September 3, 2008

Cult

So, The Cult of Virginity is getting really creepy. If promise rings and pop stars making money off of publicising the existence of their hymens (eg. Britney Spears back in the day and Miley Sirus today talking about "waiting for marriage") aren't creepy, I don't know what is!

Purity balls are the pinnacle of this ickiness. You go to them when you're 14 with your dad, who in turn tells you that you don't need to screw a guy because he'll act as a substitute. He promises to tell you you're cute every day til you find a dude to marry him and then he gives you a ring that you can wear until you meet that special someone. Um, gross! Oh, and why does dad have to give you the ring? Why can't it be mom? It's so patriarchal to have dads even to this day as the guardians' of their daughters' virginity.

Stii, disgusting symbolism of purity balls aside, what surprises me about the Cult of Virginity is how sex-obsessed it really is. My friends who grew up with parents who expected them to wait for marriage had to hear about sex WAY more from their parents than I ever did. Sex was always in the shadows. They were constantly being told NOT to have sex, and how much better it was to wait for sex, and asked if they intended to have sex before marriage(though of course my friends were all smart enough to lie).

My parents were the exact opposite. We NEVER talked about sex. Like Ever. They knew I had sex ed in school (I'm from Toronto, so mine was pretty comprehensive) and let me learn there. This allowed me to come up with my own opinions about sex. I didn't learn about it through their biases (though I did get the schoolboard's, and later, my private girls' school's but these places weren't my parents, so I didn't take their biases as much to heart). I came up with my own opinions about sex on my own and I never had to deal with the awkwardness of my parents bringing up my hymen and the importance of preserving it at the dinner table. They didn't care if I did or didn't have sex. They weren't obsessed with the idea. They just wanted me to do what I thought I should do with my body. While I don't think completely ignoring the topic of sex in the family home altogether is the best way to raise a kid, I prefer that method to the purity ball doctrine.

At the end of the day, a father and daughter dancing at a purity ball seems a little bit incestuous to me. He's literally there to be a substitute for a good shag! Sex is everywhere at a purity ball - just below the surface - because the whole reason for the party and the dress is so you won't have sex. So, the paradox is, despite your parents wanting you to think there is more to life and love than sex, the purity ball just fixates on that good ole horizontal tango even more.

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