Purity: Freedom from sin: chastity.
Tonight’s national news broadcast had a story about the growing phenomenon of Purity Balls – formal father-daughter dances where fathers sign pledges to their daughters “to protect them in their choices for purity. ” It is based on the premise that teenage girls will make better life decisions if they have a solid, healthy relationship with their father.
OK, I’ll bite.
I can’t exactly say that I had a great male role model – my dad was the type to sail in from his workday, down a few cocktails, yell at us kids at dinner, then retreat to his basement office for the rest of the evening. This is what a lot of daddies did in the 60’s.
My brothers and I were treated differently by our parents. Mom taught me to cook and sew, and dad taught the boys to throw balls and not to cry. I always wished dad would pay more attention to me; I felt more of kinship with him than I did with my mom. Dad and I look alike and our temperments are similar, and I felt that mom and I didn’t have much to say to one another.
I do not blame my parents for any “problems” I may have had later in relating appropriately to men. They parented me the best way they knew how, and I now have a wonderful relationship with my father. The closeness we have now is something I could have desperately used in my teens, but going to a Purity Ball together would have been way too over the top for both of us.
Here’s the deal – how exactly do these daddies think they are going to protect the purity of their daughters? By standing at the door with a whip and a chair, warding off inappropriate suiters? By making their daughters submit to virginity checks after every date?
Here is the Purity Pledge according to the Generations of Light website:
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 ACCOUNTABLITY 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.
Note the use of the term “high priest” in the last sentence. Since high priest means “highest ranking person”, where does this leave his partner – the female he is supposed to be married to? What does this say to his daughter? That she should accept the male rule of her childhood home until she submits to the male rule of her spouse? And where are the male children in all this purity business? Do we just leave the boys to be boys – in all their male splendor?
I wonder how these young girls feel about their own sexual feelings when they reach that tender age of 15 or 16 and their hormones are whispering to them “go ahead, you know you want to.” Will they feel ashamed of themselves for feeling sexual feelings, or, horror of horrors, actually acting on them? I think our young women would be better served with honest, practical sexual knowledge, in addition to a loving adult male presence. To attempt to stifle the sexual urges of females, while saying nothing to teen boys regarding appropriate behavior towards females, does a disservice to both. Let’s not put the full responsibility for “purity” on girls. Better yet, substitute the word “responsility” for purity – it makes a lot more sense.