Sweet or Creepy? How Father-Daughter Purity Pledges Hurt Young Girls

Emerson Rensink | The Anti-Media

As the U.S. at large becomes evermore tolerant of premarital sex, a Christian “purity pledge” movement sweeps the country in an effort to bind young girls to virginity with their fathers until marriage.

Daughters issue no consent in the arrangement; instead, only the fathers sign a pledge stating that, as “High Priest of the home and family,” they make a promise to God to watch over their daughter “as her authority and protection in the area of purity.”

Daughters are then “married to the Lord” and their “father is [their] boyfriend,” says one pledge-signing father.

The movement is intended to promote abstinence and deter teenage pregnancy and promiscuity. However, research shows that the most effective methods to prevent unsafe sexual practices involve sex-positive sex education, including easy access to birth control and condoms, and open, respectful communication between parents and children.

Being protective of daughters comes with the territory of fatherhood; however, the “authority” portion is where the pledge gets a little weird, not to mention that fathers are referred to as “High Priests” in capital letters.

Also, these photos of fathers and daughters at “purity balls” are undeniably weird.

Instead of promoting personal responsibility and talking about what adult-age consent looks like, these fathers treat daughters like objects who don’t own their own bodies or sexuality. Instead, they keep them “pure” until ready to pass on to another man. Likely, her husband will also treat her as property whose sexual choices he controls. Is this the type of life a loving father would truly want for a daughter?

Research shows that teaching about good consent and sex-positive safer sex helps young women and girls. Preaching abstinence and overbearing parenthood do not. Neither does kissing your daughter like a lover. Why?

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Emerson Rensink is an Olympia-trans*planted activist, organizer and citizen journalist. He helped organize the global March Against Monsanto in May 2013. In addition to writing for The Anti-Media, Emerson’s work can be found at Center for a Stateless Society. In his free time, Emerson likes to watch depressing documentaries and find funny, pointless things on the Internet.

Follow Emerson on Twitter: @emersonrensink