I’m not sure, reading this NY Times story about “purity” balls, whether this incarnation of the ball beast is better or worse than the more common one, in which girls pledge their virginity to their fathers. Here that the event is so patently misogynist (not to mention paternalistic in the wholly negative sense) that the girls don’t even take their own “pledge” of virginity, but instead their fathers vow to “protect” the girls “as their authority.” This whole phenomenon, of girls getting all dolled up to dance with their dads and swear their purity is just flat-out creepy.
Here’s more proof:
For the Wilsons [the event organizers] and the growing number of people who have come to their balls, premarital sex is seen as inevitably destructive, especially to girls, who they say suffer more because they are more emotional than boys. Fathers, they say, play a crucial role in helping them stay pure. [nb: my emphasis]
Does this recall the language of those awful abstinence only programs to anyone else?
And, while studies show that girls who have close relationships with their fathers are less likely to become pregnant as teens, studies also show that many kids do not maintain the abstinence pledges they make (many of the girls at the ball had made pledges at other times even if they did not do so explicitly at the ball), and that these kids are more likely to have unprotected sex as teens.
Oh, and lest we think there is no political undertone: the event’s organizer, Randy Wilson, is also the national field director for the Family Research Council. Nice.