Toxic Purity Culture Pyramid

On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, the news that Rapper T.I. Said He Goes To The Gynecologist With His Daughter Every Year To “Check Her Hymen” went viral. The problems with Purity Culture are already well documented and United Nations agencies (UN Human Rights, UN Women and the World Health Organization) called for ban on virginity testing. According to the UN, ‘Virginity testing’ is a human rights violation with no scientific basis. Virginity testing is used to control and punish women worldwide and is part of Purity Culture that harms girls, women, and all people assigned female at birth. Purity Culture is also part of Rape Culture—rape and purity are not about sex—it’s about control. This pyramid was created to help demonstrate the how normalization of virginity and purity ultimate leads to more egregious and violent behaviors.

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Toxic-purity-culture-pyramid
Created by Cervix & Jaime Chandra (© November 2019)

Accessibility Text: A graphic titled “Toxic Purity Culture” that has a triangle with words and a background gradient of darker red at the top peak, orange in the center, and yellow at the bottom. The text under the pyramid explains the relationship: “Tolerance of the behaviors at the bottom supports or excuses those higher up. To change outcomes, we must change the culture. Virginity is not a medical or scientific term. The concept of virginity is a social, cultural and religious construct that reflects gender discrimination against women, girls, and all people assigned female at birth.” The words inside the pyramid, starting with the top and most severe: Purity killings, Vitriol attacks, Genital mutilation, Marital rape, Virginity tests & hymen checks, Abstinence-only sex education, Using anal sex to “preserve” virginity, Threats & jokes made to daughters and their current/future male partners around virginity and purity Fetishizing virgins, Slut Shaming, Victim Blaming, Dress Codes, Hymen myths, Enforced modesty, Virginity pledges Purity balls

More information & sources

Purity Culture:

Purity / Honor / Adultery Killings:

Vitriol (Acid) Attacks:

Genital Mutilation:

Marital Rape:

Virginity Testing / Hymen Checks:

Abstinence-Only Sex Education:

Using Anal Sex to Preserve Virginity:

Threats & jokes made to daughters and their current/future male partners around virginity and purity:

Slut Shaming:

Victim Blaming:

Enforced Modesty / Dress Codes:

Hymen myths:

Fetishizing virgins:

Virginity Pledges / Purity Balls: