TRADITIONAL VIRGINITY TEST
|WOMEN VIRGINITY TEST KIT
|TBWA\RAAD Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
TBWA\RAAD Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Why is this work relevant for Integrated?
The Virginity Testing Kit is designed to break the silence and ultimately stop the humiliating custom prevalent in MENA whereby a woman must demonstrate her virginity on her wedding night via a medical exam and certificate, but most often via a bloodstain on the matrimonial bedsheets. The integrated idea centred around a ‘mock’ Virginity Testing Kit that included pure white sheets, mailed to influencers and activists who posted about it on their social channels and directed followers to a website to ‘buy’ the kit. We also designed bedsheets in the form of OOH and a 36-page hardcover book.
Across the Arab world lies a deeply ingrained and humiliating belief that a woman must keep her virginity intact until her wedding night, at which time she must demonstrate her virginity either via a degrading medical test, but most often via a bloodstain on the matrimonial bedsheets. Thus she can establish her purity to her newly wed husband and his family. If a bride does not bleed on her wedding night, she brings dishonor to herself and her family, and this will lead to what many perceive as justified retribution in the form of rape, abuse, suicide and even honor killings.
Regardless of her innate value as a human being or her accomplishments, a woman’s worth is tied to her hymen.
Our Virginity Testing Kit was designed to break the silence surrounding this taboo custom, and ultimately bring an end to this dangerous and derogatory practice.
Describe the creative idea
We used the tools of disempowerment themselves - the bedsheets - as a powerful way to highlight this dehumanizing practice.
Called “NAQUI” نقي which means “Pure” the Virginity Testing Kit follows a bridal theme. Contained within is pure white, stylish, cotton bedsheets, identical to what a bride would receive as a wedding ‘gift,’ packaged in a beautifully designed, floral box set.
The kits were not meant to be sold of course, rather, to make an unassuming yet bold and brave statement about the oppressiveness of this practice. People were directed to the website www.traditionalvirginitytest.com to ‘buy’ the kits online but when added to cart, users were instead redirected to information about this shameful practice and they could then donate money online to support the organisation M.A.L.I - Mouvement Alternatif pour les Libertés Individuelles.
Describe the strategy
We believe that a woman’s virginity should not be a source of shame, nor a topic of discussion in social circles. Based on out-dated cultural dogma, continued Virginity Testing is inherent in large sub-sets of Arab society still ruled by patriarchal ideas that propagate inequality and the oppression of women.
Our target audience became the uneducated and traditionally minded populations of the Arab region who propagated this archaic and baseless practice in these modern times. We were up against deeply entrenched ideas of manhood and femininity. Sayings like “the beauty of men is in their shoulders (symbolizing strength) and of women in their purity (implying their virginity)” perpetuated a gender based division of society, stacked against and oppressive of females. To reach these people, and change their attitudes we needed to slip into the cultural vernacular and shift perceptions from the inside.
Describe the execution
The design was based on a floral theme emblematic of a female’s journey - a bud that blooms into a delicate flower whose petals must remain intact until she is de-flowered on her wedding night. We used endemic flowers from the region (Rosa, Syrian Wildflower, Jasmine, Desert Rose, Egyptian Acacia. Inside was pure white, cotton bedsheets, ultra-absorbent for virgin blood.
The kits were not for sale but we produced a limited amount and sent them to journalists, activists, celebrities and influencers (Marrakesh, New York, Paris, Madrid, Beirut, Dubai) who promoted the idea on social media. Their followers were directed to the ‘traditional virginity test’ website where they could read information and testimonies from experts and victims and donate funds to MALI
Bedsheet ‘posters’ were printed with relevant data and myth-busters and placed in villages and people’s yards and windows, in social content and a 36-page hardcover book.
List the results
This revolutionary product opened a dialogue about an issue that was locked inside bedrooms for years, and ignited a digital conversation about other virginity testing practices.
Published by journalists, activists celebrities, and influencers in Marrakesh, New York, Paris, Madrid, Beirut, and Dubai, who promoted the idea on social media.
Shared for more than 100 publications from 15 different countries
Unique Authors: 291
Hijacked the conversation on Valentine's Day in the MENA region.
Top Languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Persian.
|Copywriter / Creative Director
|Motion Graphic Designer
|Digital Content Creator
|PR & Communications