Purity Balls


Originally I viewed a very interesting documentary on this topic, but I could not find it and so this was the next best thing. 

In relevance to the discussion we held in class on Jessica Valenti’s piece, The Cult of Virginity, I thought I would bring a little light to something known as a “purity ball”. The blog post does a pretty good job of describing them, so definitely take a look at it. I personally find these events very troubling and a tad on the abhorrent side. What kind of world do we live in when girls are so judged on their sexuality(or lack thereof), that this kind of function exists? These balls perpetuate the ideal that girls somehow “belong” to their fathers and are property to be given away; they must pledge to be “pure” and “undamaged” for the sake of their fathers, rather than their own personal choice. Most of the girls that attend these balls are certainly not old enough to be making these kinds of decisions, or being coerced into these kinds of decisions, before they even know precisely what sex and sexuality is. I find it most disturbing it’s as if their dads are taking them on some kind of date… the blogger describes it as vaguely incestuous, and I must agree! 

Certainly there are many more problems that are glaringly obvious with these “purity balls”. Forcing it into a young girl’s head that somehow the entirety of her worth hinges on whether she keeps herself “pure” enough for her future husband is bad enough, but I kind of wonder what would happen if one of these girls got older and did have sex before marriage. What would that do to her, emotionally? Would she feel as if she had somehow failed not herself, but her father? A girl’s sexuality is her’s to decide what to do with, yet I feel like these balls are just reinforcing that a girl is somehow something less than the best person she can be if she decides to engage in sexual activities before society deems it okay for her to do so. 

In closing of my post, I just want to say I find the concept of purity (and purity balls) to be so incredibly disconcerting. Is sex really that important? And even though it is okay for people to see sex and saving oneself as an important aspect of their lives, is there not a point in which a line should be drawn? Perhaps the line should be drawn at teaching girls these concepts before they have yet to reach sexual maturity; after all, if they’re not yet old enough to be making other kinds of important decisions on their own, then why should you consider them old enough to make important decisions about their sexuality, when they haven’t even begun to discover it yet? Or rather, should you be forcing a concept that YOU believe to be just and right onto a your little girl before she even knows what it is?

Caelie Furches – 005

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