Monday, April 16, 2007


"Because we cherish our daughters as regal princesses..."

That is the opening banner for the Colorado Springs' Purity Ball website. Essentially the event is a dance, where fathers pledge love to their daughters, daughters in return pledge chastity, and the father gives her a ring. Then they dance.

I like the idea of fathers and daughters, mothers and sons getting closer. I must admit this description from the website made me, forgive my Yiddish, "fer klump".

One of the most memorable highlights of the ball is when the fathers stand in the middle of the ballroom and form a circle around their daughters standing all aglow in their lovely ball gowns. The fathers place their hands on their daughters, and together we pray for purity of mind, body, and soul for generations to come.

If you're interested in joining the Great Abstinence movement, the people over at The Abstinence Clearing House make it easy with an honest-to-God Purity Ball Kit. Just $25.

No? Well then how about Cee Cee's online Boutique. It's sixty five dollars for a Purity Princess Survivor Kit. Just read what your money buys:

This kit is excellent for any girl! Over 50 items enclosed including
the Purity Pledge, the Pink Abstinence Card , valuable information on STD's and your worth as a girl created by God! From nail enamel quick dry spray, a cute polka dot shower cap to nail glue, a pre-threaded sewing kit, and a dual make up sharpener...this kit is for you! Great for going off to College the Birthday Girl or even a COMING OF AGE gift for when she finally gets her period. What a great way to sow into GODZGIRL NETWORK to help other girls!


etain_lavena said...

hhhmmm I so want to speak my mind on this matter sooooo badly but I think I would offend ppl, so let me just keep my mouth shut:)
Diffrent post Stewart:)

Asara said...

Where was this gorgeous little kit when Paris Hilton was at that impressionable age.. sigh!!!

miller580 said...

Please etain...offend us. I just wrote a paper on this very topic. Oh Stewart, if you simply scrape around for info on the governments abstinence only programs I think you'd have a stroke.

Did you know: the U.S. Government will contribute over $241 million in federal funding on abstinence-only programs in 2007

Did you know: The federal guidelines governing these programs state that the programs should teach “that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexuality”

Did you know: a study released by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) “found that over 80% of abstinence only curricula supported by the Department of Health and Human Services contained false, misleading, or distorted information about abortion, contraception, and gender roles and routinely presented religious beliefs as scientific fact”

I could go on and on...but I am done.

Thanks Stewart for getting me all fired. I need these constant reminders to avoid complacency.

SQT said...

I'm not against encouraging daughters to abstain if that's the family's belief or religion or whatever. But these balls are kind of creepy. I read an article on them and have seen them featured on a couple of TV shows.

I don't know. I don't think I want my husband that interested in my daughter's sexuality. The whole thing is just weird.

Charles Gramlich said...

Purity Balls sound like some kind of new Eugenics movement.

avery said...

I can excuse the girls. What teen wouldn't want to be the center of attention at a big party in her honor, wearing a fancy dress and sporting a shiny new ring -- especially when all her friends are doing it. In fact, it's the perfect way to rope girls into this shit, Someone must have thought long and hard about exactly how to make little girls compliant. It's like Brainwashing for the Cell Phone Set.

But the dads? Ugh. Talk about screwing your kids up right. They give their daughters the formal dress, slide the ring on their finger, make some vows, and suddenly we're in creepy wedding territory. These girls are essentially married off to their fathers, signing themselves over to the first man in their life until another one can take over via a second ceremony. It's control and subjugation thinly disguised by the concept of pious purity.

There's gonna be a lot of twenty year-olds sitting in psychiatry offices in a few years wondering why they can't possibly make a relationship last, and they'll probably be looking as hard at the clock as the shrink because they have to go pick up their three kids from day care.

Jon said...

I'm of two minds about this.
One the one hand it does have an incestuous feel about it.
On the other hand, many dads are perfectly okay with their 13 year old daughters going to the store to buy and wear slut suits. Not mention padded bras for eleven year olds, and the fact that more than half of babies born this year will have unmarried mothers.

I remember telling my daughter when she was about thirteen or fourteen that she wasn't allowed to:
A) Get pregnant
B) drive after drinking
C) Use any drug that she hadn't grown herself.

Stewart Sternberg said...

etain, like Jim, we soooo want you to speak your mind. I am not sure who you would offend here.

asara, I think that people like Paris Hilton are a walking advertisement for retroactive abortion.

Mr. Jim, Mr. Avery, I have no problem supporting abstinence. I believe most young people aren't ready for sex. And I am tired of dealing firsthand with teenage pregnancy and watching how that experience so often leads to developmental issues (yes, I know some reading this will argue that they were single parents as teens...but again I stand by my assertion that teens lack the world experience and maturity to be good parents, or even good citizens in many instances).

All that being said, I have no problem with the purity balls. Yes, they come across as incestuous, yes they tend to be a further tool for the objectification of women, yes they have a way of furthering sexism.
Okay...wait...maybe I do have a problem, but the truth is: they have the right to their freedom of expression. Just like I have the right to make fun of them.

Jon, ever the voice of reason. I think that parents who are overly permissive and allow their kids to do what they wish are as guilty of damaging their children as are unrealistic conservatives who wallow in hypocricy.

SQT said...

There is a fine line to tread with daughters. Like Jon said, you don't want to send them out the door thinking it's ok to wear the "slut suits," though many girls will try to sneak out in questionable outfits anyway.

I absolutely plan on talking frankly to my daughter and hopefully I can gently nudge her toward abstinence. Though I do think any kind of extreme strictness can cause a child to rebel just as surely as extreme laxness can let a kid think they can get away with anything.

But these Purity Balls are a bit over the top IMO. I think Avery got it right when he suggested there were going to be some messed up girls as a result of these.

miller580 said...

Please don't misconstrue my anti-Abstinence-only stance with what the conservative right would call "liberal anything goes" belief.

I believe abstinence should be taught. My complaint is with the tiny word "only"

Jon is right too many parents don't care and the media doesn't help with the promotion of sex sex sex.

But if we set up as the conservatives are doing a "only thier way" education then how many more unprepared mothers will there be.

Most of these abstinence "only" programs refuse to teach and educate on safer ways to sex. Yes, I believe kids are starting too early, but is it really rational to believe that every kid is going to abstain?

Again, I am a middle of the road kind of person. To me there is no "one" right answer. I believe the key here is straight forward education.

miller580 said...

Oh yeah, the whole daddy/ daughter wedding really creeps me out. Why do we have to go through the whole cinderella princess fairy tale thing anyway. In life, there is no prince charming and there is no real happily ever after and its time to stop promoting it to our daughters.

Kate S said...

Ugh - that just gave me the willies.

On the other hand, I don't want my 14-almost-15 year old having sex yet. I don't believe she is anywhere near ready for that type of responsibility, regardless of what she may think.

So far, she says she hasn't (and I tend to believe her since her "friends" make fun of her for it - sheesh), but I'm worried that she thinks it's "romantic" and "cool" that one of her friends already has a baby. Frightening beyond belief.

Turnbaby said...

I cannot describe how skeevy this whole endeavor makes me feel. This is just wrong.