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Time Magazine discovers Purity Balls


The American Virgin has been very distracted lately, primarily by convoluted overseas real estate transactions, but also interviewing Turks about their own take on the V-Word (video of that to come)

In the meantime, I'll let the fabulous Jessica Valenti have a go at a story Time did recently on Purity Balls:

I nearly lost my mind when I read this gushing piece from Time Magazine about purity balls.

What was amazing to me about the reporting of this article was despite hearing all of these creepy anecdotes - and admitting that girls as young as four are participating in a ceremony about their virginity - writer Nancy Gibbs still managed to be smitten over the whole shebang. (One of the subheads actually reads 'A Delicate Dance')

But first...a creepy anecdote.

Kylie Miraldi has come from California to celebrate her 18th birthday tonight. She'll be going to San Jose State on a volleyball scholarship next year. Her father, who looks a little like Superman, is on the dance floor with one of her sisters; he turns out to be Dean Miraldi, a former offensive lineman with the Philadelphia Eagles. When Kylie was 13, her parents took her on a hike in Lake Tahoe, Calif. "We discussed what it means to be a teenager in today's world," she says. They gave her a charm for her bracelet--a lock in the shape of a heart. Her father has the key. "On my wedding day, he'll give it to my husband," she explains. "It's a symbol of my father giving up the covering of my heart, protecting me, since it means my husband is now the protector. He becomes like the shield to my heart, to love me as I'm supposed to be loved."

Paging Dr. Freud! But Gibbs is loving it.

Leave aside for a moment the critics who recoil at the symbols, the patriarchy, the very use of the term purity, with its shadow of stains and stigma. Whatever guests came looking for, they are likely to come away with something unexpected. The goal seems less about making judgments than about making memories.

And making sure young women think their worth is dependent on whether or not they're sexual. So, no Ms. Gibbs, I think I won't "leave aside" that very real and very dangerous message. Thanks anyway!

The rest of Jessica's post (and at least 110 comments) is here. Here's one of the more interesting ones:

Since it hasn't been mentioned, I'll just briefly point out that the whole thing is not only creepy but also yet another instance of compulsory heterosexuality (queer kids and parents need not apply). And, I feel very sorry for girls who never marry since they remain daddy's property for life.