Monday, February 05, 2007

Purity Balls

Social conservative whackjobs are a constant source of comedy to me, and anyone who reads this blog knows that I mock them with great gusto. So-cons have such a flair for synchronically taking themselves so seriously while being completely absurd, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge it. However, there's comedic and there's creepy, and an American so-con craze that's supposed to be gaining popularity up here, "purity balls", falls into the latter category.

The "Purity Ball" concept was born a couple of years ago in some fundamentalist christian hellhole like deepest darkest Focus-on-the-Family Colorado. A Purity Ball is a fancy-shmancy dress-up party attended by fathers and daughters, where the daughters make "chastity pledges" to their fathers, and dads vow to protect their daughters' vaginas. There's a heavy religious element to it; in the father's vow he's even referred to as the "High Priest" of the family. Sometimes a father will give his daughter a little padlock, with the intention of giving the key to her husband on her wedding day. (As someone at Fark said, "It's like a car show, but for hymens".)

While fathers are normally protective of their daughters, Purity Balls and their focus of the girls' virginity and the fathers' duty to protect it is more than a little creepy. The idea of daddy giving the key to his daughter's lock to her new husband is bizarre. Where is she in all this? The girls seem incidental to a situation that's disturbingly reminiscent of property exchange. The whole routine is like some kind of weird indoctrination/control process -- keep the chastity vow, or be damaged goods.

While they might be well-intentioned, Purity Balls are actually pretty sick. Whether a girl keeps her virginity should have nothing to do with her father; it's also a lot less important than her own sense of self-confidence and self-worth, qualities that won't be enhanced by being treated like chattel.