Breanne Fahs' Daddy's Little Girls focuses on the "culture of chastity." The author's argument is that this culture's construction of sexuality "results in a highly gendered social space" that emphasizes sociosexual repression (i.e. women functioning as the property of men) all the while prohibiting them from forming necessary knowledge of sexual health, desire, and expression. She adds that our need to restrain women's "sexual expression" has led to activities such as chastity clubs, purity balls, and ritualized abstinence endeavors, such as virginity clubs and celibacy pledges. In the article, Fahs theorizes that women are pushed into this culture rather than choose to partake in it, driven by social norms.
One of the most significant sections of her article is on the "perils of chastity" and the obsessive efforts teach abstinence-only sex education, ultimately leading lead to serious consequences. She writes that the Bush Administration slashed funding for Left-wing research, as the Right-wing's abstinence-only programs were drastically increased. As a result, the growth of the "culture of chastity" paved the way for virginity clubs and organizations to thrive, therein rewarding the system.
Additionally, she looks at the presence of Ivy League virginity clubs. Fahs research indicates that these clubs use fear rhetoric to identify the negative aspects of premarital sex. She says that like many groups, these organizations employ false information in their pamphlets and on their websites. Their deceiving statements lead women to "assume that marriage will protect against dangerous diseases," and promote homophobia.
Fahs also writes on the topic of purity balls. Purity balls "make literal the chastity pledge by encouraging daughters to pledge chastity to their fathers until marriage." The author brings up the fascinating point that these events praise young women as sexual property. They are their father's until he gives them away during a marriage ceremony.
1. Policy Director at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States said, "Not only do virginity pledges not work to keep our young people safe, they are causing harm by undermining condom use, contraceptive and medical treatment." Besides the consequential physical harm of virginity pledges, what kind of psychological harm do such pledges do?
2. How does our society, one that celebrates sexualized bodies and images in the media, still applaud celibacy pledges?
3. Why does the Victorian notion that "boys can't help themselves - it's their nature, but girls shouldn't desire sex", still prevalent in our society?