Something mildly miraculous is happening among pop music stars. Several of them, from the Disney-marketed Jonas Brothers to the recent "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks, are showing some extraordinary courage, having decided to serve as role models for teenage virginity and abstinence.
Newsweek recently described the Jonas Brothers as "so pure they could be carved from a bar of Ivory soap." They are actually brothers, and all three of them -- ages 20, 18 and 15 -- wear a purity ring on their left hand, pledging to remain virgins until marriage. "People are, like, 'No way, that's impossible'," 18-year-old Joe told the magazine. "Our parents asked if we wanted to, and we were, like, 'Yeah,' so it's awesome." Their father is an ordained minister.
Eighteen-year-old Sparks told Us magazine last year about her promise ring, which she's worn now for four years. But announcing this publicly doesn't come without a price, and that price is mockery.
The "Best Week Ever" blog on Viacom's VH-1 website featured writer Michelle Collins bragging about losing her own virginity in a druggy haze and sneering that virginity at 17 is too normal to be courageous. "Now, if you're still waxing ho-etic about your unplowed territory at 30 -- and from the inside of your padded cell, of course -- then, maybe, we'll take you seriously."
The ridicule of these young pop stars became much more prominent when MTV broadcast their latest Video Music Awards show on Sept. 7. The awards show host was a mangy-looking British degenerate named Russell Brand, and he mocked the Jonas Brothers for their decision. He noted their promise-ringed fingers and insisted, "I'd take it a little more seriously if they'd wear it on their genitals." Brand joked that this decision was "a little bit ungrateful because they could have sex with any woman they want. That is like Superman deciding not to fly and go everywhere on a bus." Yuk, yuk.
Sparks was appearing as a presenter, and when she stepped to the microphone, she let Brand have it between the eyes. "I just have one thing to say about promise rings. It's not bad to wear a promise ring, because not everybody -- guy or girl -- wants to be a slut," she said. Sparks later gave an interview to Entertainment Weekly. "It's something I feel strongly about," she said. "I wish I would've worded it differently -- that somebody who doesn't wear a promise ring isn't necessarily a slut -- but I can't take it back now. It was a split-second thing, and it came out kind of wrong. Still, I don't regret it."
For their part, the Jonas Brothers were generous in reply, with 15-year-old Nick telling the BBC: "For us, it's cool to see that he recognizes we are gentlemen."