Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In Which I Am Perturbed

The latest thing in the abstinence-only movement:

Dancing the Night Away, With a Higher Purpose

Father-daughter "purity balls." Contents include praying, a ceremony involving white roses, and tactics that have been shown to have only limited effectiveness at actually protecting teenagers.

Aside from everything they mention in the article -- that abstinence pledges are ineffective against STDs because the kids are less likely to use condoms, etc. -- something remained unmentioned, only vaguely hinted at here:
For the Wilsons and the growing number of people who have come to their balls, premarital sex is seen as inevitably destructive, especially to girls, who they say suffer more because they are more emotional than boys. Fathers, they say, play a crucial role in helping them stay pure [emphasis mine].
Hm. Sounds like these girls are suffering from hysteria, or one of the other feminine complaints, perhaps. Haven't we moved past this nonsense yet?

Also disturbing: "Stephen Clark, 64, came to the ball for the first time with Ashley Avery, 17, who is “promised” to his son, Zane, 16." She's promised to him? At 17? Seriously? I can barely believe this is done in our country, never mind with kids so young. More than anything else in the article, that really threw me for a loop.

The other thing that bothers me about all this is the conspicuous absence of two other important groups: mothers and sons. Where are the boys who need to learn to respect women from a positive female role model? Where are the mothers to encourage all of their children to make good choices? Why can't the fathers be role models for the boys too? It's just so infuriating that the onus is all on the daughters and the responsibility is all given to the fathers. As though sons had no responsibility for daughters' "purity", as though mothers had no role in teaching their children how to live their lives.

I should really stick to posting about animal behavior. Human behavior can be so infuriating.


Josh Tauberer said...

I guess I don't really see the problem with the ball itself- if they want to waste their time, let them waste their time.

Also, there was a segment on this on a taking-head show once and a guy was asked- what about they boys? His response was that they do different things for the boys. But I can't remember what that was now.

Faye said...

My problem isn't really with the ball -- of course, this is a free country, people can do as they please, I'm not going to stop them. My problem is with the abstinence-only movement in principle, and with the way they are infiltrating schools and spreading misinformation. I also get annoyed at the implications that somehow all of this is the girls' responsibility. < cliche > It takes two to tango, right? < /cliche >

Anonymous said...

i have heard of this, and i find it downright creepy.

Anonymous said...

right, and that above comment there was me, Elena.
Maybe I need to start a blog.