Students weigh-in on the Instagram page “Saint Mary’s Virginity Club”
By Jacqueline Mastrelli
Contributing News Reporter
“Welcome to Saint Mary’s Virginity Club. We take pride in our ability to leave room for Jesus and have fun! (Not affiliated with Saint Mary’s College)” is the Instagram bio that students are greeted with after receiving a follow request from the anonymous account.
The anonymous author(s) create posts that attempt to tiptoe along a line of seriousness and sarcasm. Using cheugy templates from Canva, they create posts such as: “Can I join Virginity Club if I’m a previous s*x haver?” “Is masturbation a sin?” and “SMC Virginity Club Finals Week Tips!” In the comment section, you’ll find students chiming in with comments such as, “It’s no coincidence that burning in hell for eternity and pre-marital sex rhyme” and “It’s not premarital sex if you never get married.”
But none of it is original. The page is a copy of the “Brigham Young Virginity Club” Instagram account that, since September 2020, has captured the interest of 38,000 Instagram users across the country. Even managing to repeatedly sell out on a series of merchandise releases, such as a “Say no to Satan’s cocktail of sex and drugs” satirical retro t-shirt, as well as faux virginity pledge cards, and a “Purity Power Virgin of the Week” sweatshirt. Since then, students nationwide have been starting up “clubs” for their own schools; search “virginity club” in Instagram and you’ll be recommended a slew of identical pages from Yale, Cal Poly, USF, and many more.
But the Saint Mary’s Virginity Club page hasn’t experienced the same success. The account mass followed 577 SMC students but less than half of them returned the favor, giving them a negative following-to-follower ratio of 1:-5. In a post on May 5th, 2021 they announced that they “are currently in the process of making Virgin Club merch, stay tuned for more info!” But no announcement or mentions of the merch have been made since.
So who created the anonymous Instagram page? “I have no idea” reported senior Teresa Martinez, and she isn’t alone, as none of the students interviewed knew who was behind the account. And the anonymous creator likely wants it to keep it that way, as they saw but ignored Instagram DM requests for comments on the story. But students are still speculating. Sophomore Abby Wall, who is active in the account’s comment sections, described the mystery person as, “a very, very funny individual” and sees the account as “kinda mocking the way religion views sex since we’re at a Catholic school and as college students, we view the topic of sex in a very different way.”
But contrary to general assumptions, there are many SMC students who do follow traditional religious teachings on sex or at least have respect for those who do. So while most viewers of the page recognize it is a joke, not everyone finds it particularly funny. Such as Theology major and Bible study leader, Alex Mendiola. When asked about the page he said, “I can tell that it is mostly an inside joke between friends. I don’t think the account creator(s) mean any serious harm. However, I do think it’s kind of lame to make fun of someone’s personal decision to remain celibate. It specifically mocks the Christian view on the nature of sex and marriage, which borders sacrilege… overall it feels very middle-school.” Communication major Blake Wickersham joined in and said, “If the page was completely genuine, I would think it’s really cool. I think it’s great that people have strong values and self-respect.”
As a community at Saint Mary’s who strives to embrace religious diversity, what do we think about the page? Is it worth paying any attention to, or is it “just a meme” as student Josh Camden describes it?
Ryan Ford '23,