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Mar 26 2014

I’m sure this isn’t creepy at all

Maybe it’s just me, but are Purity Balls getting even squickier?

During the ceremony, the fathers present their daughters with purity rings, and the duo become boyfriend and girlfriend

No no no no no no no. Please no. A father’s relationship with his daughter should be completely different than the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Blech.

And really, I hope that the sentence below is just an example of awkward and highly infelicitous structure…but it’s the kind of thing a competent editor should have caught immediately and not allowed to go on to publication.

Having sex with, kissing or touching a man (other than their fathers) before marriage is strictly prohibited.

It cites the Daily Mail. I’m just going to assume that level of illiteracy must be contagious.

68 comments

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  1. 1
    Jacob Schmidt

    During the ceremony, the fathers present their daughters with purity rings, and the duo become boyfriend and girlfriend

    I…. what? What the bloody fuck? How could anyone think that’s appropriate?

  2. 2
    cycleninja

    Just when I thought it wasn’t possible for the fanatics to creep me out any worse…

  3. 3
    garydargan

    Having sex with, kissing or touching a man (other than their fathers) before marriage is strictly prohibited.

    Maybe the illiteracy is a result of incest producing ignorant offspring?

  4. 4
    Al Dente

    My daughter is pleasant to talk to, intellectually stimulating and reasonably attractive but I’d never consider dating her.

  5. 5
    kittehserf

    Don’t bet on it just being illiteracy. Look at this photo (warning, it’s grotesque: father and very young daughter kissing). “Daddy is your boyfriend with boyfriend privileges” seems to be exactly what this is about.

  6. 6
    iknklast

    When I was a girl, we had father-daughter banquets in Girl Scouts. The fathers were stiff and formal; the girls were shy or giggly. No one (NO ONE) considered it a date. It was a night for fathers to be fathers, not boyfriends. We were all glad when it was over, because it was embarrassing. It was supposed to help fathers get to spend a few minutes with their daughters (at a time when most fathers left the kids to the mother).

    This…these balls…are just grotesque. The obsession with virginity is unhealthy.

  7. 7
    carlie

    “Daddy is your boyfriend with boyfriend privileges” seems to be exactly what this is about.

    No, it really isn’t, and mischaracterizing it that way lets them ignore any criticisms as being completely uninformed.

    It’s about power and control. It’s about the man of the house deciding exactly how every girl in the family will act, and about her being his possession that gets handed blameless and without blemish or experience to the worthiest male candidate. It’s about the notion of “protector” meaning “total dictator”. It’s creepy enough without making insinuations about incest.

  8. 8
    carlie

    The notion of “dad is your boyfriend” is supposed to mean that there’s only room for one man in your life at a time, so if dad is in your life you don’t have the ability to have a boyfriend separate from that. They cling very closely to the idea that any relationship problems you have in life stem from a bad relationship with your parents, so dad is supposed to set this super high standard for any future boyfriend/husband to meet in terms of putting you on a pedestal and telling you what to do and whatnot. It’s training, but not in a sexual sense. It’s training to be a proper submissive woman who doesn’t have her own opinions.

  9. 9
    moarscienceplz

    Further evidence that xtianity is failing. When a system begins to break down, there is an impulse to double down on tradition and to become more insular.

  10. 10
    kittehserf

    Carlie, I’m well aware that they’re about totally controlling women, and owning us, but the wording is way too revealing, and from what I’ve read there’s a hell of a lot of abuse in these families.

  11. 11
    David Chapman

    One of the warped ideas hidden away in Christianity is the cryptically incestuous relationship between God the Father and the Virgin Mary. It seems to be floating close to the surface here…..

  12. 12
    raven

    “Daddy is your boyfriend with boyfriend privileges” seems to be exactly what this is about.

    No, it really isn’t, and mischaracterizing it that way lets them ignore any criticisms as being completely uninformed.

    What Carlie said might be true. I wouldn’t know, there aren’t that many fundies out here and even fewer that are as weird as the Purity Ball children as breeding stock types.

    But it is true that fundie cults have high rates of intrafamily child sex abuse. It’s the second highest predictor after alcohol and drug use by the father. It’s a hazard of patriarchial ownership beliefs.

  13. 13
    Cinzia La Strega

    I’m sure most of the families that participate in these (to us, bizarre) rituals would be horrified that outsiders see an incestuous element here. However, when the father (patriarch) views “his women” as his property — as extensions of himself — it has to make it easier to justify crossing such boundaries.

  14. 14
    raven

    From “Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches”, by Carolyn Holderread Heggen, Herald Press, Scotdale, PA, 1993 p. 73:

    “A disturbing fact continues to surface in sex abuse research. The first best predictor of abuse is alcohol or drug addiction in the father.

    But the second best predictor is conservative religiosity, accompanied by parental belief in traditional male-female roles.

    This means that if you want to know which children are most likely to be sexually abused by their father, the second most significant clue is *whether or not the parents belong to a conservative religious group with traditional role beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes*. (Brown and Bohn, 1989; Finkelhor, 1986; Fortune, 1983; Goldstein et al, 1973; Van
    Leeuwen, 1990). (emphasis in original)

    There are the facts. Read it yourself.

    Fundieland always looks like a dysfunctional place with high rates of any social problem you care to name.

  15. 15
    tsig

    Why don’t they have these for the boys with their mother becoming their girlfriend?

    Maybe they could use a cock ring.

  16. 16
    SallyStrange

    In the TV promotional spot for the 20/20 segment on Purity Balls (which I didn’t watch), the quote blurb they used featured a young girl of 13 or so saying, “I don’t need a boyfriend because that’s already filled by my father.”

    They can deny that it’s about incest but that is clearly what it’s about, at least in part. This is the sort of thing that would raise red flags for sexual abuse if it were coming from an individual instead of a group.

  17. 17
    HappyNat

    Ownership works hand in hand with abuse, sexual or otherwise. The powerful can just take what they want.

    Related(?), I hate when people call my daughter a “daddy’s girl”. I’ve taken to stating bluntly “No.” and moving on, when I mean “Yes I get along great with my daughter and she loves me, but that’s because she is 6 and I’m not an asshole. Stop squicking me out with that shit.”

  18. 18
    raven

    religionnewservice:

    Evangelical Sex Abuse Record ‘Worse’ Than Catholic, Says Billy Graham’s Grandson Boz Tchividijian Religion News Service | By Sarah Pulliam Bailey Posted: 10/01/2013 10:11 am EDT | Updated: 10/02/2013 11:48 am EDT

    AUSTIN, Texas (RNS) The Christian mission field is a “magnet” for sexual abusers, Boz Tchividjian, a Liberty University law professor who investigates abuse said Thursday (Sept. 26) to a room of journalists.

    While comparing evangelicals to Catholics on abuse response, ”I think we are worse,” he said at the Religion Newswriters Association conference, saying too many evangelicals had “sacrificed the souls” of young victims.

    “Protestants can be very arrogant when pointing to Catholics,” said Tchividjian, a grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), which has investigated sex abuse allegations. etc.

    There isn’t any data in this article. But it is from an insider, Billy Graham’s grandson.

    Getting this sort of data isn’t easy for obvious reasons. People don’t like to talk about it or even think about it.

  19. 19
    anuran

    Ewww. Yuck. No. Just so no in so many ways no.

    A very Christian friend is here reading this with me. He has a four year-old daughter. He used some very un-Christian language to describe just how disgusted he was.

  20. 20
    greg hilliard

    If they were attending Schweddy Balls, that would be OK.

  21. 21
    barbarienne

    They indicate that girls aren’t supposed to have any sexual contact with anyone until they get married, and since the dads are “boyfriends” not “husbands,” I think it’s reasonable to infer that they don’t expect or specifically condone incest.

    Alas, the track record of fundies’ failures to live up to their supposed standards is abysmal.

    This creeps me the hell out. You know how you make a girl picky about who she dates? Be so good a dad that any prospective beaus have a high bar to clear. And by “good dad” I mean “respect your daughter and encourage her to be herself and think for herself.”

    My insta-breakup event was always “the second he says something belittling or tries to decide something for you.” It was an easy line to see even when I was very young, because my dad (who was THE BEST) didn’t do that crap to my mom, and he taught his two daughters not to put up with it from anyone.

  22. 22
    Rey Fox

    Ick ick ick ick ick ick ICK.

  23. 23
    robro

    So icky that I can’t help but hope that it’s just stupidly banal cuteness colliding with pathetically bad grammar. The second one is so close to “Eats, shoots and leaves” that you might suspect someone did it deliberately…which would actually be even ickier.

  24. 24
    narciblog

    I find this intensely creepy and difficult to understand, but I think it’s an oversimplification to say this is basically incestuous. Samantha at Defeating The Dragons came out of this culture and has several recent posts on purity balls and purity culture. From this post:

    Kobola says lol wut? and then writes an article about it mocking the entire idea. Predictably, the evangelical response is along the lines of “it’s not like that! You’re twisting it into something it’s not! You just don’t understand what we’re trying to do!“

    And, I think the evangelicals in this case are probably right. Kobola probably doesn’t understand what it is he’s seeing in the slightest. So it makes it difficult for people like me– people who actually do understand – to talk about purity culture. Because I know better than to mock it…

    Purity culture needs to be exposed for everything that it is, everything it teaches, and everything that it does to the women and men growing up in it. I understand the you have GOT to be kidding me reaction, but this is not something that can be so easily dismissed.

    It’s not a joke. It’s an ideology that destroys lives.

  25. 25
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    carlie

    It’s training, but not in a sexual sense. It’s training to be a proper submissive woman who doesn’t have her own opinions.

    It’s going to take a hell of a lot more than denials on their part that that’s what they mean to cause me to not take this disgusting shit at face value, given the noted propensity for sexual abuse in these groups. If they don’t want people to draw these vile conclusions, they should stop fucking saying and doing such unspeakably creepy things.

  26. 26
    whheydt

    Well… When my (now in her late 30s) daughter was a teenager, apparently having a male come to meet me scared several of them off (to her annoyance). I certainly don’t (and didn’t) think I looked like or did anything frightening to someone dating my daughter…

  27. 27
    Onamission5

    Libby Anne calls it emotional incest. All the creepily skewed, inappropriate, and unhealthy attachment you might suspect is there, but not necessarily containing a sexual component.

    She’s got a whole series on this carefully cultivated dynamic that begins here.

  28. 28
    Azuma Hazuki

    Gross, gross, gross. Even if the incest overtones aren’t intentional this whole thing is creepy as hell, especially with how bad the fundagelicals are about sexual abuse.

  29. 29
    kittehserf

    HappyNat @17:

    Related(?), I hate when people call my daughter a “daddy’s girl”. I’ve taken to stating bluntly “No.” and moving on, when I mean “Yes I get along great with my daughter and she loves me, but that’s because she is 6 and I’m not an asshole. Stop squicking me out with that shit.”

    Urgh, yes, I loathe that phrase too. Creepy implications all round, even if unintentionally.

  30. 30
    =8)-DX

    I don’t think there’s anything specifically sexual here, but it seems entirely innapropriate to me: textbook bad parenting. A parent’s duty is to avoid children confusing their relationships with their parents with the type of their future romantic relationships. However wonderful a future partner is, they don’t become “family” after a kiss and a hug, and a healthy adolescence is not about exchanging dependence on a parent for dependence on a partner, but rather the transition from a dependent position, to one of independence and equality.
    [Go comic book emphasis!]

  31. 31
    Athywren

    You know, I’m sure that it’s not the explicit intention of these things to support or promote incest – after all, that’s lower on the slippery slope than gay marriage, next to marrying animals, so they’re probably not overtly in favour of it – but…

    Having sex with, kissing or touching a man (other than their fathers) before marriage is strictly prohibited.

    I can easily see that being taken as, if not permission, a loophole for those who would seek such things. If they’re going to impose such rigid and disturbing familial roles, the least they could do is be explicit about what is and is not allowed, like so:

    “Having sex before marriage is strictly prohibited. Not even kissing or touching a man (other than their fathers) is allowed until she marries.”

    That still allows for a wide range of nightmares under the guise of “only touching” and “just kissing,” but at least nobody could claim that it implies that a father is permitted to have sex with his daughter.
    Anyway, I have to go gouge my eyes out now. Thanks for that, PZ.

  32. 32
    Kevin Anthoney

    I know this is squicky enough already, but how does this work if there’s more than one daughter? Does Dad enter a polygamous relationship with all of them?

  33. 33
    azhael

    Ew…ew…..eeeeew….i think it´s my hair, take it out!
    Slightly off-topic. I had heard about these things on passing before but my first encounter with it was a scene in the american version series Shameless. Being the kind of series that it is, they exploited a bit the incestuous angle and instead of pressenting an average young woman´s sexuality, the character Karen shared her slightly over the top sexuality. The point, though, is that despite it being a caricature for a series that exploited it for a combination of shock and comedy, the message was christal clear. It´s all about controlling the young women and about hammering in the message that they are only valuable, worthy or deserving of love if they are “pure” and obedient….otherwise they are whores. For what is worth, the series succeeded in exposing that point explicitely.

  34. 34
    azhael

    Argh….that should be “it´s in my hair” and “crystal clear” (christal? seriously brain?).

  35. 35
    Brian O

    Come to Papa…………………………

  36. 36
    Moggie

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy:

    It’s going to take a hell of a lot more than denials on their part that that’s what they mean to cause me to not take this disgusting shit at face value, given the noted propensity for sexual abuse in these groups. If they don’t want people to draw these vile conclusions, they should stop fucking saying and doing such unspeakably creepy things.

    People who sexually abuse children tend not to advertise it so openly, though, surely?

  37. 37
    sonofrojblake

    People who sexually abuse children tend not to advertise it so openly, though, surely?

    Two words: Jimmy Savile.

    When the people doing the abusing believe themselves to be invulnerable, then hell yeah, they’ll advertise it. They’ll BOAST about it.

  38. 38
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    They may not think it’s incestous, they may not mean it to be incestous and in most cases there may never be any action that people would consider problematic, but there sure as hell is a merging of roles and nobody can tell me that this somehow magically does not affect the physical part. Any innocent interaction suddenly gets overtones.
    My kids are still small and at the moment we’re working on boundaries and appropriate behaviour, the fact that things which are appropriate for mum and dad to do with each other are not appropriate for a parent and a child. If the roles are unclear the rules necessarily follow.

  39. 39
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    *shiver* The phrasing certainly leaves a lot to be desired.

    @kittehserf #5

    I think you’re sensationalising. There’s no doubt that incest happens in fundie circles, as raven says the incidence there actually appears to be higher than average, but to claim that purity balls are a way of somehow formalising an incestuous relationship is ludicrous. If you read the article you linked to, you’ll see that the whole “you’re father is your boyfriend” thing comes from the way one father explained the concept of the purity pledge to his daughter. It’s not the goal of the ceremony; as ever, the goal is to oppress female sexuality.

    That said, from your link:

    We at Progressive Populist are still waiting to see a story about purity ceremonies for young men.

    Yeah. me too.

  40. 40
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Onamission5 #27

    Libby Anne calls it emotional incest. All the creepily skewed, inappropriate, and unhealthy attachment you might suspect is there, but not necessarily containing a sexual component.

    That is a very good way of putting it.

  41. 41
    tuibguy

    I work with a woman who wears a purity ring. She is in her late 20′s. She recently got engaged and wears her engagement ring on the same finger.

    Being at work, I don’t think it would be an appropriate conversation to ask about her relationship with her father, of course.

    She is a strong-willed, educated and opinionated woman (with some conservative Christian beliefs that drive me crazy, of course,) and so I find it hard to reconcile her personality with someone that would see herself subservient to a man whether her father or her fiance.

    The grammar in that “except for her father” is atrocious and misleading, but this whole idea of purity balls is creepy and certainly does not reflect the idea of a healthy father-daughter relationship to me. Certainly nothing like the sort of relationships that I have with either of my daughters.

    Also, as a sidenote: I hate the “rules for dating my daughter” meme. That’s just repressive patriarchal bullshit.

  42. 42
    Raging Bee

    …I hope that the sentence below is just an example of awkward and highly infelicitous structure…

    It’s an example of awkward and highly infelicitous thinking.

    In the words of the far more well-adjusted “daddy’s girl” on NCIS, “EWWWW!”

  43. 43
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    There is a form of Purity Ball for boys. At The Christian Center , there is a page called The Journey. Here is the text on the page:

    The Christian Center is pleased to host The Journey, a father/son event that will encourage men in the areas of faith, integrity, responsibility, purity, and leadership. The evening will challenge them to hold high moral values in the midst of a culture that destroys such values.

    Our children are given the freedom by God to make choices in their lives each day. These choices become more difficult as our young men face the influences of our world and the negative impact they have.

    While parents cannot control every situation involving their children, they are commanded to exert strong positive influence over them. They are responsible for shaping their children’s wills and directing them in God’s ways so they will know the truth and be equipped to make wise choices Father and Son Climbing Wall throughout their lives.

    It is our hope that The Journey will be a positive influence that will equip young men to take the best course of action for their lives. Please join us as we celebrate The Journey.

    The Journey is an evening of sports & games, music, food & entertainment. Ages 12 to 100+

    My bolding.

    I wonder, though. How does ‘shaping wills’ create leadership in the boys? How does being told exactly what to do, in every moment, teach them to make decisions?

  44. 44
    nich

    Is the male version of this the Purified Balls Ritual?

  45. 45
    Snoof

    I wonder, though. How does ‘shaping wills’ create leadership in the boys? How does being told exactly what to do, in every moment, teach them to make decisions?

    It teaches them what kind of decisions they should make once it’s their turn to make decisions.

    In other words, not to actually think about what they’re doing, but to reflexively mimic the previous generation. Isn’t that the most important thing? Best of all, they’ll do the same thing to the generation after them, and so on!

    (Blech.)

  46. 46
    carlie

    How does ‘shaping wills’ create leadership in the boys? How does being told exactly what to do, in every moment, teach them to make decisions?

    Silly Ogvorbis! It teaches them to make the right decisions. The ones they’re told to make.

  47. 47
    anuran

    @42 Ogvorbis

    I wonder, though. How does ‘shaping wills’ create leadership in the boys? How does being told exactly what to do, in every moment, teach them to make decisions?

    You need to remember a couple things
    1) To these people there is only one decision that matters, becoming a born-again Evangelical Protestant.
    2) The only important thing you can do for your children is getting them to make that decision
    3) American Christians are very big on “leadership”. Everyone is supposed to be a “leader”. Youth activities are always “Christian Leadership Training”.
    4) If you’re “leading” people in the right direction Fundie style you don’t have to listen to them or their satanic ideas
    5) It’s all about Right Wing Authoritarian Subordinates playing at being Right Wing Authoritarian Dominants.

  48. 48
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Sorry. I should have noted my questions as rhetorical. My bad.

  49. 49
    opposablethumbs

    And of course the boys are also taught/led/whatever only by their fathers. Mothers are just the brood mare, floor-cleaner and sandwich-maker (bet if a kid turns out “wrong” it’s her fault, though, despite her having no authority of any kind in the home and kids being actively taught not to respect her opinions but only their father’s).

  50. 50
    Inaji

    Kittehserf:

    “Daddy is your boyfriend with boyfriend privileges” seems to be exactly what this is about.

    No, it isn’t. It’s about ownership, a notion which goes way back. The ancient Greeks and Romans practiced this – a daughter was owned by her father, her father chose who she was to marry, and had the power to divorce them, if he felt there was a more advantageous match to made. (Advantageous to Father, of course.)

    This sort of thing is about keeping a daughter in her proper place, with dad making all the decisions, until it’s time to hand over the keys to daughter to a suitable and approved man, where daughter can continue to be properly owned.

  51. 51
    Inaji

    Moggie:

    People who sexually abuse children tend not to advertise it so openly, though, surely?

    Absolutely.

  52. 52
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    It is our hope that The Journey will be a positive influence that will equip young men to take the best course of action for their lives. Please join us as we celebrate The Journey.

    Wow, looks like Neal Schon’s gotten extra-creepy!

    /ba-dum-tisss

  53. 53
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Ogvorbis #42

    I note that boys are not expected to “marry” God, wear an outward sign of their “purity”, nor submit to an exhaustive list of bahavioural restrictions.

    A thought occurrs to me; if all these young women are married to God*, doesn’t that make God a polygamist? It certainly doesn’t sound like “One Man, One Woman” to me.

    *And Nuns, arent they traditionally considered to be “married to Christ” or somesuch bullshit?

  54. 54
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Thumper:

    I note that boys are not expected to “marry” God, wear an outward sign of their “purity”, nor submit to an exhaustive list of bahavioural restrictions.

    When I was in middle and high school in western Maryland, I knew quite a few girls who got pregnant very young (the youngest was 12). Every time it was her fault — she didn’t remain pure, she didn’t protect her most valuable gift that was supposed to go to her husband, she failed god/Jesus/whatever — never the fault of the man or the boy. The twelve-year-old girl was raped by her forty-year-old uncle and told me that she had to have the baby because that way she would always remember her sin – her sin was, apparently, seducing her uncle.

    Boys will be boys excuses one partner. Blame the victim, shame the slut takes care of the other.

    And Nuns, arent they traditionally considered to be “married to Christ” or somesuch bullshit?

    Well, yeah, but to a properly indocrinated evangelical, Catholics are not Christians (unless they are making an argument that most Americans are Christians, therefore Christians get to do anything they want, any time, any place).

  55. 55
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    er, ‘indocrinated’ should be ‘indoctrinated.’ All Hail Tpyos and all that siht.

  56. 56
    azhael

    A thought occurrs to me; if all these young women are married to God*, doesn’t that make God a polygamist? It certainly doesn’t sound like “One Man, One Woman” to me.

    If catholicism teaches us anything, and it doesn´t, is that god is both one and three at the same time, so he can be an individual husband to his individual wife while still fulfilling that role for thousands of individual wives. Either that or consistency and coherence are of the devil or something…

  57. 57
    ajeffri

    It is declaring ownership, just like in the old days. Back then, a woman was the property of her father until she married and became the property of her husband. This is why it was so bad to be a widow…you were garbage! You belonged to nobody.

    The Christians will say that they just don’t believe that any more. If so, they are not following their holy book!

  58. 58
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    ajeffri:

    Back then, a woman was the property of her father until she married and became the property of her husband.

    My very first girlfriend was extremely religious. Her parents were RC, she had been born again in an independent Baptist church (one of the ones that left the SBC after the SBC apologized for supporting slavery back in the 1970s). The first time I took her on a date, just the two of us, her father (ex-New Hampshire State Trooper, very frightening) took me aside and told me, “When you go to the store, you are very gentle with the produce. You don’t handle the melons. You don’t put your hands on the peaches. Why? You haven’t paid for them. They’re not yours yet. My daughter is not yours yet. Understand?”

  59. 59
    anuran

    @57 Ogvorbis

    “When you go to the store, you are very gentle with the produce. You don’t handle the melons. You don’t put your hands on the peaches. Why? You haven’t paid for them. They’re not yours yet. My daughter is not yours yet. Understand?”

    Don’t lick them.
    Don’t eat them.
    Don’t bruise them.
    Don’t cut them.
    But feel free to look at them, pick them up, touch them, tap them and gently handle them all you want.

    Got it!

  60. 60
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I remember when I first heard about this phenomenon years back, I talked about it with my father over lunch (we’ve always talked politics). I thanked him for raising me to be an actual human being, with my own human dignity and worth beyond what use others have for me. His response was that the world is entirely fucked up for that to be a thing that needs remarking on. He’s right.

  61. 61
    John Horstman

    I repudiate the claims that these balls do not include a creepy, expressly sexual component. In this article, the author quotes the founder of the movement from the Nightline interview he did:

    Wilson is not a minister, but he is very concerned with young women’s sexuality. As the father of five daughters, he started the balls in an effort to control what he deems a tumultuous transition from “girlhood to womanhood.”

    “What I hear from these young ladies is that there’s this need for that physical touch, and from a male being,” he tells Nightline. “I believe that’s what the father’s role is.”

    Seriously, do y’all care to explain how “this need for that physical touch, and from a male being” isn’t entirely sexual in this context?

  62. 62
    Monsanto

    Not creepy? It sounds like after she gets her purity ring, she can touch his purity balls.

  63. 63
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Touch isn’t always sexual. Touch is entirely context dependent.

    Today at work I spent rather a long time rubbing a woman’s genitals.

    It was not sexual in the slightest – she was a patient and I was applying barrier cream to a rash.

    I also spent a fair amount of time today holding people’s hands. Not sexual. Therapeutic (in a less-obvious way than “applying medicated ointment” is), to be sure.

    I am accustomed, on occasion, to hug and kiss people. Including blood relatives – even, yes, my father.

    This is not sexual.

    Humans, as a rule, are touch-happy. We like “good touch.” We find it reassuring, comforting, and pleasant.

    Sometimes this good touch is sexual in nature.

    We tend, in general, to be able to delineate between sexual good touch and nonsexual good touch.

    Babies and children need to be held and cuddled – one of the things that has been identified as why many children in Romanian orphanages in the 1970s grew up to have such devastating psychological, mental and – indeed – physical problems is a lack of being cuddled. The children were well-fed, warmly clothed, and kept away from toxins. But they were deprived of good touch.

    Emotionally incestuous this purity ball crap is, absolutely. Physically incestuous it may be on occasion. But this is not about the fathers getting literal sexual pleasure from their daughters – this is about them having control.

  64. 64
    tbp1

    Couldn’t they please, please call them “purity dances” or “purity parties,” even? Anything but “purity balls.”

    It didn’t help that the name of the church referenced was “Living Stones.”

  65. 65
    kittehserf

    There’s no doubt that incest happens in fundie circles, as raven says the incidence there actually appears to be higher than average, but to claim that purity balls are a way of somehow formalising an incestuous relationship is ludicrous.

    Apologies, Thumper, I obviously didn’t express myself well if that’s what you read in my comment. I didn’t mean the balls are like some sort of father-daughter wedding ceremony, but that the incestuous element is so strong in this whole business of father as lord and master and “boyfriend”. I certainly don’t think it’s sensationalising to see how easily it slides over, especially given the stats raven and others have quoted about how prevalent this sort of abuse is.

  66. 66
    Inaji

    John Horstman:

    Seriously, do y’all care to explain how “this need for that physical touch, and from a male being” isn’t entirely sexual in this context?

    No, it isn’t entirely sexual. In most cases, I expect it isn’t sexual at all. Children often crave a physical connection, and many fathers tend to abruptly curtail such contact once a daughter reaches a certain age. There’s less hugging, less kissing, less contact altogether. When a child doesn’t receive the contact they desire from a parent, it’s hardly unheard of that they will look somewhere else for it.

    In this case though, it’s about maintaining a strict control over a daughter. A lot of these folks don’t even approve of hand-holding prior to marriage.

    I was raped by a family member as a child, for six years. Most of the time, as it was pointed out by Moggie, those who do this are very circumspect, and tend not to do anything at all which might point to incest. Of course, there are those that are exceptions, but they aren’t the rule. When it comes to purity balls and daughter remaining pure until she’s handed over to another suitable male is grooming – grooming to be subservient and obedient.

  67. 67
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Not only are people who commit incest circumspect, they often make a point of projecting a squeaky-clean image.

    After all, it is a lot easier to pass off the kid reporting something as “just crazy stories” if you know that her father is a standup community man who rescues puppies and shits rainbows.

  68. 68
    methuseus

    @tuibguy #41:

    Also, as a sidenote: I hate the “rules for dating my daughter” meme.
    That’s just repressive patriarchal bullshit.

    How about this: Rules for dating my children are that you treat them decently and listen when he/she says yes or no.
    Oh, and have them home on time, or else at least call so I don’t worry. I think that’s fair.

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