May 19, 2008

Purity Balls: Sealing the Lips of Our Female Youth

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:44 pm by LG

Double entendre intended.

This article in today’s NYT highlights the national rise of Purity Balls, which I consider to be the most disturbing effort yet of the evangelical abstinence movement. These twisted father-daughter galas celebrate the public affirmation of the girls’ (often in grade school, mind you) commitment to abstience before marriage. Curiously, these girls go to these ceremonies dressed up like grown women (up-dos, floor-length gowns, tiaras, and makeup) and adorn the arms of their fathers who take their own purity pledge: “to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity.”

In other words young women receive the following message: Despite whatever personal qualities you think important, you are only as valuable as your vagina is pure. And because your emotions prevent you from deciding what to do with your body, we declare ownership…until you get married, at which time we will deed the rights to your husband.

There’s something about this kind of conservatism that really freaks me out because willful ignorance leaves no room for logic or rational discussion. No matter how many studies show that teens who have declared abstinence are more likely to have unprotected sex than those who have not, The Abstinence Clearinghouse will continue to mail out purity ball kits to interested groups

I understand that kids don’t always make good decisions (I certainly made a few bad ones myself), but asking them not to give into very powerful desires is not only naive, it’s downright moronic. I hate to break it to you Purity Pops, but your daughters will likely be horny at some point (I cringe at the use of that word, but it’s necessary here). And because you haven’t included your sons in these Purity Balls (telling, isn’t it?) those young boys are going to be preaching a different sermon to your daughters…one that’s a lot more exciting than yours.

Perhaps there was a time when abstinence was reasonable (??) – namely, when girls were being married off at 14. But now we are in a world where marriage isn’t necessarily the default. (What happens if these girls decide not to get married – can they still never have sex??) In this day in age, women can have their own careers, their own homes, their owns lives. They certainly need to understand that they have — and can control — their own private parts too.

If you want to help young women make good decisions, teach them. Give them tools. And I don’t mean birth control only (although it’s necessary and I still can’t believe that it isn’t free and readily available on every street corner) . . . I also mean self-esteem, confidence, and independence. Give your daughters a voice; they will use it.



  1. Ida said,

    Messing up is a part of growing up. They are sealing their children in cocoons and when they finally break free they will be more f’ed up than if they never hid them away.

  2. Oh my God. This makes every hair on my body stand up. This quote from a 19 year old girl especially:

    “Something I need from dad is affirmation, being told I’m beautiful,” said Jordyn Wilson, 19, another daughter of Randy and Lisa. “If we don’t get it from home, we will go out to the culture and get it from them.”


    What?? “The culture??” And what culture is that?? The huge world outside of their small, small closed minds??? Seriously, could they send their duaghters out into “the culture” more ill-equipped? And is it bad if another man aside from her father tells her that she is beautiful? Does it mean that she has such little self-control that she’ll immediately drop her pants in a compliment induced haze?

    I was tired and getting ready to go to bed. Now I’m all fired up LG. Ugh. It’s just creepy.

    Wonder if we’ll hear from Ken…

  3. The Owl said,

    HIV, HPV and HSV don’t discriminate but parents do because of lack of knowledge and faith. As Buddha says Virus power is strong.

  4. kec said,

    I have two words….CRE-EPY.

    In my experience, my friends that had the most sheltered homes and the most overprotective parents were the ones who went away to college and went nuts. To think that your children are not going to make thier own mistakes makes you nothing but willfully ignorant.

    I’d like to kick some of these parents in their purity balls.

  5. Jen said,

    heebie jeebies.

    for reals.

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