Purity balls set back women’s rights

Feminism is viewed by members of a far-right fundamentalist group as an attack on the authority of men, an expert in medievalism said in a presentation Thursday.

There is a movement on the far-right fringes of society aiming for a return of traditional biblical family roles.

“Biblical patriarchy emerged in response to a perceived crisis,” Amy Kaufman, assistant professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University, said.

People within the movement believe that feminism is an attempt to redefine the roles of men and women and attack the authority of men. Women are expected to be submissive and obedient. Interestingly, there are a number of women who also adhere to these beliefs.

Family dynamics are such that, “sexually maturing boys and sexually mature women are invisible in society,” Kaufman said.

“Daddy’s Little Girl” takes center stage in a bizarre series of rituals and events.

Daughters are treated like princesses, doted upon by their fathers and given expensive gifts. Fathers are kings and knights in shining armor, pledging to protect their daughter’s purity and chastity until a suitable husband can be found.

To that end, across the country, elaborate and extravagant balls are held. Purity Balls are events in which girls, some of them barely able to read, pledge to give their virginity to their father for safe keeping until he can find a suitable husband.

In return for this surrender of power, fathers pledge to guard their daughters from “the enemy.” The enemy in this case is ambiguous, but perhaps refers to protecting the girls from themselves, Kaufman said.

During the ball, a daughter is symbolically married to her father, thus ensuring that she remains her father’s property until she is married. This “marriage” also promotes a father’s natural masculinity.

Arthurian legend says that King Arthur went on a quest to find the Holy Grail. For the men of the biblical patriarchy movement, that coveted vessel is contained in the form of their virginal daughters.

At the purity balls, fathers perform a group covenant that celebrates their own empowerment in exchange for their daughter’s surrender. The girls swear an oath of protection, which is a ritual act of submission to their father’s authority.

These balls, Kaufman said, are a way to turn women into commodities. Fathers use purity balls as a networking tool for finding the proper family for their daughters to marry into.

“Biblical patriarchy neglects the power of the female,” Kaufman said. “In fact, it takes it away.”

The movement believes feminism and the desire for equal rights has “bred false doctrine in the church and seduced many believers,” Kaufman said.

While it is still on the fringes, biblical patriarchy has taken hold across the country and its views on women are seen by some as a giant step backwards in the fight for equal rights for all people.

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4 Comments

  1. I am of sound mind and body. I’m not a troll, or someone trying to start arguments. I do not hate males. I have men in my life and no I do not need to get laid. These are some of the typical comments made to me and a few other women when we challenge men’s desire to control female territory. I’m just frustrated and fed up with this subtle mvement to put men in control of every aspect of a female’s life from puberty on. I often hesitate to write anything man-woman relationships, because there are some women haters (male and female) who believe that a man should control his daughter and his wife, in mind and body. These same people write for male praising and exalting blogs.
    These writers, attack any woman who disagrees with their point of view. When I write on these blogs, I try to uplift women and explain that men should not control any aspect of a women’s lives, especially a pubescent daughter.
    If you will notice, men are trying to take over every female territory, from the delivery room, to the daughter’s wedding, to purity balls, to telling women to breastfeed in front of males, to going topless on the street, to discussing daughter’s private period and bra talk.
    This has become rampant and women allow it. I for one,refuse to give in to this movement and will not sit back and take it like other females.

    • Jean,
      I am also of sound body and mind. I followed, albeit not in agreement but understanding, your comments until the end. Do you have a source that indicates that, as a part of this movement, men are “telling women to breastfeed in front of males”, and “to go topless in the street”. That topless part especially seems a bit counter to the whole idea of purity and chastity. Also, everybody who is a part of a family has a role therein. Is it wrong for a father to take on the role of protector for the duration of both his sons’ and daughters’ stay under the roof he and his wife provide? Or do you only object to the extent this particular movement specifically takes in ceremony? I like some of the ideas behind these ceremonies, but I think that they do go a bit far. If a father intends to protect his daughter, his actions and not a ceremony or pledge should stand sufficient, in his eyes and hers.

  2. @Eli, don’t imitate me. Use your own phrases.Sarcasm is not needed. I have the right to express my opinion and you have the right to give your opinion.
    After a mother has conceived and given birth, no person can diminish her importance in her daughter’s and son’s life. She just as much, and maybe more so, is expected to guide and protect her daughter as well as her son. Fathers do not have exclusive rights in this area. All these man-made doctrines that have women brainwashed. A practice where a man guards his daughter’s virginity is sickening, inappropriate. Why not suggest the mother and father, to go to the purity ball. The man should be spending some time taking his son to a retreat so that the sons can be taught to keep their virginity too, and not pressure girls to do all these sexual acts that boys so desperately want.
    Get my drift??!!

  3. @Eli, don’t imitate me. Use your own phrases. Sarcasm is not needed.
    After a mother has conceived and given birth, no person can diminish her importance in her daughter’s and son’s life. She just as much, and maybe more so, is expected to guide and protect her daughter as well as her son. Fathers do not have exclusive rights in this area. All these man-made doctrines that have women brainwashed. A practice where a man guards his daughter’s virginity is sickening, inappropriate. Why not suggest the mother and father, to go to the purity ball. The man should be spending some time taking his son to a retreat so that the sons can be taught to keep their virginity too, and not pressure girls to do all these sexual acts that boys so desperately want.
    Get my drift??!!

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