Your father is your boyfriend? Ewwwwww. A new conservative religious ritual, the Purity Ball, is currently observed in 48 out of the 50 states. During this disturbing event, fathers present their daughters with a gold ring to symbolize the girls’ purity and pledge to remain virgins. The group’s interpretation of sexual abstinence holds that girls cannot go on dates, kiss boys or even hold hands until their wedding day. During the ball, girls carry crosses into the wedding-like ceremony where their fathers present them with “purity rings”. One of those fathers named Ron tells his daughter during the ceremony:
‘This is just a reminder that keeping yourself pure is important. So you keep this on your finger and from this point you are married to the Lord, and your father is your boyfriend.”
The girls are locked in a tower of virginity. Their fathers, as protectors of that virginity, hold the only key. Then at the occasion of marriage, fathers pass that key to the newlywed husbands. David Magnusson, Swedish photographer, has authored a book, “Purity.” He writes:
“A Purity Ball is a formal event where girls or young women and their fathers participate in a ceremony. The daughters dress up in ball gowns and the evening usually consists of dinner, a keynote speech, ballroom dancing, and a vow by fathers and daughters. The girls make a pledge to ‘remain pure and live pure lives before God,’ to stay sexually abstinent until marriage. Their fathers sign a commitment undertaking to protect their daughter’s purity.” The father or mentor pledges “…to shield and protect his daughter; to live a pure life himself as a man, husband and father; and to be a man of integrity and responsibility, acting as a role model for his family.”
Here are some of the images:
It is evident that any move to share physical intimacy is this conservative group’s equivalent of infidelity. As a result, this religious group places girls in the position of feeling dirty and tainted. The ABC show, Nightline Prime, investigated Purity Balls. The full investigative documentary is available here. In her 2010 book “The Purity Myth,” the feminist writer Jessica Valenti, founder of the blog feministing.com, writes:
“The message is clear and direct: It’s up to men to control young women’s sexuality.”
David Magnusson’s book, Purity, is published by Bokforlaget Max Ström and available for pre-order on Amazon.