Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Integrity Balls, where Oedipus Rex meets Fundamentalist Christians

Chastity Balls are all over the news these days. People are abuzz with both pro and con commentary on these ceremonies designed to emulate a wedding ceremony, so a Father can pledge to keep his daughter a virgin while she pledges to keep her legs locked at the knees.

I'll admit my post about Purity Balls was a bit disorganized, largely because I was left somewhat speechless by the perverse nature of the balls. Not only were women being treated as property to be safeguarded by their father, but this was being done in a manner that might as well be a case study for the Electra complex.

I'm a bit more level relaxed now, as I've seen that in it's own way, sexual equality has peeked into Fundamentalist Christian households and introduced the Integrity Ball.

"The sons get to take their mothers out for an evening of fine dining and fun, while reinforcing that young men should remain abstinent until marriage. The evening was coat and tie minimum, so it wasn't slouchy at all, but was very classy."
-- Dakota Voice Blog

You'll notice right off the bat a big difference between Purity Balls and Integrity Balls. In all the "Pro Ball" write ups I've seen, the Father was the one who took his Daughter to the ball. Here, the Son is taking his Mother out.

Why isn't the Mother taking the Son out to the ball?

The Blog cbeinternational goes into more detail about the difference between the two balls, but I'll summarize it as follows:

The Mothers never make a pledge. The boys however pledge to remain "pure". The Dakota Voice article on Integrity Balls explains the logic boys are supposed to use:
“So you’re dating someone else’s future wife,” he told them. He also told them that someone else may be dating their future wife.

Notice the difference? If you've done any reading about Purity Balls, you'll notice how it was all about protecting the virtue of the Daughter. Integrity balls however are all about not messing with someone else's future wife.

Despite the effort to create a comparable "ceremony" the sexual bias is only strengthened by Integrity Balls. The women are property. Women aren't supposed to have sex because they're their Father's Property and then their Husband's Property. men aren't supposed to have extramarital sex because in doing so they would be messing with someone else's property.

All of these efforts to preserve a child's virginity ignore a simple fact:

Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, a study of 12,000 adolescents suggests.

No comments: