S1: I know this is probably old news, but I wanted
S2: to talk about the BYU Virgin Instagram account. Some people would say like, yeah, obviously this is a joke, but having grown up Mormon, this is right up there.
S1: Hi, I’m Madisonian Kaczor.
S3: And I’m Rachel Hampton. And you’re listening to Icymi. Why am I
S1: in case you missed it,
S3: Slate’s podcast about Internet culture. Today we are getting into our mystery machine and we are solving a crime. We’re solving a crime.
S1: No, no. We’re solving a mystery. It’s right in the name mystery machine. We’re going to solve the mystery of the Brigham young Virginity Club Instagram account, allegedly.
S3: But before that, another not really crime lonas eggs, because he is one of the people who is the best at the Internet. Every single time he does something, I’m just like, wow, pay him.
S1: So for the past couple of weeks, Loonatics has been teasing his, quote unquote, upcoming legal battle with Nike over the Satan shoes, which you might remember from many episodes back. Little Nadex produced a limited drop of Nike’s with a allegedly with a single drop of blood in them.
S3: Yes, these same shoes went viral and conservatives hated them. Everyone else loved them. Everyone except for Nike, because these were not officially released with Nike’s permission. And so for the past week or so, little Nadex has been teasing that he’s going to be appearing in court with Nike to fight over these shoes.
S1: When you have court on Monday overstating shoes and might go to jail, but your label tells you to keep making Tic-Tac baby back
S3: a cover essay. And so in this video, little nonblacks has like a kind of scared expression on his face as the little robot voice is playing. And then right as the beat drops, he just starts dancing, but with the same kind of like held hostage expression. He’s also been tweeting, one said, trying really hard to decide what I should wear to court on Monday for the same shoes case
S1: hashtag frailness X.
S3: At the same time, he’s also teasing his new single industry baby. And so this is all building up to Monday. Theoretically, his day in court and on this day that he is in court, he drops the video on the website Free Little as X.com, and it is iconic. My little nephew had
S4: nothing to do
S5: with this. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury.
S4: This is about much more than the shoes, Mr. Nasonex. Are you gay? What does this have to do with the shoes? Answer the question.
S1: I mean, he did get his day in court in the video, a little X is the judge, the jury himself on trial, his
S3: own lawyers, his own attorney. I think he’s also the prosecutor like he’s everybody in this courtroom and it is him on trial for the issues.
S4: Loonatics, I sentence you to five years in Montreal state prison. Cover, say.
S3: And so this beat drops and it is a promo for Industry Baby, which is also the teaser that you’re hearing and telling when the new song is going to drop, which is July 2013. The fact that it is with Jack Harlow and produced by Kanye West.
S1: He’s so good at this. He’s so good. I want to thank you. Is that also the audio in the ticktock?
S3: It is, yeah. This song hasn’t even dropped and it’s already in my head.
S1: And here’s the thing. I as somebody who’s, like, keyed in a little bit, a little nauseous, I knew vaguely that Nike was pursuing legal action. OK, I didn’t ever like research past that knowledge. There was a court case in April.
S3: No, I also knew the Nike was pursuing legal action. And so I was just like, OK, when I saw the field and I was like when I saw a little I was being like, oh, I’m going to be in court on Monday. I legitimately being the journalist that I am doing my research was like, I’m a take this kid at his word and say that he is in court with Nike on Monday. It is so effective. It is incredible how good he is at this.
S1: So speaking of Wal-Mart eggs, have you seen us going? I look, we were literally speaking of him, I can make this transition.
S3: I’m a I’m a let you continue.
S1: Have you seen this post from the Brigham Young Virginity Club Instagram account?
S3: I did not. That transition was not where I expected this to be going.
S1: All right. It’s a post from at BYU Virgin on Instagram. Our take on the recent little X, Y, Z, Montoro video. No, actually continue
S1: recently, cowboy rapper Lil Nozick, crazy
S3: cowboy rapper. I mean, they’re
S1: performing lap dances outside of marriage is wrong and gross says the Brigham Young Virginity Club.
S3: We’ve really come around to a different direction than we started. I don’t know where we are. I know, but
S1: I can tell you where we’re going.
S3: And I’m so excited. I have not seen this excited since you’re talking about the Olympics.
S1: So last week, the last time you
S3: saw it, it’s been a long time.
S1: OK, so the Brigham Young Virginity Club is an Instagram account that is having a moment. It was founded in September of 2020. And at BYU, Virginity exactly the kind of content I just described, exactly what you might imagine from a Virginity club at a Mormon university. Actually, you might not imagine it, which is the whole point.
S3: Yeah, I was like, I don’t know if I’ve ever imagined a Virginity club from a Mormon university having an Instagram page, but little X, Y, Z is is that makes sense to me. OK, so
S1: slideshows like the aforementioned little NAEYC, one to another that begins with the title card. What does the Bible say about Hot Girl Summer?
S3: What does the Bible say about hot girls? Oh, you
S1: bet your sweet baby. I’m going to tell you my sweet what baby? I think it’s from an old television show that, you know what? Don’t we look that up in your funkin waggles? But the question on my mind and a lot of people’s minds as this Instagram account is having its blow up moment, is it too good to be true?
S3: Today on the show, we’re going to get to the bottom of the BYU Virginity Club account once and for all. I see why my PI is on the case.
S1: We’re here to give you the answers you desire. Is this a meta trolling, harnessing the power of the Internet to push an anti premarital sex narrative? I’ve got my trench coat on. My magnifying glass is out, and we have tried everything from Instagram investigations that some would say are borderline illegal, except not really a check with legal or fine to having a conversation with the myth. The legend himself, Brigham Young Virginity Club. We are getting to the bottom of this and we’re taking you with us. So at BYU, Virgin has been posting since early September of 2020, but the post that brought it into, let’s say, mainstream social media circles is where you saw it is where I saw it is probably where a number of people listening to this podcast who wondered, is that a real thing? Saw it was the hot girl summer bible post. It’s sinful per Galatians
S3: Jesus Christ
S1: and BYU Virginity Club recommends instead of a Hawkgirl summer try practicing pious girl summer, a summer full of scriptures, sun and self-improvement through religious piety. Remember Modesty’s hottest.
S3: Shouldn’t a Virginity club not want to be hot? Isn’t that kind of the point? So that’s the
S1: thing. At first blush, this account has to be satirical, right? Posts about the quote unquote, Pupo loophole. The what? Anal sex?
S3: Are they in favor?
S1: I we’re moving on. Do they agree with the view
S1: that post about how to come out as a virgin to your friends? Post a post about how you should treat your Virginity like you treat investing in the stock market the more you read the posts. And given that the account, I should say Brigham Young University is not affiliated with the account, but the account is aligning itself with a school rooted in the Church of Latter day Saints, where abstaining from premarital sex is literally part of the honor code and violating it is grounds for expulsion. So it becomes easy to make that mental jump into. But what if this is actually real and it’s just like brilliant next level meta trolling?
S3: You can’t be the only one who has the question. I mean, you were telling me this and I have honestly, I just would like to say to the icymi, why am I listeners that Madison texted me on a weekend. We have to talk about the Brigham Young Virginity Club. And I was out enjoying my life and I was like,
S1: what the fuck is happening here?
S3: So I, I don’t think you’re alone. You did bring this to my attention, but you can’t be alone
S1: and I am not. And I have found tweets and Tick-Tock spanning months from people wondering the same thing. Here’s here’s a little snippet.
S2: So I was just chillin in bed, planning content, and I was brought to this lovely Instagram here via Twitter. And I’m all for Virginity abstinence, whatever floats your boat. I really don’t judge people, but Birmingham Young Universities, Virginity clubs approach is OK. So this is what got my attention on Twitter.
S1: So I’m not alone clearly. And I wanted us to be able to provide an answer to my community.
S3: I feel like you’re framing this as a general service, the world, when I really feel like you would have gone on this investigation if you weren’t getting paid for it anyway.
S1: I went on this whole investigation essentially lying in my bed on a Saturday night. Yes, that is true. But if we pretend it’s for work, it’s less pathetic. So the first thing we did and here’s where I divulge trade secrets is some place I often start in Internet reporting. When you want to find out who runs, say, an Instagram account is to try and log in as that Instagram account and then say you forgot your password, because when you do that, it’ll show you a censored version of a cell phone number or an email associated with the account.
S3: Yeah, this is a security issue.
S1: Yeah. This is this is not an US. And I see. Why am I issue? This is a Facebook,
S3: Instagram, Twitter, every single website that when you say I forgot my password, it gives out the last four digits of your phone number and or the first and last letter of your email address. We are just taking advantage of the
S1: security it if we can exploit this privacy loophole, imagine what someone with skill could do. And we used this method to look into a whole bunch of accounts when we discovered that there’s not only the BYU Virginity Club Instagram account, but that the BYU Virginity Club Instagram account was following a network of Virginity clubs at universities all over the place.
S3: Honestly, I’m going to when we started doing this, I really was just like Madisons, really. This is going full nail polish on this. I really think we’re going to find anything. But this was
S1: wild. OK, Rachel, I. I think I have a way that we can prove that this is fake, but I need some help because I need some help. This account follows like a network of Virginity clubs. OK. Next on the list is National Virginity Club. Will you try that one?
S3: Yes. National Virginity Club.
S1: That’s the handle.
S3: Yeah, I got a B and the last thing B wait. Really? Yes.
S1: Rachel. Rachel. That’s the BYU email. Is it really OK? Yes. OK, so that’s at least two that we cautiously can connect
S4: to one another.
S1: OK, do you want to do Virginity.
S3: Yeah. Reteaching OK, I got a B and the last number of the email is nine at Gmail dot com.
S1: Wait vte virgins gave you V and nine. Yeah. When I did it earlier I got B Astreus disastrous B at Gmail dot com. So the downside of this little hack is that the account owner in question might actually end up changing their email address. So when you go back to double verify things, they’ll have changed their email and you’ll be back to the drawing board. But we found one other account and a second email which hasn’t been changed, that all appear to be associated with the same email address is the Brigham Young Virginity Club account. The other thing we looked into is when these accounts started cropping up, the Brigham young one comes first, but many of the rest of them all seem to have cropped up in the same two week ish period in December 2012. Frankly, a bunch of them on the exact same date, which that’s suspicious,
S3: incredibly suspicious, possibly organic, honestly. Still not
S1: right. Is there a group chat, a Reddit thread, a discord server?
S3: If someone perhaps post a viral tick tock that we just never found
S1: they are in cahoots? Kahootz, I say knock
S3: each berlind your fucking mustache over there.
S1: I am. The language they all use is very, very similar to in a way that makes me think these people are either cribbing off of one another or or are all organically coming out from a single source. In an interview with The Daily Dot, the person behind the Brigham Young Virginity Club account said that there had been a lot of speculation, but at a certain point there was only so many times they could say the account wasn’t satire. And The Daily Dot piece points out a post where the account says that asking just the very nature of asking whether or not this kind of satire quote proves the premise, which is virgins are unfairly stigmatized in modern society.
S3: You might be thinking, you know what, maybe this club has a point, which they do. I feel like we should say at one point, Virginity is a social construct. It’s fake. Virgins are unfamiliar, stigmatized in society. Not having sex means literally fucking nothing we have to do. Our podcast is Welcome to Icymi. We felt that then needed to be said at some point. However, I immediately went to go look for my Virginity club page because there’s there are so many. Almost every single school has like a school pick a school. I pick Northwestern and in the very first post from the club, someone commented on Northwestern Virginity clubs very first post and said, this is too funny. Northwestern Virginity Club responded, This is a common misconception, but the fact that this account is perceived as a joke just goes to show the extent to which Virginity is stigmatized in society. We are 100 percent serious. Have a great day. Does that sound familiar?
S1: Again, suspicious. Another thing that we found suspect is that the visual language of many of these accounts is identical. And I know that’s sort of a byproduct of how text posts on Instagram are created and spread these days. Everything looks the same. CANNAVA Yeah, the post Cannava Instagram economy. But the posting language, the visual language, them really is identical. So then why do it? That becomes the question we now seek to answer. Enter less CENI Reagan, the brand ambassador, the first ever brand ambassador for the Brigham Young Virginity Club who recently posted this ad of himself sporting some Brigham young Virginity Club, Mirch or other I shouldn’t say he posted it. The Brigham Young Virginity Club posted this video of him sporting the club merch and selling it to the public. Oh, I
S4: didn’t see you there. Me. My name is Lisa Honourees. Do you have now been invited to have the best sex of your life? BYU Virginity largest community of virgins and born again virgins. Studies show. Ninety six percent of people engage in premarital sex. Now that’s what I call a sticky situation.
S1: So listen, Ragan is is peddling merch and I headed over to the Brigham Young Virginity Club Etsy store where they are selling Purity Power Virgin of the Week sweatshirts. Thirty bucks a pop. Each one comes with a complimentary Virginity card with a pre stamped expiration date. My wedding night,
S3: whoever is running. This is just so good, like so good at this.
S1: So the sweatshirts are thirty bucks. T shirts are a little cheaper. The Etsy store has twenty one hundred recorded sales. Oh my God.
S3: At present. Again so good at this
S1: as you scroll down through the description on Etsy, it’s you know the stuff about the free card information at the bottom reads model list anyway. Good. And then it links to his Instagram account where he’s promoting his music.
S3: Are you telling me this is all a SoundCloud rapper game? Are you telling me the Brigham Young Virginity Club is all just a way to get me to listen to some man’s music? They used to just hand out CDs on the street. Now they got all clubs. They got all Griff’s.
S1: And you thought we weren’t speaking? Little nausea, I don’t think we’re speaking a little spiritually, we are you might have noticed that we still haven’t totally answered the question of whether Brigham young Virginity Club is an elaborate bit of performance art or entirely earnest, you know, who also doesn’t know. The Brigham Young University official comes off, as I called them, to ask some questions.
S6: This is Becky. Hi, Becky. My name is Madison Malone Percher. I’m a journalist from Slate magazine calling for the podcast Icymi. I am I am looking to talk to somebody about a Instagram account associated with BYU. And which one is them? The Brigham Young Virginity Club Instagram account. I don’t know if you’re familiar. Not probably there won’t be a comment because we don’t manage that and anybody can say anything on any account that has a BYU connection. So I’ll. But it could be I’ll pass along to those. But thank you. Thank you for your time. OK, thanks. Bye bye.
S1: At this point, there was only one person left to talk to Brigham young Virginity Club himself. After the break, we’re taking him to the interrogation room. We are back and about to go straight to the source, all of my detective and sleuthing skills were truly no match for simply sending an email to Brigham Young Virginity Club and saying, hey, could we talk? And sure enough, he agreed to talk.
S3: Who knew sending an email would would be the final the final lead in this case. You may notice in this interview that BYU version sounds like you’ve calling us from underwater, and that’s because we’re pretty sure he’s using a voice modulator. His anonymity was very important to him.
S1: Was a pretty pretty good. Nice to hear from you.
S4: Thank you. It’s great to be on the show.
S1: So you’ve said that you’re a student at BYU, is that correct?
S4: Yeah, that’s right. I am a junior.
S1: Are you a member of the Church of Latter day Saints?
S4: Yes, I am.
S1: And the big question on everyone’s mind,
S3: are you a virgin
S1: born again virgin?
S3: OK, so I just I’m really curious. Why the anonymity?
S4: Yes, I am a current student at BYU. I’m a little bit worried that they don’t like the account. And so just in case, I want to make sure that my my status at the school is in danger. And also I haven’t come out to some of my friends as a virgin yet, so I’m kind of holding off on that.
S1: Did you say come out as a virgin?
S4: Yeah, we have a couple of posts about that. Just because of the stigma that comes with it, sometimes it can be a little hard to let people know.
S3: So tell me take me through what started this account. It’s sometime around September 20, 20. We’re in a pandemic.
S1: None of us are feeling very horny. I’m not going to lie. So what what inspires the Brigham young Virginity Club Instagram account?
S4: Yeah. So, I mean, you’re on social media. I’m sure you see, like, all the different jokes about virgins, like the first step forward. And that’s a meme that’s been going around for a long time. I think in general there’s just a lot of very casual stigma and prejudice against people who are virgins. If someone doesn’t seem as cool as popular, you might think they’re a virgin. And so we wanted to create a safe space where people who choose to remain celibate can kind of get together and discuss strategies to stay strong and to stay faithful.
S1: I noticed you guys have your first brand, Ambassador al-Hasani Reagan. What is your relationship to to him?
S4: Yes, always underrated. He was already a cow, obviously got a BYU, but we really liked his music. We thought he was a really cool guy. And we’re like, wow, like we can’t believe this is cool. Musician is following our account and you should go check out his music, by the way, if you have. And so we just massive I we were like we always there for you guys. This is clearly something that you care about. Would you like to be a investor. And he was all for it. And we, I mean we say to him Submerge and he’s been featured in a few videos but it really hasn’t been it’s not like a paid partnership or anything. It’s just a work of work of love.
S1: We noticed your account follows a bunch of other college Virginity clubs, most of which were started after yours. Are you in communications with any of these other Virginity clubs? Is there a group chat?
S4: They’re actually Instagram chat. It’s funny you mention that. I was actually just messaging some of them today. The group chat, it’s called Convergence.
S3: Great, great name. Great name.
S4: There’s probably maybe close to two dozen different Virginity accounts in the group chat. And we kind of just talk about like what kind of things we should post, how we can gain followers to spread a radical message of abstinence to to more people. And that’s kind of what we do.
S1: We were doing a little a little research and we noticed that a couple of the accounts appeared to be associated with the same email address as yours. Do you run any other Virginity club accounts
S4: so you control the National Virginity Council account? And that’s the only account that I have ownership over, but I don’t really post on it much. I thought maybe would be a good idea to centralize our message, but it didn’t really take off. And so I kind of just focused on the main one.
S1: So the other question we have, the thing we noticed is that a lot of these clubs were made in the same two week period in December, if not on the exact same day. And that includes the National Virginity Council that you run. Was this a coordinated campaign effort in the hot tub?
S4: Not coordinated, all organic, because we like you said, we started our recount back in September, but it didn’t really fall until the end of November. Beginning of the. And so around that time, as I recall, was blowing up all of these other college campuses started to form their own campus affiliates related to our idea, really.
S1: So everybody on December 16th just said, you know what, today is the day Virginity account.
S4: Yes. So, I mean, Virginity was trending on different social media platforms and they were to talk videos that had millions of years. And so I think everyone in the college age group was exposed to our account at once. And it was getting so much positive feedback that they were inspired to go make their own. And we tried to encourage them as well by giving the kids
S3: let’s be you’ll hear a lot of these other accounts are, in fact, mostly jokes. There is one thing why Pangea’s needs to be brought back for Virginity. And the thing about these, it’s really good. That’s why they’re. So they’re impeccable, Meems. Yeah.
S1: So you said at least once on the record that this account is not satire, not satire. How can you expect somebody to believe that when you’re talking about the Pew poll loophole?
S4: Yeah, I don’t know. Obviously, some of the other accounts take a more lighthearted approach to it. Honestly, I think some of them are even genuine. It’s just it’s hard to tell which ones are real and which aren’t.
S1: So what would you say to someone who is just dead set, believes that this is a really good, well executed satire account?
S4: At a certain point, there’s nothing I can say. We’ve told we’ve said multiple times that it’s not satire if they want to stay around because they think it’s a joke. Honestly, that’s preferred because we’d rather that they continue to digest and consume our positive and radical message Virginity and stigmatisation.
S1: Pretty good for selling merch, too.
S4: Yeah, we’ve done a couple of shots now which are
S3: so kind of going back to the group chat, the the hot tub of virgins. I guess I’m just curious if you’re in these group chats with these other pages that are clearly satirical, how are you kind of coordinating content with them?
S4: I don’t know. I think I’ve definitely been a victim a little bit since that maybe I’ve allowed these satirical accounts to come in and convince me that they’re real and they’re really not, that they’re just trying to piggyback on our momentum. But at the same time, like, I think there are genuine hopes in that account. And so my hope is that the genuine accounts will gain some sort of insight and bring our message to more people.
S1: So the BYU student body and campuses have faced a number of reckonings over the honor code, the way that LGBTQ students are treated on campus, you know, rules and strictures that really impact the way that kids receive educations. What would you say to a fellow BYU student who feels like this? This account detracts from from those very real movements?
S4: I honestly hadn’t thought about it that way. And we haven’t had many people raise that to us. My hope is that that’s not the case. We’ve tried to be very inclusive of LGBTQ students and Virginity, BYU and other campuses. We have several posts affirming our commitment to the LGBTQ community. At BYU, we support LGBTQ individuals. Several of our Virginity week features on our story identify that way. And so our hope is that we’re not detracting from them in any way because we we advocate for them and we honestly think they’re getting the short end of the stick.
S1: In a post from December of twenty twenty, you talked about how you haven’t been able to get BYU Virginity Club approved by BYU. And The Post reads that you’re facing institutional prejudice, that the administrators in student leadership department are biased against virgins and the very idea of a Virginity club at BYU. Can you expand on that a little?
S4: So I’ll be honest, I was heated when I made that post. I think to some extent there is some bias where they don’t probably take it seriously or they are comfortable talking about these ideas with the level of candor that we hold to.
S3: I just want to read one line and just I want you to confirm this is 100 percent serious from a virgin lens. The Olympic villages are filled with perfectly chiseled athletes and thousands of condoms. Boycotting the Olympics will reduce premarital sex at the Olympic Village. This is not satire.
S4: One more French cosplay. We figure we had the same kind of content for so long. And why not apply the genes that we’ve been talking to to contemporary issues that are at the forefront of the news that are at the forefront of this call? And I was going to attempt to do so,
S1: so once and for all, for the record, you were an anonymous BYU Jr. and this account is not satire,
S4: not satire. Very serious.
S1: Thank you so much for your time today. We’ve really enjoyed asking questions. We’ll continue asking questions.
S4: OK, awesome. Thank you so much. That is all the questions for me.
S1: Yeah, I think so. You’re really, really. It’s satire.
S3: By. So, I mean, Madison, this was your case, how do you how are you feeling?
S1: Disappointed, baffled? I think my opponent is playing four dimensional chess. We are looking in each other’s eyes squarely. And I am saying this is satire. And he is saying, no, it’s not. And I’m going to get even more famous by continuing to say, no, it’s not. Case closed. The thing about the Brigham young Virginity Club is if it does turn out to be a musician harnessing viral shit post to then promote music, this truly is a little Nadex play in two acts.
S3: You were indeed speaking a little Naza. I regret to say that this connection was not as far afield as I expected, but no, I mean, this is legitimately how little Mosaic’s got his start. He was a Nicki Minaj Stan Page, which Nicki Minaj is not Virginity, but they’re standing something right.
S1: And it’s about standing something that is very popular in the moment. Virginity. Well, no, Virginity. No, but hear me out. There’s this whole trend on Tic-Tac about how GenZE is prudish, about how they’re anti sex. They’re not having sex. They don’t want to because they’ve figured out that sex is inherently like weird and gross, which. True. But the the prudishness of it all is very trumped up. It became an Internet bit. And so these accounts cropping up around the end 20-20 in intenta with that bit makes perfect sense to me. Now, anthropologically, I wish I’d thought of it. I’d be selling sweatshirts.
S3: We can still sell sweatshirts.
S1: I’m probably going to buy a sweatshirt.
S3: Well, on that note, Madison’s going to go buy a sweatshirt. I’m going to go contemplate how Virginity is a social construct, but also brings people together.
S1: And we’re going to declare this case officially
S3: closed like our legs.
S1: OK, that’s the show, we will be back in your feed on Saturday, please subscribe. It is the best way to make sure you never miss. I see. Why am I p a bit. We’re definitely bringing back. Please consider leaving us a rating and review and Apple podcast. If you like this episode. If you feel you finally can know peace when it comes to the Brigham young Virginity Club. Also feel free to follow us. Feel free to what a polite invitation. Follow us on Twitter. It’s at ICI. Why am I under Sauropod? And you can also always email us at icymi at Slate Dotcom. Who knows, we might just have you on the show and then I’ll stalk that ever living shit out of you on the Internet.
S3: Icymi is produced by Daniel Schroeder, supervising producer Thek John, our editors are forced with Winnipegger Frank Gay Brothas editorial director of audio
S1: see online or at the next meeting of the Virginity Club. I don’t know what does this mean for, like, fossil fuels, should I should I should I be investing it? I shouldn’t be. But what? Oh, no fossil fuel. Yeah. Like the decision to invest ethically or not.
S3: Oh yeah. We’re building our bridges, right.
S1: Yes, it is just gone. Head down on the desk.