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Shall We Dance in the Trenches? “Purity Balls” Take Two

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Posted on April 3 2010 12:32 pm
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My post on “Purity Balls,” has caused an uproar with those who claim I am at war with morality and fathers caring about their children. In the past two weeks, I have written in favor of purity, and close knit, supportive families.

Purity Balls, which some have claimed are meant to uphold those two values, do not stem from the simple and noble impulse of parental protection. A manifestation of the growing Patriarchy/Biblical Womanhood Movement, Purity Balls enforce the concept of the father as the owner of his daughter and teach the daughter to consider herself as deficient in the exercise of personal virtue.

When I use the term “Patriarchy” I am speaking of a specific movement that, while claiming to be a simple opposition to feminism, is actually an imbalanced and extreme implementation of the father’s authority over wives and daughters.

This “movement” or trend is growing in ultra conservative branches of Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity, Mormonism, Hasidic Judaism, and Islam, and confuses gender with species and throws into doubt the truth, affirmed by Aristotle, that women, like men, are rational animals. Women are considered contingent beings by the followers of the Patriarchy Movement. Followers believe that females need men to supply their intellectual and moral deficiencies. The chief tenets of this movement are:

1. Women are not intellectual, but emotional.
2. Young women should not go to college or have careers.
3. Young women should stay in the home and under the authority of their father until he transfers the daughter to the authority of the husband, more or less chosen for the girl by her father.

Here are quotations from writers who espouse aspects of this philosophy:

“…the father is the God-ordained vision communicator. Minimize the father and the family will perish. Minimize the family and you have neutralized the church. The sad truth is that broken and weak families are the norm even within the most conservative and doctrinally orthodox church assemblies. This is in large part due to the death of Biblical Patriarchy with its emphasis on father-directed vision, leadership, and self-sacrifice.”

“It is my contention that women have their being actualized through their relationship with men.”

“He, as a male, has more immediate access to the conceptual, the order in which the essences of things are grasped and in which they are known in their ideal purity…”

“The Jewish woman is private, making her the keeper of the Jewish home and family, the one who guards its purity and ensures its strength and perpetuation…The Laws of tznius teach that a woman should not seek publicity for her accomplishments or good deeds. She should not draw attention to herself by laughing too loudly, appearing to enjoy herself too much, or flaunting her God-given beauty, which she would preserve for her husband’s eyes alone to see within the sanctity of their marriage. Indeed, Hasidic ideology places a heavy burden on women to thwart sexual temptation.”

“There is, however, another service which a husband provides for his wife. Through this one man, a woman becomes capable of giving life to another man, to a son. It is by giving birth to a son, that a woman reveals her dignity and nobility as one capable of going beyond herself and her own femininity. By giving birth to a son, a woman reaches towards the logos, the intellectual word of the mind

Women are not the property of men, but individual human beings responsible for their own perfection, the attainment and exercise of personal, rational virtue.

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