entertainment industry.

“Men saw the outfits I wore on stage and thought I would be easy. But I’ve never really been intimate with a man, just a bit of kissing. I had a sexy stage name and dressed sexy but that was all for my career,” she said. “There has never been time for me to get a man. I worked so much that sometimes I’d only have an hour’s sleep each night. I wouldn’t entertain the idea of sex outside marriage — and marriage meant giving up on my dreams.”

Personally, I find Pam’s story to be an inspiration. Virgins like me have few older role models who have lived such a successful and exciting life.

Unfortunately, society and the media being what it is, Pam’s story was twisted and sensationalized. Her picture was splattered across every newspaper, blog, and social media outlet in Britain and the US portraying her as a “weirdo” or a pathetic figure desperate to “lose it.”

Some of the headlines included: “THE 70-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN! SO TRAGIC!!!” 

“70-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN SAYS SHE’S READY TO HAVE SEX!!!”  

And “70-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN LOOKING TO GET LAID!!!” 

I read a number of different articles on this story and nowhere did I see Pam quoted as saying that she was “looking to get laid.” What she actually said was — “I feel I am ready to give marriage a go and maybe go to bed with a man. You are never too old for anything.”

“My standards are still very high, though,” she said. “I’m hoping to bag a tall, dark and handsome millionaire.”

My feeling as a Perpetual Virgin is that if she stayed a Virgin for this long she might as well keep going. But if marriage to “a tall, dark and handsome millionaire” is what she really wants, I think she should go for it.

I applaud you Pam for keeping your flame burning for this long.

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And that’s my pick of the top Virgin-related stories of 2012. May 2013 be fantastic!

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