Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 231 of 365: Purity Balls

First, I'm going to address the elephant in the room: how a show about Purity Balls can go a full hour and not make a testicle reference is beyond me. I mean, c'mon man, it's RIGHT THERE: and the adjective is "purity" for fark's sake! Purity Balls! The jokes just write themselves sometimes!

Now that I got that out of the way, I'm now going to address the super creepy, mildly-pedophilic elephant in the room: how anyone can look at those Purity Balls and not get the heeby-jeebies is beyond me. For those playing the home game, Purity Balls are when little girls promise to not have sex until they are married. This promise can also include no kissing or touching of any kind. They go to the ball with their daddies and dress in white and wear rings on their wedding finger. Meanwhile Oedipus and Electra bartend and man the cash registers.

Things like Purity Balls and Purity Rings and Abstinence Pledges never sit well with me. Yes, force a young kid -- long before their hormones kick in -- to swear to their parents, God, the world, etc, that they'll never have any type of sex until they get married. Really drive that point home that that most basic natural desire (aside from food, shelter, sleep, and a place to poop) is disgusting and wrong unless within the confines of some pretty specific parameters. And hey, why not, because preaching abstinence is a sure-fire way to prevent teen pregnancies. No, no, wait. The other one.

But Purity Balls bother me the most. Aside from the fact that there are few things as skin-crawl-inducing as watching a grown man tell his 8-year-old daughter, "I'm your boyfriend until you are married," Purity Balls are really only a stone's throw away from a very popular mindset with dads. Who doesn't know a dad who has casually mentioned locking his daughter in an ivory tower, or buying a shotgun to scare away the boys. Hell, maybe you (the reader) are that very dad.

And I get it. I really do. That's your little girl. That's your baby (literally). That's the little toddler who played with dolls and ate crayons. It's hard to come to terms with the idea that she'll eventually grow up and have boyfriends (or girlfriends) and *gasp* have sex. And, hey, we're not that far removed from our Puritan roots. Even though (almost) everyone does it -- even though every single living creature on this planet does it in some form -- we're quick to be ashamed of it. That's a dirty, dirty, nasty act that only dirty, dirty, nasty people do.

But here's the thing: unless you're daughter is asexual or gunning for nunhood, it's going to happen. It won't even be her choice. That's the beauty of biology. Puberty happens and good game that formerly-innocent mind. Yes, we always want to protect those we see as innocent, but hormones spare nobody. So that means there are only two routes you can go down: you can go down the Purity Ball route in some nature, be it as intense as putting a ring on your daughter's finger and saying, "I'm your boyfriend!" or as simple as threatening to beat up any boy that even looks at your daughter. You can load up the shotgun and swear that what you are doing is protecting your daughter.

Or, you can go down the more reasonable route. You can focus on the more important matters, like teaching her to be assertive and stick up for herself. Showing her through your own interactions with women that she deserves respect and understanding. Telling her to never do anything she feels uncomfortable doing, and to never let another man (or woman) make her feel like less of a human being because of who she is or what she wants. Reminding her that how she feels is always valid, even if it doesn't always make sense. Educating her on the fact that the things she's going to want to do at some point come with a boatload of risks, and, yes, even she is susceptible to the consequences of not being smart and safe about it.

I know, crazy idea: raise a girl with her own brand of arsenal so she can protect herself instead of locking her up like a fragile beast, which will only make her even more unprepared for the real world.

Because that's the thing: you can't protect your kids forever. Eventually they're interacting with the rest of the world. Eventually they'll be doing all the stupid shit you did when you were their age. There's no way to stop it, but there is a way to help them be smart about it.

But if you're dead-set on high-fiving Electra as she mans the DJ station, you can come to one of my planned Purity Balls. I'll be having two of them, one right next to the other. But be forewarned: the event halls I'm renting out are not the same size, so one of the balls will be bigger than the other.

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