Idol Chatter

I don’t know how I, watcher for all-things Christian chastity culture-related, missed this big New York Times feature, “Dancing the Night Away, With a Higher Purpose,” by Neela Banerjee, from last week about the growing popularity of the Purity Ball.
A Purity Ball, writes Banerjee, is a formal dance where “men st[and] and read aloud a covenant “before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity,” a gesture signaling “that the fathers would guard their daughters from what evangelicals consider a profoundly corrosive “hook-up culture,” over the course of an “evening, which alternate[s] between homemade Christian rituals and giddy dancing…a joyous public affirmation of the girls’ sexual abstinence until they wed.” It’s similar to a debutante ball, with the girls attending wearing “floor-length gowns, up-dos and tiaras,” however the girls range in age from the very young (elementary aged) to college-aged.

The article includes comments from attendees at a recent, large Purity Ball in Colorado Springs, and a fairly thorough play-by-play of this new, Christian take on the father-daughter dance. I wrote about Purity Balls in my most recent book, “Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America’s College Campuses,” because they came up in student interviews as a growing trend. Anyone interested in American youth culture, especially evangelical youth culture, should give this article a look, and get to know the newest form of the debutante ball. Soon enough, there will be one happening near you.

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