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Monday, May 19, 2008

Re: Purity Balls Are So 2002

posted by on May 19 at 13:05 PM

The five creepiest things in Sunday’s Times article on “purity balls,” in no particular order:

1) The idea that girls are “waiting for” their fathers in the context of an event that tells girls to wait to have sex. “’Fathers, our daughters are waiting for us,’ Mr. Wilson, 49, told the men. ‘They are desperately waiting for us in a culture that lures them into the murky waters of exploitation. They need to be rescued by you, their dad.”’

2) 23275485.jpg

3) “Each father and his daughter walked under the arch and knelt before the cross. Synthesized hymns played. The fathers sometimes held their daughters and whispered a short prayer, and then the girls each placed a white rose, representing purity, at the foot of the cross. Mr. Lee and Rachel walked away holding hands.” Yep, A WHITE ROSE. Because little girls’ virginity is a delicate flower—and only their daddies can keep the eeevil boys from plucking (heh) all the petals away.

4) 23275631.jpg

5) The conclusion: “The fathers took their flushed and sometimes sleepy girls toward the exit. But one father took his two young daughters for a walk around the hotel’s dark, glassy lake.” Nah, nothing creepy about taking two “flushed, sleepy” young girls for a creepy walk around the creepy, glassy lake. Nothing creepy about that at all.

RSS icon Comments


Well, now everybody in the Springs knows where to go for all the hot, underage action.

Posted by Greg | May 19, 2008 1:19 PM

It's so kinky. I can't wait for the consensual role-playing version.

Oh yeah, this too.

Posted by blank12357 | May 19, 2008 1:21 PM

Didn't Freud write about how father's secretly want to fuck their daughters? (or is it the son wanting to fuck the mothers?) Whatever it was, those pictures SCREAM incest!!

And you know what they say about Incest; it's a game the whole family can enjoy!!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | May 19, 2008 1:24 PM

I don't want it to be creepy, but the pictures, damn creepy!

Posted by Westside forever | May 19, 2008 1:25 PM

"Stephen Clark, 64, came to the ball for the first time with Ashley Avery, 17, who is “promised” to his son, Zane, 16."

Arranged marriage?

Posted by Mac | May 19, 2008 1:27 PM

The picture from Dan's earlier post with the girls in their white dresses circled around the cross totally looks like they're dancing around a maypole. I think this whole ritual has a similar subtext.

Posted by flamingbanjo | May 19, 2008 1:28 PM

Holy christmas, that pic under # 2 is SOFA KING creepy.

Now if you could only get rid of all the dads, you could take this from creepy to hot in two seconds...

Posted by Mike in MO | May 19, 2008 1:41 PM

There's got to be some intentionality on the part of the writer, photographer or editor. Right? I mean that picture in #2 is just screaming to be interpreted in exactly the way we are.

Not that I don't think the event is creepy, but the word choice and way the photographs were taken reinforce that impression. A LOT.

Posted by leek | May 19, 2008 1:45 PM

The author wasn't even very subtle about evoking incest with the writing. Come on. Why "flushed" and not just "tired?" There was enough freaky material with that sort of embellishment.

Posted by Olive | May 19, 2008 2:05 PM

I agree with leek about the writer and editor. The tie-in between the murky waters of exploitationquote by Mr. Wilson and the finale of the father taking his daughter for a walk around the hotel’s dark, glassy lake is literary heaven, pure heaven.

Posted by CommonKnowledge | May 19, 2008 2:09 PM

@3 It's "[...]Pederasto, the game for ALL the family."

Posted by pragmatic | May 19, 2008 2:12 PM

And yes, I do realize that pederasty male to male, but close enough.

Posted by pragmatic | May 19, 2008 2:13 PM

The idea is this: if girls are getting enough love and attention from their fathers, they won't seek out love and attention from other men.

The assumption is that only reason any girl ever wants to lose her virginity is to fill a Daddy-shaped hole in her heart.

'Cause, you know, good Christian girls only have sex for validation, never for enjoyment.

Posted by Hernandez | May 19, 2008 2:14 PM

Creepy? How about this sentence:

If most teenage girls would not be caught dead dancing with their dads, the girls at the ball twirled for hours with their game but stiff fathers.

Posted by Medina | May 19, 2008 2:17 PM

Isn't this what got that guy in Austria into so much trouble recently. All he wanted was to keep his little angel in her very own "purity" dungeon (oh, I mean room), where she could keep all of her children/siblings "pure" as well.

Posted by Sad Comment | May 19, 2008 2:33 PM

Is it just the lighting, or are the dresses in those photos off-white?

Posted by Chris in Tampa | May 19, 2008 2:34 PM

The first two hours of the gala passed like any somewhat awkward night out with parents, the men doing nearly all the talking and the girls struggling to cut their chicken.

oh yeah. Men are mundane and intelligent and women can't even manage knife and fork.

Yet the graying men in the shadow of their glittering daughters were the true focus of the night. To

and again.
those frail, teenaged white roses, won't have sex because they are trained not to decide, do, want anything. they are their men's trophy, nothing else.

Posted by tinydoc | May 19, 2008 2:34 PM

I agree it's creepy, but its not as creepy as a young teenager who hasn't had a strong father figure in her life shacking up with some way older boyfriend who's just using her for sex.

Posted by raindrop | May 19, 2008 2:51 PM
Nah, nothing creepy about taking two “flushed, sleepy” young girls for a creepy walk around the creepy, glassy lake. Nothing creepy about that at all.

I find the whole idea of a "purity ball" intellectually repugnant, but this bit about taking two "flushed, sleepy" young girls for a creepy walk around the creepy lake is bullshit. Because, see, the two young girls are his daughters, you ignorant twat. I know the whole idea of a man having an intimate and caring relationship with girls he doesn't want to fuck is utterly antithetical to your thinking about how men's minds work, but not only is it possible -- it's actually fairly common.

Your attitude says a lot more about your twisted preconceptions than it does about the father or his daughters -- their prior participation in a misogynistic fundamentalist cult ritual notwithstanding.

Posted by Judah | May 19, 2008 3:00 PM

raindrop, is your assertion that this sort of event prevents that sort of outcome? If so, would you also then agree with the corollary: If teenage girls do not participate in an event such as this, they are more likely to end up shacking up with some way older boyfriend who's just using her for sex?

Posted by Chris in Tampa | May 19, 2008 3:04 PM

@6 Maypoles and May Day celebrations are fertility celebrations and encourage liaisons, not discourage them. I don't understand how they could have a similar subtext if this event is designed to avert sex.

Posted by inkweary | May 19, 2008 3:04 PM

"Stephen Clark, 64, came to the ball for the first time with Ashley Avery, 17, who is “promised” to his son, Zane, 16. "


Posted by laterite | May 19, 2008 3:18 PM

@19 is right. The purity balls are weird, religious nuttery to be sure, but painting men who are close to their daughters as pedophiles or potential daughter-rapists is complete bullshit and absurdly sexist. Is it only religious men who are automatically suspected of wanting to fuck their daughters? What about moms and their "momma's boys"?

Again, the purity balls are creepy for lots of reasons, but just because you (we) don't care for religious people and don't agree with their lifestyle doesn't make them fucking child rapists.

Posted by Blah | May 19, 2008 3:28 PM

Here's the extent of my dad's "purity ball" speech, c. 1978: "Jeezisgoddamnchrist, don't go out there and get pregnant or you'll be eating dog food off the back porch." It worked.

Posted by We're not from here | May 19, 2008 3:31 PM

Maybe if the fathers hadn't waited until their daughters were at prime virginity-losin' age to get involved with their lives, they wouldn't have to be so worried about it now.

And EWWWW. Being escorted to the ball by your boyfriend's dad? Creepy McCreepersons.

Posted by Jessica | May 19, 2008 3:43 PM

@ 19, 23 - exactly.

Posted by UnoriginalAndrew | May 19, 2008 3:55 PM

Inkweary: You're right. I just meant that the phallic and fertility symbolism seems pretty familiar, and this rite seems to be trying to subvert them into a uniquely American Evangelical take on the whole sexual-rite-of-passage angle. The goal seems to be to celebrate the girls' budding sexuality while simultaneously placing strict controls on it. It seems to be highly focused on maintaining the daughters' market value as marriageable virgins.

Posted by flamingbanjo | May 19, 2008 4:03 PM

"Creepy and incestuous" is the best diversion you can come up with to avoid the possibility that the father's are sincere and are doing this because they really care about their daughters?

Posted by Mr. Joshua | May 19, 2008 4:14 PM

I feel nauseated.

Posted by elswinger | May 19, 2008 4:14 PM

Encouraging fathers to spend time with and be involved in their daughters life=good

Encouraging fathers to view their daughters sexuality as a commodity they must guard=bad.

I thought, absent the purity ball context, that the father taking his daughters for a walk around the lake was sweet. Those are the kind of memories that kids often cherish.

Posted by Giffy | May 19, 2008 4:45 PM

Has all the fixin's of a reality show. Can't wait!

Posted by David K. | May 19, 2008 4:46 PM

"Asked for her opinion on widespread rumors that Barack Obama betrothed his two underage daughters to the gay Muslim atheist property developer Rev. Rezko-Wright at a recent purity ball in San Francisco, Senator Clinton said the allegations were, 'untrue. Probably. This sort of thing certainly does go on among unpatriotic fancy-talking elitists. Who eat a lot of watermelon. But that's neither here nor there.'"

Posted by banjoboy | May 19, 2008 4:49 PM

For anyone who has read "Lolita" as often as I have, the "flushed, tired " girls and the "glass" lake have very specific connotations which I can't believe the writer of the story didn't know.

Posted by Nora | May 19, 2008 4:50 PM

I'm sorry, 100% of these dads are either child molesters or want to be child molesters. It's just that simple. As for the girls - all I can say is, good luck making it to adulthood without serious emotional scars.

Posted by bobbo | May 19, 2008 5:00 PM

The girl in the first picture almost has the pose down right. She just needs to open her mouth wider.

Posted by Fnarf | May 19, 2008 5:53 PM

it's creepy, but its not as creepy as a young teenager who hasn't had a strong father figure in her life shacking up with some way older boyfriend who's just using her for sex

It's not?

Also, @ 23: being involved in your kids' lives and attending a father-teenage daughter dance centered around, ahem, viginity are two very different things.

Posted by Mike in MO | May 19, 2008 6:59 PM
being involved in your kids' lives and attending a father-teenage daughter dance centered around, ahem, viginity are two very different things.

Really? How so?

Be really specific.

Posted by Judah | May 19, 2008 7:11 PM

You didn't seal the deal, comedically speakin', about filling holes. But I won't finish the job, lest Laurelgardner get the vapors.

Some of these gals will turn out okay. Yeah yeah, some will be uptight, but I'm sure some latte-sipping Volvo-driving parents at the Unitarian Church are finding some other way to tighten similar mental screws in their kids' noggins.

These gals just might hold off a little longer. Or do all SORTS of things except the ol' in-out. Or they might grow up to feel very NAUGHTY about the fun they're having, which might be a benefit.

I can only imagine. I grew up with no religion, one Scandinavianish parent, and just didn't receive a whole bunch of "NAUGHTY!" instruction in those years. I was pretty much left alone, and to this day, I suspect Madonna is having more fun. She feels NAUGHTY, breaking x,y, and z rules.

Okay, it's 11 pm, time for me to grab some baby oil and go fuck my plastic grocery bag collection.

Posted by CP | May 19, 2008 8:02 PM

banjoyboy, that is priceless.

Posted by ellarosa | May 19, 2008 8:17 PM

Wanting to spend time with your daughter and be active in her life is an admirable goal. Being an active participant in this bullshit sexist event is not a very good way to achieve that goal. The messages it sends are not exactly healthy, positive ones. I'm all for kids waiting until they're a bit older to have sex, but the whole dads guarding their purity thing is ridiculous.

Posted by Julie | May 19, 2008 9:12 PM

Oh, come on. This is nothing more than a stupid beat-you-over-the-head-with-Christianity version of what used to be commonplace and, yes, innocent event: A Father/Daughter breakfast or lunch - dreary, chaste, but mostly secular events that might at the most have had a short address from an elderly pastor.

Most of the fathers and daughters at this thing probably felt pretty awkward about this shit, but they go along, because their church expects them to.

And it's constantly reinforced in lowbrow movies and TV shows as well: The former "playboy" daddy who feels the need to be a pitbull to his little girl's boyfriends is a stock character. Same old crap, just with rented tuxes and formals from Sears.

Sometimes a banana is just a banana.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | May 19, 2008 9:22 PM

Because every Christian dad who wants his daughter to be a virgin is an INCESTUAL CHILD MOLESTER! The pictures and adjectives PROVE it.

Every child deserves a god-fearing mother and father.

This should be a regular feature! It's awesome the way Erica DEMOLISHES Christianity, man.

Posted by Bob | May 19, 2008 9:59 PM

Well there should be some sort of happy medium here. My late dad, who was a very religious man - but not an asshole about it - certainly loved my sister, and wanted what was best for her. But he would never have attended something called a "purity ball" (for one thing, he couldn't have kept a straight face while mentioning that name), nor would my sister dream of attending something like that, had they existed then.

At best, some sort of father/daughter dinner-dance, with a bar so he could get a martini, would be much more his speed. Something that didn't cost much, and ended early enough so he could get home to watch Johnny Carson.

But beyond that, both he and my mom knew enough about life to know that it's not a good idea to try to get a kid to "pledge" to anything. It's much better to know your kid, and what he/she is thinking, and what scares and thrills them about how their body is changing. Going through puberty is tough enough without constant harping about the evils of sex.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | May 19, 2008 10:21 PM

One thing that nobody has yet mentioned is the pernicious subtext: that sex is evil and dirty.

The girls are "pure" because they haven't had sex. Sex, therefore, is bad, evil, horrible, dangerous, etc.; and the girls will be fucked up about it because sex is also the strongest human need, bar the desire to live or eat.

It's not just creepy, it's sick.

Posted by Hairhead | May 20, 2008 7:42 AM

is it wrong to encourage your kids to put off sexual activity (with others) for as long as possible? no.

is this more than a bit neurotic and ritualistic about it? yes.

Posted by ellarosa | May 20, 2008 9:02 AM

Agreed with ellarosa. (& Where are the boy balls, anyway?)

Posted by lori | May 20, 2008 9:26 AM

This whole thing is about just raising your daughters to respect themselves?
No need to go to sex related balls. Geez

Posted by Chaz | May 20, 2008 11:00 AM

The boy balls are held in dark places, but the location is constantly changing. Especially when it's our turn at bat.

Posted by CP | May 20, 2008 4:12 PM

Look, yes, the whole father protecting his little girls virginity thing is creepy. Dress up and go to a ball with Daddy? That is just cute. I think it is sweet that the one father went for a walk with his daughters afterwards.

I am pretty sure if this was a father-daughter ball for a less creepy cause no one here would be trashing the cute father daughter moments. We don't need to imply that all zealous religious people are incestuous freaks.

Posted by Allie | May 20, 2008 10:35 PM

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