Involuntary Abstinence

Involuntary Abstinence

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About

“Involuntary Abstinence” is a concept of Internet humor that is typically iterated in image macros poking fun at male-oriented hobbies that may be deemed unattractive by the other sex, such as LARPing, cosplaying and video game collecting among others. While some instances appear to be used as a form of self-parody, others can be seen as examples of virgin-shaming.

Origin

On August 12th, 2005, the American television network G4TV[6] released a satirical commercial for the online role-playing game World of Warcraft in which a woman introduces the game to her boyfriend in order to prevent him from pressuring her to have sex.


In March of 2008, a demotivational poster was posted to the Internet humor site Ebaumsworld by user Ballentine with the World of Warcraft logo accompanied by the caption “World of Warcraft / keeping abstinence alive since 2004.”



Spread

On July 9th, 2008, the single topic blog Unmotivational Posters[8] posted another World of Warcraft demotivational poster with the caption “Abstinence programs / $15 per month is a small price to pay to keep your son’s virginity” (shown left). On March 1st, 2009, Urban Dictionary[14] user someone148615 submitted a definition for “W.O.W.”, an acronym for World of Warcraft, which defined the term as “an abstinence program.” On November 23rd, 2010, the Internet humor site Memebase[10] published a post titled “That’s the Only Peek-at You’ll Ever Get”, which featured a photo of a man hugging a Pikachu Pokemon stuffed animal with the caption “Virginity / I choose you” (shown right).



On January 12th, 2012, a post titled “Virginity level ∞” reached the front page of the /r/funny[15] subreddit with an image macro of a man dressed in cardboard armor captioned with “This is how I protect my virginity” (shown left). The post sparked a debate in the comments over the ethics of virgin-shaming. On February 23rd, 2012, the Memebase site Very Demotivational[2] posted a photo of a teenager dressed in various Nintendo game accessories with the caption “Virginity / He’s ready to protect his at all costs” (shown right).



Notable Examples

Examples of the meme have continued to spread on Memebase[11], Tumblr[12] and FunnyJunk[13] with photos of gamers and cosplayers that are captioned to appear as if they’re defending their virginity.



External References

[1]Unmotivational Posters – Wow Based Abstinence Programs

[2]Very Demotivational – VIRGINITY

[3]Tumblr – Touch and I’ll stab you

[4]Geeks Are Sexy – Abstinence Programs

[5]Memebase – W.O.W. abstinence

[6]G4TV – World of Warcraft Ad

[7]Ebaumsworld – WORLD OF WARCRAFT

[8]Unmotivational Posters – WOW-based Abstinence Programs?

[9]Give Us a Link – World of Warcraft – Abstinence Program

[10]Memebase – That’s the Only Peek-at You’ll Ever Get

[11]Memebase – virginity

[12]Tumblr – virginity

[13]FunnyJunk – virginity

[14]Urban Dictionary – W.O.W.

[15]Reddit – Virginity level

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