Mother-in-laws tend to get a bad rap thanks to how they are portrayed on television and in the movies, but for one Reddit mom who goes by the user name ashley-indigo, it sounds like her MIL may be worthy of the (terrible) hype. This grandma didn’t just go against her daughter-in-law’s wishes, she’s participating in a religious ritual that will damage the girl’s self-esteem: the purity ball.
This post appeared in the AITA subreddit, and opened with a disclaimer about how she had posted about her MIL before, letting us know that we should buckle up, because we were about to go on a ride. “My daughter Tess (9F) has gone to church with MIL periodically since she was little,” the post started. “I don’t love that, as I’m not a religious person and my MIL is an aggressive Baptist, but my husband thinks it’s a good bonding activity and so I don’t complain.” Plus, she adds, it gives her Sundays to herself. We can appreciate that.
Thanks to the pandemic, the church services have gone online, but that hasn’t changed their standing Sunday date according to the OP. Which means her daughter is still heading over to her MIL’s house each Sunday so they can virtually attend services. “Last week, Tess came home chattering about the ‘ball,’ and how MIL is going to take her shopping at a fancy shopping center in our town,” she writes, adding that she assumed it was an imagination game because… a ball… in this pandemic?
However, mom later finds out that the “ball” is actually a purity ball for 10- to 14-year-old girls and that her husband is OK with it because it’s a family tradition. When mom confronts her MIL, all hell breaks loose. “MIL sent back her usual stuff implying that I’m a hoe who led her son down a bad road and I’m an unfit mother,” she writes, before asking if she’s in the wrong for big-footing her husband on the decision and potentially upsetting their daughter.
Comments poured in offering ashley-indico support and commiseration by sharing their own (oft hilarious) horror stories around purity exercises.
“Yes let’s send our daughter somewhere where she’s given a rose and told that represents her and then has the petals ripped off and is told that’s what’s sex does to her value,” wrote user Trala_la_la. “That won’t give her any life long hang ups about sex.”
Another user discussed the experience they had in their public school. “Also the tape thing where everyone touches a piece of tape or crumples up a piece of paper and then the tape is all gross and the paper can never be smooth again,” wrote user Shaking-Cliches.
“Yep in middle school health class we were told that girls are locks and boys are keys, and nobody wants a lock that can be opened by more than one key,” wrote user lilbroccoli13. “That’s a bad lock!”
But no response was as good as the one user vworpstageleft, which offered the ultimate response to all of the cringe-worthy purity analogies. “I’ve heard that from hypocritical guys, saying ‘A key that can open many locks is a master key’,” they wrote. “In those situations you can at least turn it back on them and say, ‘A pencil sharpener that can sharpen many pencils is great. A pencil that’s been sharpened too many times… not so much’.”
We hope that by June (the date of this ball), there will be some other possible activities for Tess to enjoy. In the meantime, she and her mom can have some constructive conversations about sex or read some books about it.
Keep your kids busy while school is out with these ideas!