Today's New York Times has a fascinating article on the rising Evangelical trend of "Purity Pledges." Last Friday marked the 9th annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball where, "after dessert, the 63 men stood and read aloud a covenant 'before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity."'
According to the New York Times:
The gesture signaled that the fathers would guard their daughters from what evangelicals consider a profoundly corrosive "hook-up culture." The evening, which alternated between homemade Christian rituals and giddy dancing, was a joyous public affirmation of the girls' sexual abstinence until they wed.
Yet the graying men in the shadow of their glittering daughters were the true focus of the night. To ensure their daughters' purity, they were asked to set an example and to hew to evangelical ideals in a society they say tempts them as much as it does their daughters.
While its a noble idea, the Times is also quick to point out that though:
...recent studies have suggested that close relationships between fathers and daughters can reduce the risk of early sexual activity among girls and teenage pregnancy. But studies have also shown that most teenagers who say they will remain abstinent, like those at the ball, end up having sex before marriage, and they are far less likely to use condoms than their peers.
Regardless, purity pledges and the accompanying purity rings are being seen everywhere from Miley Cyrus to the Jonas Brothers. Miley Cyrus' purity ring was even used in defense of rumors that the teen mega-star was pregnant.
Other celebrity purity endorsers include Jordin Sparks, Jessica Simpson (who, apparently and amazingly, kept her pledge), Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima, and who can forget the most famous "virgin" of all: Britney Spears.
According to ABC News:
The newest crop of teen celebrities - Disney's Miley Cyrus and boy band The Jonas Brothers - as well as slightly older stars such as Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima, are all toting the same accessory: their virginity.
In a September 2007 interview with Extra!, Cyrus, now 15, defended herself against rumors that she's pregnant, citing her vow to stay celibate until marriage.
"It's given me the street cred to say that would be impossible, because I'm living my life the way I believe is right and that is to stay pure," she said.
Lima, 26, told GQ magazine in April 2006 that she's saving herself for marriage, despite those who may raise their eyebrows at her sexy runway outfits and her nude photo shoots.
NBC News also has a short segment on purity pledges. Watch:
See the accompanying NYT slideshow here.
So, what do you think? Do believe in Purity Pledges? Have you taken one? Would you have your daughter taken one? Tell us your thoughts below.