Producing High Priests and Princesses: The Father-Daughter Relationship in the Christian Sexual Purity Movement

Journal Title: Religions - Year 2016, Vol 7, Issue 3


This article describes and analyzes father-daughter purity balls in the context of the contemporary U.S. American conservative Christian sexual purity movement, with an emphasis on taking the self-understanding of those involved in the movement into account. It shows the ways that the idealization of a hierarchical father-daughter relationship both constructs and reflects sexual purity ideals. The Christian sexual purity teachings frame this father-daughter relationship as an essential part of forming the ideal subject, and as reflective of the right order of the kingdom of God. In the logic of sexual purity, a good man is the strong high-priest leader of the household and the ideal girl is princess-like: white, non-poor, attractive, pure, feminine, delicate, and receptive. She is preparing, under her father’s guidance, for heterosexual marriage. Attention to the father-daughter relationship in the sexual purity movement highlights the ways that sexual purity is primarily about subject formation and the ordering of relationships—in families, in the nation, and in the church—and less about the specifics of when particular sexual acts take place or the public health risks that might come from those acts. This exploration also brings into relief the ways that contemporary conservative Christian sexual purity teachings draw from and build on two prominent aspects of contemporary U.S. American popular culture: the important role of the princess figure, and the buying of goods as indispensable to the formation of the subject.

Authors and Affiliations

Elizabeth Gish


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  • EP ID EP25530
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How To Cite

Elizabeth Gish (2016). Producing High Priests and Princesses: The Father-Daughter Relationship in the Christian Sexual Purity Movement. Religions, 7(3), -.