Purity balls, in which a girl pledges to remain ‘pure’ until her wedding day, symbolically ‘marries’ God, and promises her father that she will remain a virgin until she’s a wife, have become a phenomenon in America, now taking place in 48 out of the 50 states.
Setting aside the creepiness of a daughter symbolically giving her virginity to her father, the problem here is the deeply embedded sexism of this practice.
I am entirely in favor of maintaining celibacy until marriage. But this ritual serves to undercut this goal. It establishes a model in which the female is seen as unable to control her own sexuality, and thus is in need of a male to step in.
Second, it paradoxically, simultaneously re-enforces our culture’s perverse tendency to locate the responsibility to abstain from sex exclusively with the female. (I.e. In our culture females who have sex with multiple people are sluts, while males who have sex with multiple people are studs).
In other words, if we really want to address the problems in our culture, we ought to change our emphasis. We ought to be demanding that males have “purity balls.”