Topics: Sexual abstinence, Human sexuality, Virginity pledge Pages: 4 (1424 words) Published: March 4, 2013
nA purity ball is a formal event attended by fathers and their daughters. Purity balls promote virginity until marriage for teenage girls and are often closely associated with U.S. Christian churches. Details vary, but at typical purity balls, fathers who attend pledge to protect their young daughters' purity in mind, body, and soul. Daughters in turn pledge to remain virgins, abstaining from pre-marital sex. A stronger father-daughter relationship is promoted as a means to affirm spiritual and physical purity. Writer and feminist Eve Ensler criticizes purity balls for what she sees as the position of inferiority it puts the daughters in: "When you sign a pledge to your father to preserve your virginity, your sexuality is basically being taken away from you until you sign yet another contract, a marital one...It makes you feel like you’re the least important person in the whole equation. It makes you feel invisible."[1] Purity balls have also drawn criticism from some Christians; in the Chicago Sun Times, Betsy Hart writes: I'm an evangelical Christian who firmly believes that sex should be reserved for marriage. But I just can't imagine going about it this way with any of my four kids, son or daughters ... I can't help but wonder if a single-minded focus on virginity is an ironic, and unintended way, of sexualizing youth in a different way...[2] The events have been called odd, creepy, oppressive of a girl's "sexual self-agency," as one USA Today columnist put it.[citation needed] Father-daughter bonding is great, the critics agree — but wouldn't a cooking class or a soccer game be emotionally healthier than a ceremony freighted with rings and roses and vows? Some academic skeptics make a practical objection: The majority of kids who make a virginity pledge, they argue, will still have sex before marriage but are less likely than other kids to use contraception, since that would involve planning ahead for something they have promised not to do. This puts them...
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