Purity Balls: Protecting Girls From Making Choices


TLC recently reran Purity Balls, a documentary about the father/daughter cotillions celebrating girls’ pledges to remain virgins until marriage. Why is the focus solely on getting girls to protect their “purity” and so little on preventing boys from violating it?

After all, I think the term “purity balls” would be much more appropriate for Christian males who pledge to remain virgins. But aside from that, there’s a laundry list of reasons why I think purity balls are not only ridiculous, but harmful to the females who are pressured into participating in them. One of those reasons is that the fathers involved in these ceremonies think that they not only know exactly what women want and need, but are the authority on it.

Also, this:

Which makes me feel like this:

By having their daughters take pledges of “purity” and telling them to expect nothing less than a fairytale of a romance from a prince of a guy, these parents are more than likely setting them up for a lifetime of disappointment, as life is far from a fairytale, even for women who marry literal princes. (Hello, Princess Diana, anyone?)

But ultimately, what’s most troubling about purity balls and such pledges is that the parents are always talking about how there are “terrible consequences” to making “certain” (read: sexy) choices. And while that can be true, why is the solution then to discourage their daughters from making any choices at all? I admit that I’m approaching the topic with my own biases — about sex and religion and people who parent their children with a “do what I say, not what I’ve done” philosophy — but it’s clear from this clip that this 11-year-old girl has no idea about what dating in the 21st century is like, and it’s scary to think that there’s a chance she never will.

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