I am the last person in the free world to have heard about Father-Daughter Purity Balls? I know, I know, it sounds like something really perverted and…. actually it is.
Fathers take their daughters (usually of menstruating age or older, though some men bring much younger girls – as young as four) to these gala events – long gowns and tiaras for the gals, tuxes for the men. They take vows and exchange rings. Kinda like a wedding (berk).
The father vows to protect his daughter’s chastity at all costs.”Are you ready to war for your daughters’ purity?” is the battle cry. Daughter, in turn vow to remain chaste until their wedding day. Except at some purity balls, where the daughters don’t even get to make a vow of their own. Dad is willing to take control of her sex life all on his own.
There’s some food and some dancing and a bunch of praying and kneeling, a big cross and, believe it or not, swords. These are, of course, evangelical Christian events.
Apparently these things have been going on for over 10 years now. Sort of like debutante balls except at those families were actually thrusting their young females into society whereas with purity balls they’re trying to preventing thrusting of any kind. Some of the girls are even forbidden from kissing a male until marriage.
My mind is well and truly boggled. First, why fathers and daughters? Where are the mothers and sons?
Also, how could this possibly succeed? I would assume these poor girls are also receiving no sex education beyond, “don’t do it.” Recipe for disaster or what? Hmm, let’s see:
According to a study by Peter Bearman, the Chair of Columbia University’s Department of Sociology, and Hannah Bruckner of Yale, 88 percent of those who pledge abstinence at these Purity Balls wind up breaking their pledge and having sex before marriage – and most have risky, unprotected sex to boot.
And how does this make young women feel about themselves, about their bodies, about sex? That men – first their dad, then their husbands – are in charge of their sexuality?
Are they loaded with guilt and shame if/when they do end up having pre-marital sex? What if they’re sexually assaulted in some way – can they talk to their parents about this? What about those women who maybe aren’t even interested in having sex with men – the vows are all about Dad handing over his little girl’s virginity to her husband on their wedding day.
And why such a public spectacle? Since when are personal values the stuff of fanfare and hoopla?
Excuse me, I’m feeling a little ill.