Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Purity" Ball

Let me preface this by saying that the concept of fathers and daughters building a strong relationship is, in and of itself, a good thing. But surely I'm not alone in thinking several things about the following are just a little weird (and unhealthy):

Girls will have a unique excuse to put on fancy dresses and prepare for a night of ceremony and dancing in Chandler next weekend at the Valley's first Father Daughter Purity Ball.

The First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale and New Life Pregnancy Centers are sponsoring the Sept. 7 event at the Castle at Ashley Manor. Girls and young women ages 10 and older who attend make commitments to live a pure life before God and set personal standards for themselves.

According to event's Web site, fathers also read covenants over their daughters and promise they will protect the girls' commitments and serve as positive role models of purity and spirituality. Their dedication is symbolized by commitment cards the girls sign during the ceremony and white roses laid at the foot of a cross.

"The dads or mentors commit before God to be a living example of purity," coordinator Mona McDonald said. "The daughters are going to try to do their best to honor their fathers' involvement in their life."

... The first Father Daughter Purity Ball was held in Colorado in 1998 by a Christian group called Generations of Light, according to Ashley Ellingson, development coordinator for the Arizona Baptist Children's Services.

"A woman who worked at ABCS heard about these Purity Balls and thought they were a really neat idea," Ellingson said.

... Mona McDonald said about 75 people had signed up for the Chandler event as of Aug. 28, although previous balls in Tucson have attracted up to 200 attendees. She said she chose the Castle at Ashley Manor because of its romantic ambience.

"For a girl it's kind of fairytale romantic," she said, describing the reception hall's new castle-themed building on Price Road. "I can't wait to see their eyes when they drive up."

Mitch McDonald said he feels the ball has become an annual way for his daughters to spend a special evening with their father.

"What really makes me feel good is that I know my daughters are going to be going to dances for the rest of their lives, but the first time they were dressed in a formal, their dad was the first one to slow dance with them," he said.

"I've been able to tell both of my daughters how precious they are to me," he said. "Those are moments in time that are very important."

Somehow, I don't think most girls want their first romantic experience to be with their dad. And I doubt that a slow dance with dear old pops outside of their wedding is going to rank as a stellar memory.

But even if you get past the creepiness of it, it's still a bunch of bunk. Anybody that's seen The Education of Shelby Knox knows where I'm coming from here. If you want to solve the problems of teen pregnancy and promiscuity, don't strap on the chastity belt, but rather analyze the underlying reasons.

"It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge." -- Voltaire


Laura said...

I remember going to a "Daddy Daughter Sweetheart Dance" when I was like 10, but it wasn't a creepy weird thing like this. I've heard of these before and they're creepy.

And I find it ironic that people criticize Muslim cultures for the patriarchal control over women's sexuality but probably don't see the exact same dynamic at work here.

Women's "purity" has often been the site of political struggles between men. I still just don't understand why....

CyberKitten said...

laura said: Women's "purity" has often been the site of political struggles between men. I still just don't understand why....

It would appear that Men are mortally afraid of female sexuality..... Go figure. I'm as confused as you are by the whole thing.

Laura said...

THe only theory I have heard that makes any historical sense, is that when structures of power switched to patriarchal feudal systems vs. matriarchal agrarian/nomadic systems, the only way for men to ensure that the children they were passing down their property to were, in fact, theirs, was to restrict women's sexual behavior because there was no way to verify who a child's father was unless the woman never had sex with any other man.

shrimplate said...

This pretty much defines "creepy" to me. A lot of grown men with a lot of young girls... rather disconcerting.

It would be completely different if sexual prohibition was not at the core of it, but this isn't just a parents/kids meet-and-greet. It's a freakshow.

Sadie Lou said...

*giggle* Do you watch Arrested Development? If you've never watched this show--go rent it. This dance reminds me of an episode called "MotherBoy" and it involved a dance just like this with sons and their mothers and it was a costume contest--very creepy and weird.
I agree, this article bugs me and makes my lip twinge.

dbackdad said...

I have never seen Arrested Development but have heard from a lot of people how good it is. I'm terrible about coming around to shows 3 or 4 years after they started. But, that's the beauty of DVD.

Sadie Lou said...

Yeah, rent it. It's not on TV anymore so we are all doing cath up. I think it got nixed during it's 3rd season or something--it's right up your alley.