Friday, December 21, 2012

The creep factor

Whenever I watch documentaries about the purity movement that focus on purity balls and the father-daughter relationship, I like to read the comments and reactions from others, particularly outsiders. The most common words I see are "creepy" and "incestuous." While I am not surprised by those reactions, I am surprised by my lack of reacting that way. I have to admit, it has never seemed creepy or incestuous to me. I think it has to do with the gradual way I was introduced to it and the way it is presented to us inside Christian culture. First I knew of saving sex for marriage, then I heard of courtship, then the involvement of a father figure. The logic all seemed relatively harmless until you see people taking it to that next level where girls are pledging their virginities to their fathers, at increasingly younger and younger ages, and attending grand balls to celebrate the occasion. That's when the outside world takes notice and is shocked to see the sexualization of little girls being paraded and celebrated by an entire community, and fathers having an unusual interest in their daughters' sex lives.

A commenter on Reddit had this to say on a thread talking about the "Daddy I Do" documentary:
Whenever I hear the phrase "pledged her virginity to her father" it creeps me out, as though you're supposed to wait for Daddy to f*ck you. Though considering the likely psychology in place there, she probably is, in a way (her husband is just her new "daddy.")
Perhaps the reason I don't jump to the incest accusations is because I know there is no intent in the movement for a father-daughter sexual relationship. But I do chuckle a bit at the line "her husband is just her new 'daddy'" because that's pretty close to the truth. In the more conservative communities, it's very clear that the headship over a woman is transferred from her father to her husband, the men in her life sharing similar roles in relation to her: namely, provider and protector.

Maybe I don't want to see it as creepy because I can see my old self falling into this belief system and lifestyle, or because I have friends who are still in it. Maybe I'm too focused on the relief I feel that I'm not living that life. Maybe I'm lying to myself and the creepiness is part of what keeps me fascinated by the subject. I acknowledge that the purity movement should seem a bit creepy to a normal person, but I don't feel that when I watch it and read about it. Maybe it's too real and not foreign enough to surprise me in that way.

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