Wednesday, April 19, 2006

LESLEE UNRUH IS A VIRULENT "PRO-LIFE" ACTIVIST in South Dakota who is making a name for herself by, among other things, organizing what she calls Father-Daughter Purity Balls in which little girls as young as seven pledge to their fathers (who are, in effect, their "dates" for the balls) that they will abstain from sex until marriage.

Here is a picture of a father-daughter couple at one of these balls:

Digby writes:

I can understand why the little girls would want to do this. It's a chance to dress up and spend time with their father. If it were for another purpose, it might be sweet. But this is what that little girl is reading to her father from that card:

I pledge to remain sexually pure...until the day I give myself as a wedding gift to my husband. ... I know that God requires this of me.. that he loves me. and that he will reward me for my faithfulness.

And this is what Daddy says in turn:

I, (daughter's name)'s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and as the high priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come.

Is this what passes for healthy, responsible parenting in South Dakota? A father escorting his glammed-up second-grade daughter to a ball, like she was a prom date, and having her recite to him a pledge that she will "remain sexually pure until the day she gives herself as a wedding gift" to her husband? She's a wedding gift? Do they register her at the local department store? And why are these fathers putting phrases like "sexually pure" into the mouths of their little girls? How does a seven-year-old even know what concepts like "sexual" and "sexually pure" mean?

Are you feeling sick yet? PZ Myers is:

I can't do it anymore. I can't possibly keep up with the competition, who are willing to sink to sick, perverse depths to which the real porn kings and queens willingly immerse themselves. And they're so close to me -- just a few miles to the west, across that state line.

I'm talking about South Dakota.

They're sick puppies over there. I'm feeling a little tense sitting this close to them; maybe we should put up a razorwire fence or something.
... Daddies of the world, keep your hands off your daughter's sexuality, OK? Raise them to be independent and thoughtful and informed and able to make their own decisions, and then just trust them.

In an earlier post, Digby described the scene (he has seen it on video apparently, but I don't have a link):

You have to see it to believe it. They are all dressed up like prom goers, the dads in tuxes and the daughters in evening gowns looking all grown up. They dance, they laugh, they giggle. And then father and daughter stand up, holding each others hands, staring into each others' eyes and the girls make these vows as if in a wedding ceremony.

As I watch it occurs to me that this is why they don't have an exception for rape and incest. It's one of the creepiest things I've ever seen.

You will notice that there's no "mother-son" ceremony in which boys pledge to their mothers to stay pure until they give themselves as a gift to their wives. There is a Victorian impulse at work here that has nothing to do with fetuses. This is about women being autonomous, independent, sexual humans.

One of Digby's readers provides an insightful explanation for that:

I wondered in the earlier post about the lack of mother-son purity pledges. Commenter Llamajockey hits the nail on the head with this:

The truth is is that in most Red-State/Fundy households the Dad is just as obsessed if not more so with the possiblity of his young son being gay as with his daughter's virginity. Therefore teenage males feel an acute pressure beyond their already out of control hormones to prove their heterosexuality. That is why athletic over anything resembling academic or intellectual, acheivement is so highly prized. It improves the young man's standing in the eyes of the young females and reassures Dad his son can not be gay. However, with it comes a double edge, for the young man is now supposed to act the role of stud.

Virgin girls and studly boys. Can we all see the problem with this?

Of course. If every girl abstained from having sex until marriage, then how would boys sow their wild oats, thereby proving their virile heterosexuality? It's no wonder that only girls, never sons, are asked to promise that they will remain virginal until marriage: Right-wing fundies would never want to block off the best avenue their sons have to prove they are not homosexual.

In fact, I'll bet that if one of those girls who pledged, looking deep into daddy's eyes, to keep her "sexual purity" until marriage, happened to have a brother who got his girlfriend pregnant, daddy would sigh and say, "Well, boys will be boys, and at least we know he's not a fag."

No comments: