In an age of "sex buddies," "friends with benefits" and "sexual friendships," father-daughter purity balls have become an increasingly popular trend among conservative Christians in the campaign for abstinence instead of condoms. Since the first event was held in Colorado Springs in 1998, the concept -- that holding on to one's virginity until marriage is ordered by God -- has spread to 48 states according to the Chicago Tribune.
The debate about this movement is whether it promotes abstinence or gives girls the message that they are property belonging to the male head of household until turned over to a husband. Is this a positive or negative image of female sexuality?
A report commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services and released this year found that four federally funded abstinence-education programs offered in public schools and by faith-based community groups have had no effect on sexual activity. The study found that youth in the programs were no more likely to abstain from sex in four to six years after they began participating than those who were not in the programs.
But on the other hand,
Studies by sociologists have shown that girls who spend more time with their fathers are more likely to have higher self-esteem, go to college and get better jobs than those who do not. According to Wilson, if a young woman can go to her father to get answers for core questions, such as "Am I beautiful?" she won't need to seek confirmation of her worth from other males.
During some purity balls, fathers present their daughters with gold purity bands. In Peoria, the daughters presented their fathers with gold keys and the fathers signed forms pledging to live a pure life and protect their daughters' purity.
*This is a suggested vow for the girls to say as they hand over a key to their fathers:
Dad, this is the key to my heart. Please hold it for me until my wedding day and give it to my husband.
*Fathers are asked to sign a Purity Covering and Covenant that states:
I (daughter's name) father (or mentor) choose before God to cover her as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and Father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray over her and my family as the High priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come.
(The daughter then signs it as a witness)
Read the article here.