The Virgin Valuation

You like that title? I went all “Big Bang Theory” on that shit. They should hire me as their title writer. I’d be awesome. Moving on…

I saw an article recently, announcing that the 2012 Purity Ball was in the works and couldn’t wait to reserve a spot for my husband and daughter! She will be wearing a beautiful ball gown and we will adorn her hair with pretty flowers and her father will dress in a tuxedo and they will go and dance together until the ceremony begins. Then my daughter will look her daddy in the eyes and pledge her virginity to him until marriage and then her father will vow to defend and protect her virginity to the death or until she is married. I know some people think it is a bit strange but, don’t worry, we are going to go to an attorney, after the verbal agreement, to get documented legal ownership of her hymen, of course.  We aren’t idiots! Since she is just a girl, she can’t be trusted with making choices for herself, now or in the future. As a father it is his job to ensure that her future husband gets first dibs on our little girl. Until then, her daddy is going to be hyper vigilant to keep her hymen intact!

Okay, seriously, am I the only one that finds the purity ball scenario beyond fucking weird? Girls, starting in preschool, being dressed up for a date with their daddies, where they will vow to remain “pure” until marriage and their daddies will assume the role of gatekeeper of his daughter’s vagina. First of all, I take issue with “pure” being a euphemism for virginity. Pure is defined as “free from contamination”, “clean”, “untainted”. A girl’s value is not inside her vagina, precariously contained only by the hymen, like a tupperware lid.

If you teach your daughter that her virginity is a “gift” for a future husband, you are inadvertently teaching your daughter to objectify herself.  I, for one, don’t want my daughter to think  that the most relevant contribution that she can make to her future husband lies between her legs. I also don’t want my daughter to think of sex as something that will render her “tainted”, “impure” or “damaged goods”. In that same vein, I don’t want my sons to objectify girls or view them as conquests. I don’t want any of my children qualifying the worth of themselves or others on the basis of a sexual history. I’m going to try the road less traveled and try to instill confidence and self worth in my children and teach them to respect themselves and their bodies. I don’t want my sons having indiscriminate sex any more than my daughter. You just don’t see me organizing a party that would culminate in my sons pledging his penis and sperm to me until he meets a girl I decide can have a run at him.

On a related note, have you seen this shirt:As a mother to three sons, I just don’t find this train of thought all that amusing. I know it is tongue in cheek but I also know that a lot of parents still do think it is funny and/or necessary to do things like hold or clean a gun when meeting their daughter’s date. The threat is clear, whether through subtle or direct means that, “if you touch my little girl, I’m coming for you.” I’ll just say, if a parent of one of my sons’ future dates were to make threats of violence or brandish a gun to imply a threat for no other reason than he was picking her up for a date, there would be a problem. If your daughter were to come to my home to go out with my son and I pulled out a gun and told her to keep her hands off of my precious little boy, what would you think?

73 thoughts on “The Virgin Valuation

  1. Pingback: Purity Balls — The Good Men Project

  2. Pingback: Finals, Confessionals, and Why I’m Not Perfect | notlateone

  3. Pingback: Purity Balls | No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

  4. The one point I’d disagree on is your use of the word “inadvertently”. If you’re teaching your daughter such attitudes clearly you do view her as an object and you’re just passing that belief on to the next generation as parents do. It’s about as inadvertent as raising children to follow your religion or instilling them with your values.

    • Inadvertently is defined as “unintentional”. I don’t think that most parents are intentionally conditioning their daughters to view themselves as objects. I think, by and large. it is an unintended consequence.

  5. One of the websites for these DID advertise a “warrior ceremony” for sons where they give him a sword. So while girls are expected to give their fathers their vaginas and not complain the boys are being GIVEN SWORDS and told that they need to be “MASCULINE”?! I didn’t see too much description of what was involved in this “masculine” but we can safely assume that, since he’s holding a deadly weapon, he’s not being made to pledge ownership of his penis to either of his parents – heck, he’s probably calling the shots and learning how to tell his poor, abused mother how to make a better sandwich.

  6. My father always liked to tell my friends (mostly boys) before I hit puberty his own variant of the threat (his just involved blunt force trauma though, which is relatively sane – apparently a man he knew who owned a cattle ranch actually brandished a pair of castration clippers whenever his daughter brought a boy home).

    We had daddy/daughter dances in my day (and mother/son ones) but I don’t remember ever being made to pledge my girl bits to my father in some kind of mock-wedding with him (my father has never spoken to me about any part of my anatomy and I prefer it that way). I probably would have called Social Services if he had ever brought up the property rights to my crotch.

    Frankly, I feel that the best policy is to be honest with my daughter (we’re not even going to lie about things like Santa) and present her with enough information to not be an idiot without her needing to go through some weird cultist marriage to her own dad. Frankly, I think the whole abstinence pledge is a joke (as do the girls making it apparently, if studies are to be believed) and that the only thing gained here is the awkwardness of men explaining the vow of gonads and ring (they don’t call it a “Purity Wedding” for nothing) without sounding like they intend to molest their daughters.

  7. I couldn’t agree more – the whole purity thing is so weird & I think the idea that you have to make that promise to your dad is beyond creepy. At the end of the day, losing your virginity should be special and be with someone you love and trust – but often that doesn’t happen, the most important job of a parent is to keep your child safe, make sure they know the faces, and make sure they’re emotionally equipped to deal with growing up. No child should feel like they’ve “let down daddy” because they shagged someone – as a parent you should be there for your kid to pick up the pieces and make sure their heart doesn’t get broken in the process!!

  8. What next? Burning the witches who dared to have unmarried sex on the stake? Instead of the snoozy fathers who didn’t guard them properly?

    I used to date a guy who I should have dumped right after he failed the all-important question: What would you do if your 13-year old daughter came to you and asked you to go to the doctor to get the pill for her because she wants to sleep with her boyfriend of, say, 2 years? His answer? I’d lock her up. In all seriousness! Needless to say, my husband now is much more progressive and thinks that he will be able to trust his daughter whom he will have raised to be an independently thinking, responsible human being. And that he will be glad she came to him to ask rather than have sex behind his back with unwanted results.

    Crikey, it’s amazing how little people THINK when it comes to raising their children. Just because something has been done forever doesn’t mean it is right!

    Love your approach and adore this post! As always.

  9. I must say OP and every commentator here, you truly have spoken to the depths of my heart – all this talk of incestuous possessiveness, the need for respect for everyone and ourselves, the ridiculousness of abstinence-only education – it makes me know that I’m not insane.
    But seriously, I honestly just wish the hymen wasn’t even a thing – there’s so much hype placed on it. Personally, I don’t think sex counts as sex until you’ve enjoyed – everything else before that is just an awkward training phase that I for one just leave to the back of my mind.

    • Michelle, thank you for acknowledging my views on the incestuous undertones of this thing. No one else responded to my post, and I was starting to think I had blundered into “TMI” land, lol.

      I agree that the emphasis on the hymen is nonsense, along with the value placed on a painful, unpleasant wedding night. Another thought I would like to add…instead of the “virginity” nonsense, which I never bought into, I really wish my mother had told me that experiencing my very first orgasm would be so much better, if saved for someone special. I think I might have listened to that advice. The boy I was with for that occasion was, overall, such an inconsiderate jerkface.

  10. I think the whole purity ball thing is ridiculous but I certainly wouldn’t want my daughter or son having sex before marriage. That is a promise we make to god as part of our faith. If that’s not for you then that’s great but it is they way we roll.
    That being said, I wouldn’t disown my kid or anything if they didn’t wait, I’d just bit a bit disappointed I suppose.
    I do believe that your virginity is a gift. It should not be given to just anyone. I also agree with you that we should not make our kids feel ashamed of their body and that sex is dirty. I certainly don’t think it is. They should feel comfortable with their own body and know that it is theirs and no one else’s. They should value themselves and hopefully have the self esteem to say no to any less than worthy person wanting them.
    But yeah, purity balls… not my thing…

    • Hi mummak ~ Although our beliefs about virginity are nearly polar opposites, I wanted to reach out to you to say I very much appreciated your post for your compassionate, respectful views on the topic. For one thing, you do not hold a sexist, double standard, and for another, you emphasize self-respect, and the humanity of your children, rather than speak of daughters as property that can be “spoiled.”

    • The “no sex before marriage” thing doesn’t make sense to me. What happens if they get married at 18, then he dies in a plane crash when they’re 25? Then she’s not married anymore, but she’s still young enough to want to try again. But she’s had sex. Therefore she’s violated your faith.

      How about just teach them how their bodies work and advise them to not have babies in any situation where the kid’s not going to know his or her own grandparents on both sides. I think that would rule out most of the insanity that people get up to now.

  11. Well done as usual (but FB didn’t tell me you’d written something awesome so I missed out :( )!!!!

    I’ve never understood the idea behind making sex something dirty. When my first boyfriend and I were dating our parents sat us down and gave us talks. His dad’s stands out in my mind. At the table, finishing a late dinner.His dad walks in with his hands behind his back. Next thing we know there is a box of condoms on the table in front of us and his dad is beet red. “If you use them, we will replace them. If you don’t used them, we’ll kill you both.” and off he went. We never once touched the box, but we ALWAYS used protection. My parents went similar… if we were stupid we were both at fault and both going to be in a shittonne of trouble.

    And that “you are both responsible” will be what I teach my children.

    And I’m Taking a Nap, when you find that belt, let me know? My 6 year old step son is way too into girls right now, and is only getting worse. Just this week he explained to his mom that girls like having their boobies rubbed and kissed….. she still hasn’t figured out exactly where that came from.

  12. Ugh, well I’ll admit to being less than progressive about this sort of situation with my sister. In fairness she was 16 and the guy was almost 21 and she bought into the whole “oh he just wants to be friends because we have so much in common” line of crap. Aaaand in fairness threatening to crush a dudes skull with a brick if he knocks up your teenage sister isn’t exactly handling conflict appropriately.

    But i WAS right and he DID knock up one of her friends after she turned him down.

    • Monkey, there is a world of difference between acting like you own your sister’s body, and acting to protect her future, from some opportunistic predator. Whether a girl or woman chooses termination, adoption, or to raise a child, the effects of an unwanted pregnancy are profound, and last a lifetime. If all you did was threaten that dude, and you did not belittle your sister, I would say you done good!

      • Having a kid is just having a kid. The only two things that make it a disaster when a teenager has a kid are (1) if she’s been so coddled that she’s not mature enough to take care of the child and (2) if her extended family falls down on the job and refuses to acknowledge the child or to help her raise it.

        And frankly? ANY parent of ANY age needs help. It is not like we all live on our own little islands. Raising kids is HARD. NO one should be left to do it alone. Not even if there’s a married couple involved that are the parents. And no one should have to give up a third of their salary just to get childrearing help. That’s insane.

        So… Yeah. We need to chill about the teen pregnancy thing. WE make it the big problem that it is. In my experience, teenagers love babies and I can’t think of a better candidate for a mom or a dad, if only their families have got their backs.

        They are certainly not meant to be tapped as an infinite source of babies for the baby-adoption market. I hate that that’s legal in the U.S.; it makes me sick.

        Abortion is fine with me too, just as long as she’s not being guilt-tripped into it with a “this baby will ruin your life” song-and-dance. Babies don’t ruin lives. Bad attitudes and bad behavior ruin lives. Having a baby is neither.

        There are people in their fifties and older getting their MDs. There is plenty of time to make a future happen. Only half of us are men who may expect to have wives someday to raise our kids for us for free. We need to start structuring this society around the fact that women need to earn a living too–and the women are raising the kids, and we’ve got to account for that, not ignore it and pretend it is not happening. That big obstacle right there is what’s got so many women scared to be mothers.

  13. First time poster. I always want to cry when I read your posts – not because you’re funny (which you are), but because you appear to be my long-lost Siamese twin sister separated from birth. Seriously. I would vote for you for President of the Universe.

  14. Once again, excellent post. Thank you for saying what so many of us are thinking.

    Just a note about the respondents who ask you to change your verbiage for them… I think that takes a lot of gall. It’s quite obnoxious, really, whether it is intended as such or not. I’m glad that you choose to write as you see fit. Words are tools, and you need specific tools for each job!

    Keep up the good work. Which you will, with or without my cheerleading!

  15. Brilliant. Just brilliant. My grandmother told me when I was a teenager, “The only thing you need to remember is to keep your legs closed and your mind open. Go to college, become successful, and then you can do whatever the hell you want with your poo-nanny” (I don’t know if that is how she would have spelled it, but that is what the word sounded like when she said it… poo-nanny!)

  16. You’re so fucking right. If my dad had tried to take me to a purity ball and had given me a faux wedding ring….euwww. I can’t even imagine it. I’d have found the first willing penis–aren’t they all?– and stuck it in my vagina.

    I made sure my kids had all the information they could possible have about sexuality–including that they were responsible for their own and I was always available to talk about anything. Anything. Both of them are adults now and have thanked me for being, as my daughter put it, “a sex-positive parent.” I take that as high praise. And we do talk openly about sex and sexuality.

    When daddy has control of both the hymen and the shotgun, the only message the kids can possible get is that something dirty is going on down their between their legs. What a sad lesson to send.

  17. Those purity balls are freaking disturbing. Reason #3,872 why I’m glad to live in NYC. If we ever had one, it would be attended exclusively by drag queens.

    And that t-shirt is stupid, too. It amazes me how seemingly intelligent adults ignore the fact that their kids are independent human beings who deserve healthy sex lives.

  18. You make a great point! It’s terrible that society teaches girls that they have spoiled themselves by having sex before they are married! Sure we should teach them to respect themselves and not just have sex with any loser that comes along, but just because you’ve had sex it doesn’t make you less of a person! Besides I can’t think of a worse way to spend your wedding night then having sex for the first time! That shit is kinda painful!

    • I don’t know if I agree with that. As a dude just teaching me to respect myself worked out pretty well. Didn’t have to be a part of any kind of sexual curriculum.

      In fact, I don’t think any time was put into teaching me who it was and wasn’t okay to sleep with at all. I feel like I could fuck a woman with no job, no future, subpar looks and an annoying personality and still not have it be something that reflects on how much I respect myself. I’d like it if my sister had that too. It’d be cool if we could manage to just not tie her sense of self worth into her choice in sexual partners at all.

  19. Hey I agree with you, although I only wish you would slow your use of cursing in your opinions as I do all the time. I’ll write something and then substitute more aesthetic words for the more offensive words. I’m asking you to please use self censorship for the sake of your argument. Not that I am particularly offended by words I use abundantly when I am mad. But I like to quote other people, and I usually won’t quote when there are curses. I’ll keep my gun on the shelf when your son comes to pick up my daughter but he’ll know I have one for sure. I’ll first get to know your son before he’s dating my kid. As should you get to know my kid too! I think we should make a BBQ with all the parents before they can even date! So LET’S BBQ!!!!!

  20. I thought this was a joke at first, but this is real? People have Purity Balls to prevent their daughters from being de-flowered? Wow. Uh, ok. I guess I understand why some people treat sex as something sacred and saved for marriage when it comes to religious reasons. However, you’re right when you say that a woman is objectifying herself by “giving a man a gift.” Sex is something that’s shared, it’s not a barter system like most people treat it.

  21. This is some sick shit. It is dripping with incestuous possessiveness.

    Of course, I have a bias. Although I wasn’t actually raped by my father, his drunken behavior was beyond inappropriate, and to say “boundaries were violated” would be an understatement. When males paid attention to my growing teenage body, his “protectiveness” consisted of getting angry, not with them, but with me. The jealousy was palpable.

    This thing about a girl pledging her body to her father – ick! just ick. I feel physically ill thinking about it. As to the way this society is headed – hell, why don’t we just import us some Taliban clerics, and have done with it? Cripes.

    • Yeah, I kept seeing images of reverse Oedipus the whole time I was reading about this stuff (both here and in the research which followed). No good can come of this and plenty of calls to Child Protective Services. I can hear them talking to their case worker now…
      “Yeah, my dad just took me to a sham wedding and says he owns my vag now.”

      Imagine that one of these girls inevitably gets knocked up (by the boy she’s seeing behind dad’s back) after pledging her gonads to her father. Oh the horror.

  22. FUCK yeah! I have always taken issue with this double standard. I sure friggin’ hope that most people realize that women have more to offer the world than their hymens.
    So much I could rant about (and oh sister, I get pretty ranty) but it boils down to this for me: The whole “I got here first” thing that some men seem to hold dear when it comes to virginity is little more than ego.
    I think it says a lot about what men think of themselves, too. That tired cliche that “dads are dudes, so they know what other dudes are thinking”…doesn’t that mean that the dads themselves don’t respect women? How can I trust that a man who thinks like that actually respects his daughter? Thankfully, not all dads are like that.

  23. Absolutely fantastic, I laughed soo hard! So true. We live in a society that is really thinking backwards. I recall when I was a kid in catholic school (barf) we used to take a “purity test” every year in which we would be asked all our dirty thoughts during our puberty years so that the priests would get a kick in their blue balls and then lecture us on pureness, virginity and chastity of the body. And look how bad all this has come to mess up the poor catholic church. I find amusing people are more concerned about protecting someone s vagina or penis than the use and permit of guns in some places.

    Beh..Im just saying.

    KUDOS, love your blog to death!

  24. I absolutely laughed and laughed, you are so right. Coming from a culture where virginity and the loss of it is sacred, I cant find to read the amusing stupidity that a purity ball represents. I went to a catholic school where we had to undergo a “purity test” every year where the priests would get an annual kick in their blue balls reading the impurity thoughts the kids had throughout puberty and look how all that mess has turned out for the catholic church nowadays.

    In some states in the US people are not old enough to officialy “f..k!” yet they can carry a loaded gun, no pun intended…sheesh.

    LOVED IT!! all the way!
    Big Fan

  25. I find this hyper vigilant hymen hooey hilarious. And horrifying. Ha!

    Seriously, who wants to bet these are the same girls that get knocked up at 16?? Self fulfilling prophecy, right there..

  26. As the mother of three sons (one married, two preteens) I thought this was extremely funny. Never thought of a dad “protecting” a girls virginity. What next, chastity belts where he holds the key?? Talk about archaic!

    My boys know about sex. My nine year old has known where babies come from since he was six and, just this year, found out how they got there. I overheard his brother telling him something VERY wrong and decided to talk to them both, at the same time, about sex. It was a very uncomfortabe conversation for my 12 year old but my 9 year old… well…. I’m looking for male chastity belts as we speak….

    • What a weird concept! Teaching your children about sex? Hahaha!I started answering my kids questions, honestly, as soon as they started asking. My ten year old has a pretty firm grasp on the logistics of sex and if she is curious, she knows she can come straight to me and get the answer. I’d rather equip my kids with the knowledge to make good decisions and not name myself the keeper of their bodies. It’s good to know so many other people out there are doing the same.

    • It is so fucking weird. You can go to youtube and see clips of a documentary done on them. It will make you so uncomfortable, “Toddlers and Tiaras” will look like a healthy family activity!

  27. I want to stand up, throw my fist in the air, and yell “yeah!” in response to this post! I couldn’t agree with you more! While I don’t have any children of my own, I grew up being told that my body belonged to my mother (who thought she had to act in place of my absent father) until I was married. I thought it was downright sick. Little girls should NOT be taught that they “belong” to anyone. This kind of twisted mentality with parents (especially fathers) reminds me of ancient days when men used to sell their daughters for goats. There’s no room for that crap here!

    I really like that you said “I, for one, don’t want my daughter to think that the most relevant contribution that she can make to her future husband lies between her legs”. You are SO right! Growing up, I learned to view marriage in a VERY negative way, because I was given the idea that once I got married, I would become my husband’s property, and the only thing I’d be good for is sex.

    Little girls should NOT be taught these things! Parents need to wake up and realize that their job is not guarding her vagina at all costs. How about teaching her to be independent and to make her own choices in life? Freaking sickos!

    Thank you for writing this post! It got me all worked up and pissed off, but it keeps me coming back here for more of your awesome opinions! :)

  28. Love this…I think it is ridiculous. My parents educated me about the responsibilities that come with being sexually active, that alone was enough to make me wait. We did not need a father/daughter purity dance to have that conversation!

  29. Great post. I also hate that “daddy is going to shoot any boy that comes around his daughter” train of thought. Seems so archaic to me. What? A girl can’t be taught to make her own decisions, stand up for herself – she’s just so dumb she needs her “daddy” to do it for her? Totally ridiculous! I never knew about these purity balls (speaking of purity balls….hahaha!). I never looked further than Toddlers and Tiara’s – I guess that’s all prep school for attending dances with their dads proving to the world their virginity is intact and well guarded by Pops. That there are people who think this is normal is a scary thing. Good. grief.

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