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Abstinence ball

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Abstinence balls, also known as purity balls,[note 1] are events held by fundamentalist Christians, at which fathers and their teenage (and increasingly often, much younger) daughters dress up in evening attire and dance the night away together, all in the name of abstinence. This is Creepy with a capital C. In these events, girls essentially pledge their virginity not to the first boy who comes along who is right for them, respectful and who will want them as partners for who they are rather than as a cheap fuck, but to their fathers. Not that this is unprecedented in Christian mythology: Genesis 19:32-26 shows that Lot's daughters lost their virginity[note 2] spent some rather quality time with him (although in his defense, it was the girls who got him drunk so he didn't notice—at least that's how the story reads, though it sounds more like the sort of explanation he would give afterward to avoid blame). Hence the big capital C on Creepy.


There really aren't many good things to say about this sort of event. Yes, they do encourage girls to refrain from sex until they're ready (or even past the time they're ready, since they're pledging to wait for marriage), but because of conservative squeamishness about such things, few of them will even know what it is they're avoiding. As one blogger put it "events like this do not minimize the sexuality of children, as organizers claim. They highlight it."[1] Did we mention that girls as young as 5 pledging virginity to their fathers is Creepy?

The movement is attempting to make "purity" cool,[2] but unfortunately they forgot the cardinal rule: Nothing a teenager ever does with their dad will ever be described as cool, and neither will the girl, when she can't even make out with the guy she has the hots for until her wedding day.[3]

Double standard[edit]

Why is it not okay for girls, but it's okay for boys? It's called the double standard, Bobby. Don't knock it, we got the long end of the stick on that one.
—Bobby, and Hank Hill, King of the Hill

It is not entirely clear why teenage boys and their mothers aren't invited to these events, or don't have a similar separate event. Indeed, considering that popular perception lays most of the blame for unplanned pregnancy and coerced sex on the male, it should be they who get told to keep their pants on. Perhaps it's believed to be OK for a young boy to sow his oats with as many girls as possible before marriage, as long as the victims lucky ladies are all drawn from the pool of the Godless. Or perhaps it's because boys can't get pregnant, and don't have any hymens to preserve. Or perhaps the old idea of "women as property" is shining through, despite the spin that extreme neo-conservatives such as Phyllis Schlafly have been working hard to disguise it with. Either way, the theme of male sexual dominance is rife throughout the whole purity movement.

See also[edit]

Si vous voulez cet article en français, il peut être trouvé à Bal d'abstinence.
Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about Abstinence balls.


  1. As opposed to blue ballsWikipedia's W.svg, which is a vaguely related but entirely different thing.
  2. He only claimed they were virgins to help entice the mob to rape them; his daughters were married