It is that time of year again… PROM! The time when tanning, dress shopping, and worrying about who is going to ask you begins. The days when I would stress over finding the right shoes, getting my dress fitted just right, and panicking if my date would pick out the right color flowers are sadly over. Looking back on the five different proms that I attended (wow I know haha), I feel like I view it all so differently now… not better, and not worse, just different.
Now maybe my town did things a little more extreme than others, but the entire process of prom begins with the extravagant and over the top asking by the boy. Between my friends and I we were all asked many different and creative ways. For example, personally printed race car signs, decorated cars, fortune cookies, a pool of goldfish, strings of lights, during practice, at the friday night football games, and many more. It was intense, and honestly a lot of pressure on the boys for who could come up with the most creative idea.
After the the stress of finding a date was other with, the dress hunt would begin. My mom and I would make a tiring day of it and drive to a special (and hidden) place about an hour away and route through thousands of dresses, until our arms felt numb. Finding just the right dress was often easy for me, just because I have never been too picky with fashion, and tend to have a short attention span (opps). With the dress came the planning of alterations, flowers, corsages, limousines, and hair appointments.
Although I have been through the prom process more than enough, I can still remember the nerves and excitement on the morning of the big day! But why was prom such a big deal? Was there too much pressure on how the evening was “traditionally” supposed to go?
Prom creates the stressors of needing an excessive amount of money for all of the expenses, looking better than all the other girls, and possibly even pressured to have sex with your date because “it was prom”. I think that although I had a blast at all the proms that I attended, the over all idea of prom is materialistic and vain. What about the kids who could not afford the $50 tickets, or the $300 dresses that the “in crowd” was wearing that year? Many of us take part in this segregating event (including me), unable to see what setbacks we are contributing to, but I can see it all now.
Whether it is socio economic class, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, prom has many aspects that encourage the majorities, and reject the minorities. Having been two years out of high school now, I am finally able to take a step back and view it all so differently, but when we are so wrapped up in fitting in and doing what is “tradition” in high school, we cannot see the effects of our actions.
I am not saying that we should miss our prom, and having a night to remember with our friends, because believe me, I loved the prom experience! I am saying it is important to be able to realize what effects your actions and choices have on oppression today. An event as simple as prom can change the life of so many, for both the good and the bad. It is awareness that I think is key in today’s society. To be aware of your surroundings, your decisions and the lifestyle that others are living as well.