I, (daughter’s name)’s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as i lead, guide and pray over my daughter and my family as the high priest in my home. This covering will be used by god to influence generations to come.
–Pledge from the Generations of Light Purity Ball
Has your dad ever said anything like that to you? He might have if you’d attended one of the increasingly popular Daddy/Daughter purity balls that have been popping up around the country.
At the balls, daughters in prom dresses and daddys in tuxes dance together in preparation for a public pledge like the one above. Sometimes there’s even the exchange of a purity ring from father to daughter.
Dating dad or dating the dude from school–really, is it so different? (Um, the answer is yeah.)
Girls at the balls may be as young as ten or as old as twenty. The events are hosted by various groups including Christian congregations, abstinence-only organizations and even crisis pregnancy centers.
One of these, the Baptist affiliated New Life Pregnancy Center, explains their ball: “[It] is a reminder to young ladies of the importance of purity, that even though they are hearing the message everyday that ‘it is okay to have sex before marriage’ God’s perfect plan for sex is that it would only occur within a marriage relationship. Fathers, set this time aside to just be there for her and make her feel like the princess that she is… It is never too [sic] late to help her to ‘honor God with her body’ (1 Corinthians 6:20).”
If you thought the time when a girl was seen as her father’s property until she became her husband’s was a thing of the past, think again. In this culture of “purity,” where men are called the “high priests” of the home, a girl’s virginity is considered her father’s responsibility until her wedding night. Before that event, it is also pretty clear that Daddy is expected to be his daughter’s stand-in for any romantic experiences.
Not only is that a little too close for comfort for me, but I also take issue with the tired double standard about male and female sexuality that purity events promote. I mean, have you ever heard of a Mommy/Son purity ball? I haven’t.
It’s 2008, but apparently, it is still only a girl’s virginity that matters. (On that note, I wonder what boys are supposed to do while their sisters dance with dad? Maybe hook-up with the girl down the street who didn’t have a father to take her to the event…)
I have to say, this whole “purity” thing seems like a throwback to a different era and not one I was particularly nostalgic for.
What do you think of Daddy/Daughter purity balls? Have you ever been to one?
Photo provided by Tommy Gunn