3/27/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Daddy's Little Girls

Imagine a couple arriving at a church in a limousine- she's in her finest dress, he's in a tuxedo. In front of their friends and family, they stand before each other and pledge a covenant- she to remain his, and he to protect and care for her. After exchanging rings, they embrace and join each other on the dance floor to commemorate their vows, as the guests eat fancy cake.

Sounds like a wedding, no? Sure would be too, if the couple weren't father and daughter.

While not a wedding, these "Father-Daughter Purity Balls" are designed to be enough like one to really set off my creepiness alarm. Now, it's all well and good for fathers to have strong and loving relationships with their daughters, but this seems to be taking it too far. The vow made by the daughter is strictly sexual- she is essentially ceding sovereignty of her body, and specifically her genitals, to her father. According to recent participant Mike Parcha, this arrangement "is a culmination of the relationship we have with God and with each other."

And he would seem to be right. Most ancient societies were strongly patriarchal, to the extent that daughters were essentially the property of their fathers. The Old Testament reflects this mentality:
Deuteronomy 22: Suppose a man marries a woman, but after going in to her, he dislikes her and makes up charges against her, slandering her by saying, ‘I married this woman; but when I lay with her, I did not find evidence of her virginity.’ The father of the young woman and her mother shall then submit the evidence of the young woman’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. The father of the young woman shall say to the elders: ‘I gave my daughter in marriage to this man but he dislikes her; now he has made up charges against her, saying, “I did not find evidence of your daughter’s virginity.” But here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ Then they shall spread out the cloth before the elders of the town. The elders of that town shall take the man and punish him; they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver (which they shall give to the young woman’s father) because he has slandered a virgin of Israel. She shall remain his wife; he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.
In this instance, the virginity (sexual sovereignty) of the woman is considered the property of her husband after marriage. If the new husband suspects that his property is damaged, it naturally falls on the previous owner to provide some evidence that it was in pristine condition when he owned it.
Deuteronomy 22: If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, the man who lay with her shall give fifty shekels of silver to the young woman’s father, and she shall become his wife. Because he violated her he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.
Here again, we see the sexual sovereignty of the woman as the property of her father. In this example, rape is viewed as a crime not towards the woman, but to her father- and it is to her father that the fine must be paid. The woman is forced to become the rapist's wife- sort of a "you break it, you bought it" policy.

So it really does seem as if these displays of paternal ownership of their daughters' vaginas really are consistent with the Christian scriptures. But is it a good idea? Ignoring the psychological implications of "marrying" one's own daughter, a common rationale for these Purity Balls is that they preserve virginity in a sexually permissive culture. But is that really true?

In a study conducted by Columbia's Sociology Department Chair Peter Bearman and Yale professor Hannah Bruckman, although abstinence vows significantly delayed first intercourse, 88% of young people who had made vows did have sex before marriage. And not only do these vows not work, but these people were also more likely to have participated in sexual activities that were more likely to expose them to sexually transmitted diseases- males, for example, were four times more likely to engage in anal sex than other males who didn't take abstinence vows. And contraception was used less - 20% less condom use, for example, in males who made vows of abstinence. Thus, the data explain what had been a puzzling fact- why teens who vowed to be sexually abstinent were no less likely to catch an STD than other teens who engaged in sex earlier. Rather than being protected from sex, the teens who made vows were sheltered from sex in a way that promoted risky behavior with many partners once they did have their first intercourse experience. This conclusion is consistent with anecdotal evidence I've reported before.

Now, one thing that Bearman and Bruckman point out in their study is that abstinence vows work initially because they are tied into an identity movement, which can exert considerable sociological force. However, they point out that like other identity movements, it can be fragile- the number of common participants cannot be too many or too few and certain ages are more susceptible than others. An important component of this effect seems to be the non-normative nature of the vow- that is, those who make abstinence vows need to view themselves as is a minority for the vow to have any effect at all on delay of first intercourse. It may be the case that these Purity Balls, which seek to instill in young girls the concept of an abstinence vow as a normal part of life, may be doing more harm than good to their cause. If they are too successful, especially considering that most of the participating girls seem to be home-schooled, where their social experience is extremely limited, the vow itself may carry less social force that they are hoping.

If that is the case, then the only thing left is the crushing impact of religious guilt, and I don't expect that to be terribly psychologically healthy for the average Christian girl, especially one who is "married" to her father.

28 comments:

TheCapetonian said...

At the heart of the matter, I think, is the Christian's obsession with sex and the genitalia. It starts with the male genitals being circumcised on the 8th day after birth (OT). The OT, specifically Leviticus 18 continues with references of whom to sleep with and who not to sleep with. I remember when I was a Christian boy reading these things and found it to be vile and x-rated. Bottom line is that these girls and boys, according to the stats anyway, seem to be worse off for taking these unnatural vows. Just sick. I'm not promoting irresponsible living but at the same time I do not advocated this stupid message of abstinence and the purity ball.

Great post. Bill Maher dealt with this issue on his HBO show on Friday. I had a good laugh.

TastyPaper said...

This is quite possibly the oddest thing I've heard of to come out of the Jesus camp. How can these people do these things with a straight face?

Anonymous said...

As a woman who has had sovereignty over her genitalia since the age of-- oh, I don't know, 15? and prior to that, was basically unaware of the private bits--
I think this feeds into girls' being hyperaware of sexuality, waaaay too young. YES, girls should know about their tendency to be made prey-- YES, girls should be aware of predators, both their own age and pedophiles-- but THIS much focus on a couple of organs is just plain creepy. Xians are WAAAAY too interested in the things they're most ashamed of.

Yaoi Huntress Earth said...

Say thecapetonian, do you know where I can find a clip of Maher's responce or something?

xrayman said...

What a fucking creepy concept with insestuous connotaions. I have a 12 year old daughter, and I would just feel wierded out by such a thing, and I believe weirded out wouldn't begin to express my daughter's feelings if she went to a dance with her daddy after puberty. I saw a story on this shit on T.V. and it was as if daddy should be the one to pop the cherry. It's just plain yucky !!!!!! As far as my daughter becoming sexually active, I guess I am a realist and I will deal with what ever happens as it comes. My lovely wife had the strictest Catholic father on the planet, yet she was sleeping with me her freshman year of high school. Go figure.

TheCapetonian said...

Hey yaoi huntress earth, I found a website that claim you can get the clip for bill maher if yu e-mail to prismwarden@aol.com and request the clip. It aired on March 23 around 10 PM. Alternatively you can checkout this website http://malcontent.typepad.com/malcontent/video/

Thanks.

D Laurier said...

Its creepy.
Its very very creepy.

It screams incest.

THE ACE said...

In this day and age of HIV and AIDS, I suppose someone choosing
abstinence until marriage isn't so
strange, but a "Father-Daughter
Purity Ball?" Now that is just
plain WIERD!

Well, come to think of it, fundamentalist Chistianity is pretty wierd. I know, I'm related to a lot of them!

Harlequin said...

At the risk of seeming Amerophobe...

Why is the society that produced the sort of beauty pageants JonBenet Ramsay took part in squirming at this?

Lorena said...

"Its creepy.
Its very very creepy.

It screams incest."

Yes, indeed!
Excuse me, I have to throw up now.

Anonymous said...

Harlequin,

Little girl pageants make me puke too. As do preteen t-shirts that say things like "hottie" and "naughty." Just because the US produces the worst doesn't mean we ALL like it. I think it's a pressure cooker of right wing oppression that makes sex balloon out in the most inappropriate ways...

Dave8 said...

Harlequin: "Why is the society that produced the sort of beauty pageants JonBenet Ramsay took part in squirming at this?"

Perhaps, it’s the part of society who did not take part in beauty pageant creation, or parent child wedding vow ceremonies, that is appalled. Just a thought.

Harlequin said...

I'm just pointing out that secular America has nothing much to crow about...

Kisses on the bottom

Grandpa xxx

Anonymous said...

Xtians' sexual obsession has gotten out of hand. Who came up with this madness? They want to control their daughter's vaginas, but their son's penises don't matter? Who do they think these girls would be having sex with? Don't get me wrong, this is some twisted shyt. I just find it interesting that Xtians have found yet another way to subjugate females. It sends a negative message to young women about their own bodies and it's just another method of control.

Kids today don't even think oral sex is actual sex. Were we this stupid?

Zenobia

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but Grandpa, at least we're not celebrating it. Those who are getting away with kisses on the bottom aren't talking. These purity dances are yelling, and with pride. Please excuse me while I, who knoweth of which she speaks, curls up in a ball and dies a little.

Naomi

Anonymous said...

Ok Grandpa, I see what you're getting at.
Personally, I wouldn't ever do a Jean Benet Ramsey to my daughter. But somehow there's just something so direct and icky about the daddy thing.

Naomi

Anonymous said...

Actually the "proof" of virginity in the old testament was the sheet the new husband and wife laid in the night after their wedding. The "best man" would sit outside of the "honeymoon suite" and the next day he would get the sheet and if there was blood on it, that was the "proof" of virginity. not this perverse thing you are trying to associate with the Bible.

D Laurier said...

Lorena said...
"Its creepy.
Its very very creepy.

It screams incest."

Yes, indeed!
Excuse me, I have to throw up now.


I'll hold up your hair while you puke.
And then you can help me patch the holes I punched in the walls.


Does that sound cool?

bbc113 said...

Hi, have never posted here before. I have not been a Xian for some time. After reading the post about the "Father-Daughter Purity Balls" I just had to chime in with my "2 cents worth". The main reason I'm not a "believer" is the patriarchal bull-shit. And the fact that religion and it's premises, just doesn't make sense. Yes,it's another way to subjugate woman. Religion has that down to a fine art. Have to start early brainwashing little girls into thinking: a.) Their bodies don't belong to them. b.) Their bodies are a commodity, to be bought, sold or traded. c.) Her main value as a human being is her sexuality, as it relates to boosting the power and ego of a man. And hey, don't forget to remind her that her gender did cause the downfall of all humanity, but god-daddy forgives her! How righteous of him! Now, you've created the perfect submissive, little woman that doesn't question anything. Yippee, where do I sign up? Really, the "Father-Daughter twat owning ball" doesn't surprise me in the least! As thecapetonian pointed out, male genitalia certainly aren't immune to the influence of twisted religious obsession as evidenced by the continuance of the cruel and barbaric practice of circumcision. I used to be a nurse and I will never forget watching a circumcision. No numbing of the foreskin, no pain meds, not even someone holding the little guy. They are strapped down and assaulted....screaming until they go into shock. Needless to say, when I gave birth to my son, at home, he wasn't circumcised.

Anonymous said...

I am a believer (Christian was a derogatory term the Romans used). This post is in response to bbc113. Here's a fact...just so you know not everyone believes that it was Eve's fault...she was part but Adam was right there the whole time and said nothing. So, with that said, I believe that if Adam had been a man and said/done something things may have turned out differently. Same can be said about David and Bathsheba....If David would have been doing what he was supposed to be doing (it was a time of war and back then the king was to be with his soldiers in war.) he wouldn't have gotten into that mess. And besides that the whole circumcision thing doesn't have to be done....That issue was dealt with in the new testament...Now it might still be Jewish custom but you don't have to do it to be saved. From what I understand The reason you circumcise in the first place is if you don't it can get easily infected...that's all I got to say. I'm anonymous, but you can call me Erik. yes that is my real name.

dano said...

It would be a good idea to go ahead and put electronic monitering bracelettes on these fathers because any father who could do that to his daughter has serious issues.

It's just a question of time before they rationalise doing some other wierd thing with little girls
Dan

alanh said...

anonymous wrote:

...just so you know not everyone believes that it was Eve's fault...she was part but Adam was right there the whole time and said nothing.

Too bad the "omniscient being" who set them up gets a free pass.

Dave8 said...

Anony: "I am a believer (Christian was a derogatory term the Romans used)."

When? Christianity became the state religion of Rome, and anyone who resisted was murdered... So, if you want to give a history lesson, use dates... thanks.

Anony: "This post is in response to bbc113. Here's a fact..."

An irrational believer, using rationalization when it's convenient...

Anony: "just so you know not everyone believes that it was Eve's fault..."

And, not everyone believes it was Adams', and not everyone believes as you do, and not everyone believes as I do... and...

Anony: "she was part but Adam was right there the whole time and said nothing."

Wasn't aware that the serpent was right there in front of Adam and Eve at the same time... obviously, I missed that piece in my Sunday school class... I was under the impression when Eve was tempted, she was alone, and ate the apple, and then went and offered it to Adam... Literally speaking, it wasn't a joint decision... It was 'one' decision, a big screw up, and then Eve tempting Adam...

Anony: "So, with that said, I believe that if Adam had been a man and said/done something things may have turned out differently."

Right, after Eve let sin into the world, by eating the apple, Adam could have resisted the temptation of sin via Eve... But, Adam wasn't able to resist Eve, just as Eve wasn't able to resist the serpent's persuasion...

Anony: "Same can be said about David and Bathsheba....If David would have been doing what he was supposed to be doing (it was a time of war and back then the king was to be with his soldiers in war.) he wouldn't have gotten into that mess."

Again, David like Adam was tempted by a woman... do you see a pattern forming... And, what did David and Adam do, once they were seduced... These are both examples of a woman's ability to seduce a male... The persuasion ability of Eve was so effective Adam disobeyed a God and Paradise (paradise lost)... Bathsheba's seduction or appeal was so great, that David sent her husband off to be killed in combat, and thus David risked his kingdom...

Bottom line, the bible shows examples of women as seducers of men, and men as being the groveling canine's incapable of thinking with their cranium... even if their life and spirituality and the entire race of humanity depended upon it.

By the way, the way you suggest it... if everyone would have been doing exactly what they should have been doing, then none of this would have happened is extremely naive... I suppose if your God was doing what he was supposed to be doing, then hell wouldn't have been created... or, do you believe your God created hell, so he could deliberately fill it with a bunch of horny males? By the way, males are horny, because they are naturally built that way, so was Adam, who made Adam I wonder, per the Christian view...

Anony: "And besides that the whole circumcision thing doesn't have to be done...."

Spoken like a true Non-Jew...

Anony: "That issue was dealt with in the new testament...Now it might still be Jewish custom but you don't have to do it to be saved."

Spoken like a Christian, who denies Jewish custom...

Anony: "From what I understand The reason you circumcise in the first place is if you don't it can get easily infected..."

That is the first thing you have said, that is biblically supported... but it's not the only reason.

Anonymous said...

Too funny. Actually, the genital mutilation thing was one of the very first things that caused me to question xtianity. I thought from that moment on, God was some kind of sexually perverted deity for wanting to cut parts of his children's penis' off. Yuch. Any god/heavenly father that would endorse that kind of perversion is not worthy of mention, let alone worship! I think I would choose to repeatedly punch this whacko god's face in had I met him personally; probably the same thing I'd do to my parents had they done that to me! -Wes.

bbc113 said...

Anony wrote: "just so you know not everyone believes that it was Eve's fault..."


Does that really matter? Just ONE person believing that lie is ONE too many. Tell that to the countless women and girls throughout history that have been raped, beaten, killed, starved and kept uneducated and powerless, at the hands of a man that believed he had a right to do so because he is biologically and spiritually superior. And hey, I've got a little fact of my own for you.....It is still happening....everyday, all over the world! And don't be naive, I'm not. The authors of that insidious little lie knew exactly what they were doing. The intent was clear and profound. Link women with the induction of "sin" on earth, coupled with her second class status (she's not male and not made in god's image, she's made from a rib) and you can strip her of all her power. She then becomes nothing more than property.

And yes, I'm aware that circumcision is not necessary, in fact, there is absolutely no medical basis for it. But again, it happens everyday.....and just like Xions, people don't know why they still do unspeakable things to babies for no good reason. They just believe what someone else has told them they should do and believe, and they don't question. Nor seemingly have the ability to reason to know that something is harmful. I think what most Xions don't fully understand is the far reaching, devastating ramifications that their ridiculous and dangerous religion has on the rest of us. Whether we believe or not.

Steven Bently said...

bbc113 You're exactly right!

That woman that you gave me, she bent over and teased me, so it's now her fault for all the worlds problems.

The bible was written by men, for men, to forgive men, for abusing women, most men still think it is their god given right to sexually molest women and little girls.

bbc113 said...

Steven Bently said...
bbc113 You're exactly right!

That woman that you gave me, she bent over and teased me, so it's now her fault for all the worlds problems.

The bible was written by men, for men, to forgive men, for abusing women, most men still think it is their god given right to sexually molest women and little girls.

Steven, my friend, the reality of man created, god sanctioned, female subordination is something I wish I wasn't right about. I still carry the scars. I think you are right about most men believe it is their god given right to molest woman and girls. It's "natural". I think about that everytime I watch "To Catch a Predator".

Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, the image of God he created him;"
(they had to repeat that twice, just in case you missed it the first time.) ha!
"male and female he created them".

Genesis Chapter 3
THE FALL OF MAN
Verses 12-13, "The woman you put here with me- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it".
(See, it's the gullable woman's fault.)

Now, here's the kicker!
Genesis 3:17 God said to Adam "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, "You must not eat of it,"

Then the loving god goes on to put a curse (magic spell?) on Adam for all eternity!

Now.....if you didn't quite get from that little story the fault of Eve for Adam's(mankind)downfall and subsequent punishment by god, then just look in the footnotes and it's interpreted for you as intended.
3:16 (and I'm reading from the NIV study bible.)

FAMILY,FEMALE SUBORDINATION:
Since Eve had refused to obey god's instructions given through Adam, he was to rule over her.

Women can't think right so men don't listen or include her in decision making because she is biologically and spiritually flawed, and if you do you will suffer because of her!

Pure BULLSHIT!! Total patriarchal propaganda!!

GetaFix said...

Adam had just been created by almighty gawd, so if he didnt want males to have foreskins, then why did he just not leave it off???
But, Gawd being the intrinsically cruel bastard that he is wont miss a chance at seeing his ceation suffer by demanding to have it lopped off!! BiBle = Old middle- eastern mythology meant for the wild semitic tribes of the day and nothing more.