Kylie Miraldi has come from California to celebrate her 18th birthday tonight. She'll be going to San Jose State on a volleyball scholarship next year. Her father, who looks a little like Superman, is on the dance floor with one of her sisters; he turns out to be Dean Miraldi, a former offensive lineman with the Philadelphia Eagles. When Kylie was 13, her parents took her on a hike in Lake Tahoe, Calif. "We discussed what it means to be a teenager in today's world," she says. They gave her a charm for her bracelet--a lock in the shape of a heart. Her father has the key. "On my wedding day, he'll give it to my husband," she explains. "It's a symbol of my father giving up the covering of my heart, protecting me, since it means my husband is now the protector. He becomes like the shield to my heart, to love me as I'm supposed to be loved.
While I am certain that there is no parent out there that would like to think that their young daughters are engaging in sexual activity before they are physically and emotionally prepared to do so, since when is it okay to define a girl's self worth and esteem on whether or not she is sexually active? Isn't it possible that there is a better way for fathers to become engaged in their daughter's lives without becoming defenders of their "purity"? Maybe if frank and honest talks about sexual activity, birth control and emotional commitment replaced archaic philosophies of abstinence and sex as filth, there would be less involvement in this Ozzie and Harriet ritual!! And honestly, where is the male responsibility in all of this? I don't see Time glorifying the virtue of the boy's virginity and their mother's escorting them to some strange dance complete with unnerving symbolism. Is that because a girl's virginity is something to be protected and then gifted, while a boy's virginity is something to overcome on the road to manhood? Women are not chattel to be bartered. The idea that these dances are happening in 2008 is disturbing at best and positively creepy at it's worst!