Among the 50 most unique items left behind in Uber vehicles in 2019 is a lanyard that says “Virginity Rocks.” And thanks to Danny Duncan, a young, irreverent, YouTube star from California, the phrase is now a fashionable statement American teenagers are wearing on their clothes.
Duncan, 27, began wearing Virginity Rocks T-shirts in his videos as something of a joke in 2017, according to The New York Times. Now, his fashion statement has caught on among teenagers who might or might not be sincere about being proud of their virginity.
“I have sex, obviously, but I want people to do whatever they want to do and not be pressured into anything,” Duncan told the Times about his Virginity Rocks fashion trend. “I sell ‘Practice Safe Sex,’ too, which could be funny but is also a positive message at the end of the day.”
Duncan boasts just over 3.6 million subscribers on his YouTube channel where his videos have racked up millions of views that help promote his branded tours where he gets to meet his fans and sell merchandise.
The brand is now so popular, last year Duncan began a partnership with teen retailer Zumiez to sell his merchandise in 700 locations in the United States.
The lanyards are sold for $12, bucket hats and slide sandals are $40 each, while hoodies go for $55 and he has done millions of dollars in online sales.
“We’re doing these meet and greets for Zumiez and thousands of kids show up and the whole mall is covered in ‘Virginity Rocks,’” Stefan Toler, Duncan’s manager, told the Times. “It started as more of a joke, but now it’s an actual brand where we’re outselling Thrasher, Nike, Adidas and all these brands in Zumiez, and we’re like, ‘What the hell?’ Even Zumiez is like, ‘What’s happening?’”
Toler says he believes the teenagers who have been endorsing Duncan’s message are split between his fans who also wear the brand in jest and those who sincerely support the message which has made virginity cool.
“I’m 32, so back when I was in high school you would not say that, but he’s made it cool with his fans in general,” Mr. Toler said. “If Danny’s fans are virgins, they’re psyched to be virgins.”
Some school administrators in Oregon, Wisconsin and Missouri have suspended teenagers for wearing the brand, which has outraged some parents, the Times reported.
“Can someone explain to me why Fletcher got sent home from RHS today to change his shirt? I’m not sure why the Principal thought this shirt was offensive being worn by a 17 year old boy... I’m listening if anyone knows something about this that I don’t...," Linda Jacobson, the grandmother of a Oregon student Fletcher Case, asked on Facebook after her grandson was penalized for wearing a Virginity Rocks T-shirt.
Roseburg School District Superintendent Gerry Washburn told The News-Review if Case had been allowed to wear the T-shirt it would have been disruptive in class. He noted it had nothing to do with religion.
“We would have made the same decision if the student had been wearing a T-shirt that said sex rocks or smoke more pot,” he said.