The Purity & Quiverfull Movements: Really people?

Women's Suffrage

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2011. All rights reserved.

Okay ladies, hold onto your bonnets. There are two movements steaming right along, one entrenched in the Evangelical Christian church and one that ascribes to a far more fundamental pronatalist theology, and they both have your and your daughters hard-won equal rights lined up directly in their cross-hairs.

I’m speaking of the Purity and Quiverfull movements. Both operate under the guise of Christianity with the sordid belief that daughters are somehow the possession of their fathers and women should do nothing more than submit to their husbands every whim and birth as many babies as their womb will physically allow.

Let’s start with the Purity movement shall we?

This movement began in 1998 when a couple in Colorado Springs decided to take the typically innocent father/daughter dance several steps beyond when they threw the first Purity Ball. These events are swathed in formal pomp and circumstance. The daughters are asked to sign a “purity covenant” that states they will abstain from sexual activity until they are married. The father vows to be “authority and protection in the area of purity” over his daughter during her pre-marriage years. He is providing her with the message he is in control of her sexual destiny until he hands her off to her husband on her wedding day.

Donned in dapper tuxedos, the fathers slip purity rings onto the left hand of their ball gown wearing daughters then lead them onto the dance floor for the “first dance.” Off to the side sits a wedding cake ready to be cut and served to the happy “dating” couples.

“In much of the present literature, Purity Balls are assumed solely to address a daughter’s emerging sexuality in a ritual designed to counteract evolving American norms on sexuality; however, the ritual may carry additional latent sociological functions. While experienced explicitly by the individual participants as a celebration of father/daughter relationships and a means to address evolutionary sexual mating strategies, Purity Balls may implicitly regenerate existing social hierarchy. This ritual facilitates a sociological purpose by means of re-establishing the role of the male through halting the psychological development of sexual identity in the daughter, and these rituals are enacted in the ownership of the daughter by the father, who is responsible for maintaining the daughter’s purity, for ‘covering her with his protection’.” ~ To Cover Our Daughters: A Modern Chastity Ritual in Evangelical America by Holly Adams Phillips

It seems all so incestuous. Power and authority of the male father figure who clothes himself in the confusing armor of “protector” in an attempt to control and own his daughters sexuality. Really?

These young girls are fed the message from an early age that they are not the owners of their own sexuality; their fathers are in control now and their husbands will take over in the future. Some are “groomed” from the age of four at these so-called Balls. It is a disturbing patriarchal message indeed. A modern-day chastity belt that plays dangerously on the psyche of pliable and innocent young girls who should be allowed with a healthy dose of parental guidance, to make decisions about their own sexuality when the time comes. The last thing they need is a heavy dose of male domination that seeks to control their decisions by inflicting the fear of God in them if they should perchance decide to act otherwise.

It begs the question, “where in the Hell are the mothers and their sons during all this talk of abstinence and pledges to purity?” The fact the boys aren’t bothered with such ruthless ceremony seems to send the silent message that males are in control of their own sexuality and don’t need to give that power over to anyone else.

This leads me to the next lovely movement called “Quiverfull.”

Based on an extremely fundamental and literal interpretation of the Bible, the Quiverfull movement stringently enforces patriarchy with the complete submission of the female to the male and a strict adherence to the lack of birth control. Couples in this movement are strongly encouraged to have as many babies as they can conceive in order to populate the world with more people who subscribe to their philosophies.

Sounds very Aryan Nation to me.

Since when did the womb become a weapon of mass destruction? They are fighting their religious war via egg and sperm and grooming their psychologically pliable children to continue the attack on what they view in the world as “immoral” by filling their Quivers with brain-washed, cult following human arrows.

“In direct and conscious opposition to feminist calls for gender equality and marriage equity, women live within stringently enforced doctrines of wifely submission and male headship. They eschew all contraception in favor of the philosophy of letting God give them as many children as possible-families of twelve or more children that will, they hope, enable them to win the religion and culture wars through demographic means: by reproducing more than other social groups.” ~ Quiverfull: Inside The Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I sit here and scratch my head while I ponder how it is even remotely possible in this modern-day and age that these Puritan values and misogynistic attitudes continue to slither around in the shadows. But then I realized those attitudes and values have been fueled by a strict interpretation of a book that was written centuries ago by men who were merely reflecting the attitudes and values of their day. That book is the Bible and it was written during a time when women were treated very much like slaves to every man’s whim.

History is written and should be utilized as a measuring device to weigh how far we have evolved as a human race. Unfortunately in the case of these two movements, the evolution of our character is ignored, especially the part about the equality of women. Instead, ancient belief systems are ascribed to as the truth.

Just another example of picking and choosing the verses and stories from the Bible that serve to empower a group of men who have the inert desire and drive to dominate a group of passive and gullible women.

Purity movement meet Quiverfull. Quiverfull movement meet Purity. Perhaps the two of you can get together and dance. It appears to me you are both headed down the same destructive path; just wearing slightly different sheep’s clothing.

About tracyth76

I am a professional photographer, obsessed iPhoneographer, freelance writer and website designer located in Northern, California. View all posts by tracyth76

5 responses to “The Purity & Quiverfull Movements: Really people?

  • madgesw

    I hat to admit it here but I watch the Dugger family with their 19 kids and counting and they are some of each of these cults. I don’t think they are groomed to want for college or sexual attention. They are an interesting mix of all of the above. Yet, I find them fascinating. They have no debt (show must help but they weren’t on a show for years and still maintained no debt. The kids raise each other, all are home schooled and all are business ready when they leave the nest. That is the theme.No kissing until the wedding kiss, obviously no sex until that day. They are taught skills to own companies and businesses (that is the boys of course). The girls dress totally covered up, do wear makeup and have individual differences in personality but the basic tenet is the same. Bible and Jesus rule their existence and mission work is their basic theme. They visit Christian parks and amusement centers as well as traveling to South America and Central America. What scares me the most is they seem so happy and calm and at peace with their lives. There has been no rebellion at all. How does this happen? The parents seem to love them unconditionally (of course no one has ventured out of the fold). The parents were raised more normal and Michelle used birth control when they first met. Then something happened. Not sure if it was an abortion or miscarriage (tending toward miscarriage) and they saw this as God punishing them for using the birth control and off they went to fundamentalism. They fascinate me and I wonder why. Any ideas Tracy? I also must say I have indulged in the Little People Big World, The Little Couple and Jon and Kate back in the day. Somehow these reality stories makes more sense to me than any of the others which I have never watched along with the talent shows and dancing shows.I just don’t get it but somehow the Duggers make it look so easy to raise 19 kids and own a home, have jobs,make money and are debt free and still have health insurance and seem to be extremely healthy and calm.

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    […] from Icerocket blogs: The Purity & Quiverfull Movements: Really people? Tags: No tags Categories: Uncategorized You can leave a response, […]

  • debradeangelo

    The scariest part of the whole column… they’re breeding!!!

    I stay as far away from these types as I possibly can.

  • Judy

    OMG. I hadn’t heard of either of these developments. This is a very nice piece of reporting, scary but so well done.

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