Event Title

Purity Balls, Abstience, and Patriarchy: Controlling Girls' Bodies and Minds

Location

CSU 204

Start Date

6-4-2010 10:00 AM

End Date

6-4-2010 12:00 PM

Student's Major

Gender and Women's Studies

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Emily Boyd

Mentor's Department

Sociology and Corrections

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

The first purity ball was held in 1998, just two years after abstinence-only education was implemented into public schools after receiving almost half a billion dollars in funding nationwide. Abstinence-only education has taught many young girls across the country that there is no such thing as safe sex and that they must control themselves and avoid sex at all cost. Purity balls are an attempt to make girls feel special and loved by their fathers, but the language and messages used during these events produce more of a controlling and limited relationship rather than a loving, open, and honest one. Using content analysis, I examined the current information already compiled on abstinence-only education and purity balls and their effects on young girls. I have analyzed these sites with a feminist lens that attends to the connections between these movements and the oppressive force of patriarchy on the lives of young girls in the United States. The popular, commercialized abstinence movement teaches girls that their worth is dependent on their purity, which is controlled by men – be it their fathers, husbands, or a random guy on the street. Consequently, girls are not taught how to protect themselves and love their bodies, but are set-up for failure in a game they can never win.

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Apr 6th, 10:00 AM Apr 6th, 12:00 PM

Purity Balls, Abstience, and Patriarchy: Controlling Girls' Bodies and Minds

CSU 204

The first purity ball was held in 1998, just two years after abstinence-only education was implemented into public schools after receiving almost half a billion dollars in funding nationwide. Abstinence-only education has taught many young girls across the country that there is no such thing as safe sex and that they must control themselves and avoid sex at all cost. Purity balls are an attempt to make girls feel special and loved by their fathers, but the language and messages used during these events produce more of a controlling and limited relationship rather than a loving, open, and honest one. Using content analysis, I examined the current information already compiled on abstinence-only education and purity balls and their effects on young girls. I have analyzed these sites with a feminist lens that attends to the connections between these movements and the oppressive force of patriarchy on the lives of young girls in the United States. The popular, commercialized abstinence movement teaches girls that their worth is dependent on their purity, which is controlled by men – be it their fathers, husbands, or a random guy on the street. Consequently, girls are not taught how to protect themselves and love their bodies, but are set-up for failure in a game they can never win.

Recommended Citation

Bourdeau, Nicole. "Purity Balls, Abstience, and Patriarchy: Controlling Girls' Bodies and Minds." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 6, 2010.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2010/oral-session-11/2