More Love as Control – Purity Balls on Tyra Banks NOW

29 10 2007

FavD and I are watching video of a real purity ball right now. We see the white roses and the white ballerinas and the giant cross. We’ve never seen The Tyra Banks Show, but today when we turned the technology on, to see last night’s Desperate Housewives (recorded because of the WORLD SERIES!) we found “Inside the Secret World of Purity Ball” and we are sitting here mouths hanging open.

The founder guy has four of his five daughters on. And his wife — the Wilsons. He is backpedaling imo: Oh, it’s about the dads being good, not the girls and it’s not mainly about chastity, just love and relationships.

They are homeschoolers of course, as is the black family guesting today. The Moores. Tyra keeps asking every girl and woman quite guilelessly, if they “remained pure” or not. She sounds so friendly about it that they don’t seem to realize how bizarre it is to be discussing this at all on tv, much less with children.

OOh, this is unexpected — now she’s talking with a grown woman named “Alice” who sang at purity events as a teen, but secretly she developed an eating disorder from the pressure of living a lie, not being perfect and seeing that men are not really princes. Not even her minister dad. Oh boy, now she’s describing her first naive, ignorant sex at the age of 24, with an alcoholic stranger, getting pregnant . . . gave the baby up for adoption. She says it gave her a taste for sex, and she became promiscuous. Now Randy Wilson asks if her father was godly and a good protector. She says yep, but it was too much, expecting perfection.

We want to know more about Alice . . .

Oh god. The black dad just said it’s really all about him, that it’s about “me dating my daughters.” Tyra says “maybe we ought to watch our terminology. ” The dad is arguing with her, that if she doesn’t like him “dating” them then it’s a sign of our sick culture.

Now the audience is talking back to the guests, about how their dads were great without this “purity” issue or making like they are strong princes. “My father was a REAL man” the lady is saying. Favorite Daughter leaps to her feet and exclaims, oh snap! (I guess that’s another cultural thing, right?)

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14 responses

29 10 2007
JJ

She ended the show with a plug for “abstinence fashion” to market the idea and make it popular, have you seen this stuff??

“WAITWARE – where purity, passion and power meet phashion”

29 10 2007
Dawn

Too bad Tyra didn’t have some balls.

“So tell me, have you managed not to get your hymen punctured?”

Such a lot of fuss over a bit of skin.

29 10 2007
Lynn

I vaguely remember a recent study showing that girls that “wait” are really just engaging in other sexual activities, in order to remain “virgins.”

That was one very creepy show you describe. So glad I missed it! 🙂

29 10 2007
JJ

Well, except for girls like “Alice” who engage in disordered eating. . .

FavD and I were trying to figure out afterwards, if Tyra Banks were perhaps being very clever, by being so apparently accepting (ingratiating?) with these folks. By being that way, she did get them to come on the show, and to let her film crews into their purity ball AND their bedrooms (no, not for that, Dawn! 😉 — to interview the kids and dads getting all dolled up.)

30 10 2007
JJ

Lynn – I just realized that Alice was giving her TESTIMONY, right?

30 10 2007
JJ

One’s testimony is “power of story” then, meant to define who we are. It’s the same kind of powerful story that history is, and the evolution-creationism debate, and “who’s a real homeschooler entitled to the name?” — the power of our identity story is worth fighting wars over, worth rigging elections for, denying reality, bullying and brainwashing a child. Is public humiliation preferable to oblivion because at least it leaves a mark? . . .
Favorite Daughter is studying the power of such stories (at college LOL, no wonder race, sex and religious hegemonists are so suspicious of college stories they can’t strictly control!):

Their first class discussion was about the complex meaning of identity, thinking critically about how (and why) you define who you are as an individual within any society — or mob — relentlessly pressing individuals to conform with (often quite radical) norms.

Stubborn symbolic belief in “who we are” beyond all reason and science is all some folks have, the only story with any power to put them on top of a social group, and so they are willing to turn the sciences of larger society upside down, on the basis of that belief.

30 10 2007
JJ

Hey, we should’ve been watching TV with RedMolly instead!
The BBC has been airing “Leave Them Kids Alone” reviewed here:

What happens when teenagers are given a chance to set up and run their own school – will it be academic excellence or anarchy all round?

— and read her take on kid reality tv here.

31 10 2007
JJ

See Rolfe’s power of story on father love, control and school-social message memes (not abstinence though — I hereby generalize this to a social pressure-authority topic.)

I linked a new article online for him that may interest y’all:
“The Difference Between Homeschool and School” and added the caveat that many homeschooling parents (like the Wilsons) are also authoritarian and controlling, manipulative as parents, just as schools are in loco parentis. Take corporal punishment for instance — don’t authoritarian schoolfolk, church folk and family folk define their role, responsibility and rightful relationship with “their” kids similarly?

So for me, the key difference whatever you call it (and the real message of this polemic imo, despite its misnomer) is between any kind of rule-based “schooling” and mindfully NOT schooling — even at home.

6 11 2007
Jamie

So many people missed the whole point here: The Dad’s were not speaking completely about physical virginity…it was about pledging to be a strong male role model until they find men of their own. The physical virginity comes as a way of respecting your body enough to save it for a real relationship with a man who treats you the way your father taught you a man SHOULD treat you. If more young girls had this lesson early, less teenagers would end up with diseases, pregnancies, and horrible self-image problems due to a lack of confidence! You look for in life what you were taught at home. At least some homes are teaching the right thing!

6 11 2007
JJ

And the lesson is — a patriarchal god commands that girls and women will have a strong man in charge of them at home, or be reduced to a sinful, self-destructive mess. (This lesson is supposed to solve their “lack of confidence” problems?)

“. . .respecting your body enough to save it for a real relationship with a man who treats you the way your father taught you a man SHOULD treat you:”

Drape daughters head to foot in dad’s dominion, so no one will dare touch or even peek at their beauty and purity, and the protection-smothered, movement encumbered girls can’t forget for a moment that they are in custody. Home as Taliban. The lesson is not just that being born female means submitting to the strongest “male” but also that girls must be graceful in it and grateful for it, celebrate it during the girlhood in which they’re prepared to bear many sons and teach THEM to take up the sword of patriarchal righteousness over girls and women, forever and ever amen.

Right. So why would you say we missed the whole point?

26 01 2008
Parental Rights, Responsible Parenting of Sex and Potential Parenthood « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Parenting of Sex and Potential Parenthood 26 01 2008 This time it’s not about purity balls or abstinence rings. It’s about what happens when that stuff isn’t our answer, or […]

11 05 2013
JJ

May 2013, all as the head of the Air Force sexual assault unit is himself arrested for sexual assault:

[Elizabeth] Smart’s speech is largely being interpreted as a critique of abstinence-only education, but she’s pointing to an entire culture that fetishizes purity. The more extreme versions of our collective obsession are seen in conservative Christian churches, which offer purity rings, purity balls and sermons that insist wives give their virginity as a “gift” to husbands. But purity culture is mainstream . . .

11 05 2013
JJ

Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry did a full hour with a panel of women this morning, on how we set up both girls and boys with our sex-conflicted culture, from the military to the Obama’s administration’s “icky” feeling about approving Plan B without restriction. When it’s available online, I’ll edit in the link.

26 07 2013
JJ

10 Things I Plan to Tell My Daughter About Sex That Aren’t That Purity Movement Crap:

I’m a dad, and I am perfectly aware that the sexual health of this child is going to be part of my job. I’m not looking forward to it, to tell the truth, but if the alternative is fetishizing chastity while giving Oedipus a handie then by God I’m going in full guns blazing.

Here are the ten things I know I need to tell a modern girl about sex once she matures enough to roll her eyes throughout the conversation. . .

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