I ran up against this post on Shakesville, which reminded me of the purity ball phenomenon. For those of you unschooled in whacky Christian Fundie thinking, a purity ball is an occasion where a girl gets all dressed up, dances with Daddy with a whole bunch of other girls dancing with Daddy, and then makes a pledge to remain pure an abstinent from sex until marriage. The father replies with the pledge to “CHOOSE BEFORE GOD TO COVER MY DAUGHTER AS HER AUTHORITY AND PROTECTION IN THE AREA OF PURITY. … I WILL BE A MAN OF INTEGRITY AND ACCOUNTABLITY AS I LEAD, GUIDE AND PRAY OVER MY DAUGHTER AND MY FAMILY AS THE HIGH PRIEST IN MY HOME. “
This is for some girls as young as 10.
This keeps sticking in my head… and only recently have I been able to figure out why it gives me the heebies so much (apart from the obvious). Puritiy balls are effectively teaching young women that they must be subservient to their husbands, long before they have one. Its about teaching women their sexuality is to be repressed, neutering their sexual feelings by putting Daddy in the slot of “potential sexual partner”. By doing this, young women are being taught that to desire someone as a sexual partner is a) wrong and b) to be repressed at all costs.
It’s teaching women to subjugate their own desires, to look up to the authority of a man for everything that they do. If a young woman chooses that she does not want sex, that is her choice. When that choice is forced upon her, it means that she won’t learn how to assert her own will – that Daddy (or husband) will do it for her.
My brain hurts.