Purity Balls as ways of keeping women under control

Great article by Julianne Ross from PolicyMic.com

“‘At this point, you’re married to the Lord, and your father is your boyfriend.’

So says Pastor Ron Johnson to his 12-year-old daughter Caroline, before placing a ring on her left finger. Johnson and his family are the subject of a recent Nightline Prime investigation of Purity Balls, a “full-fledged national phenomenon” that has reportedly spread across 48 states and 17 countries. Despite the thought that first popped into my head, these balls are not some ironic term for Ben Wa sex toys, but rather formal father-daughter dances during which young girls pledge to abstain from all sexual activity until marriage (this includes kissing and dating). They also symbolically entrust their fathers — the “high priest” of the home — with their maidenheads for safekeeping.

The special was filmed back in October 2013, when Nightline reporters headed to the 14th annual “Super Bowl of Purity” (only in America, folks) to document the chaste event. As the cameras rolled, 60 father-daughter couples arrived at the Grand Ballroom of Colorado’s Broadmoor Hotel to “celebrate the beauty of [their] daughters and the glory of their fathers.”

Creeped out yet? You should be. Purity Balls might seem like a quirky, inoffensive ritual of uber-religious middle America, but they’re emblematic of some very messed up attitudes about women and their sexuality that have serious implications beyond these communities.


At the end of her Purity Ball, Caroline Johnson looks ecstatic. “I felt like a princess with my dad,” she says, revealing a mouth full of braces as she grins at the camera. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, to get my purity ring.” Other Purity Ball attendees have expressed similar sentiments, asserting that the event and pledge are a way to encourage invaluable bondingbetween fathers and daughters.

That doesn’t change the fact that sex does not define who you are, whether you’re having a lot of it or none at all. Your daddy does not own your virginity, and neither does your husband. You do. This is just misogyny, dressed in white and foxtrotting around a cross. “

Read the whole article here.

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