Ahh, purity balls. In the evangelical Christian world, there is absolutely nothing creepy about what amounts to a “wedding” between a father and daughter. Recently, we showed you some insanely creepy pictures from purity balls-but those are just the tip of the iceberg!
Even Christians who believe in “purity” should have a problem with these atrocities. Firstly, they promote the idea that a girl/woman’s body is not her own. Instead, a girl becomes the property of a man–in this case her father–until he passes her off to her husband. There is nothing Christian about teaching one’s daughter that her every action should occur with the approval of a man–any man. Purity balls teach submissiveness. They instruct girls to believe that they are not capable of making their own decisions, and thus must defer judgment to their fathers–then their husbands.
Secondly, they promote the idea that a woman’s worth lies in how men perceive her. There is no focus on character. A girl or woman’s value is tied to her virginity–nothing else. If these fathers simply taught girls that they should focus on developing the gifts bestowed upon them by God rather than boys, instead of the equivalent of locking their daughters (and their hymens) in an ivory tower there would be much better results. But, of course, the focus is on shaming girls into remaining virgins–not encouraging them to develop as a person.
Thirdly, many of these girls don’t even understand what they are promising. They are often raised by extremely conservative families, not properly educated about sex, and simply taught that they should avoid Satan’s ramrod until they find the Godly man of their dreams. Look, there is nothing wrong with promising not to have sex until marriage. In fact, making a choice like that and sticking to it is both difficult and admirable. If a girl wants to make that decision, daddy needs to stay out of it–and she needs to understand her decision. Girls and women are much more than their virginity, and the culture of shame that purity balls push is simply damaging to self-esteem.
Last, just take a look at these photos and tell us that they are not creepy. This sort of thing goes well beyond a father loving and protecting his daughter. That can be accomplished without a “wedding,” and exchange of rings, or a reading of vows–in which a daughter pledges her hymen to daddy.
No matter what one’s opinion on sex and marriage happens to be, it is important to recognize that this sort of ritual has no place in a civilized society. The idea that a father must safeguard his daughter’s virginity dates back to the Old Testament, in which girls were quite literally property. It’s time that we reject this sort of perverted mentality. A woman is the steward of her own virginity. She is owned by no one, and remaining a virgin is not in any way a measure of her value.
Isn’t it more important that these men teach their daughters to become well-educated, to follow their dreams, and to focus on developing positive character traits? These are lessons that anyone–male or female–could use in life. Instead, the “purity” culture teaches that a woman’s only value is in staying ‘fresh and new’ for her superior male–daddy, or otherwise.
Girls deserve a better lesson than “You are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.”