Prom: Be the Change You Want to See

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Senior Prom: Should girls ask boys to prom? Should there be a restriction on boys asking girls to prom because of a fear that girls will never do it? Is this a valid social experiment?

Senior Prom. Did you feel that? The automatic rush of nerves, and endless questions flooding your head? The biggest question of all—who will I go with? For girls, we are worried that the boy of our choice won’t ask us, or that we won’t be asked at all.  For boys, the anxiety stems from the girl’s response- what if she says no? Prom is bound to involve stress, but that stress—such as shopping for a dress and shoes, and getting your hair done—can be quite enjoyable. With society’s views radically shifting away from traditionalism, we can’t help but question gender norms set in our society, and more specifically, norms about prom. Feminist scholar Toril Moi wrote, “The task of feminist critics and theorists is to expose the way in which male dominance over females constitutes.” Therefore, by working to unveil the “male dominance,” we can successfully deploy our pluralistic ideals.

Defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary, Prom is “a formal dance, esp. one held by a class in high school or college at the end of a year.” There is no written rule that girls cannot ask boys. I can confidently say this is OUR prom and others would agree as well. Therefore, I raise the question of removing the stress portion of prom and propose a temporary fix… should we promote the notion of girls asking boys to prom?

According to a classic Friends Academy teacher, Herb Lape—a man who truly believes in chivalry and classical dance but sometimes with a little twist—“It [girls asking boys to Prom] goes against the tradition in every culture; the question is not just tradition, it is also biology. But, as you know it’s not a huge issue for me, but it does raise interesting questions.” Yes, indeed, it does raise some good questions.

Senior Struan Coleman says, “I think they should. I did it last year and it was fun, but I don’t think it’s fair that the pressure should be on me when it’s equally our dance. I think one year the girls should have to ask the boys.” Although Struan exemplifies a touch of laziness, he does make a fair point that if the boys did it last year, it’s only fair that the girls ask this year.

On the other hand, feminist Gabby Fitzgerald says, “I always take the stand on women’s leadership but in this case, I feel like tradition is important and the woman has the same power in the situation with the right to say no.” While Gabby’s argument exhibits strong feelings of preserving the annual tradition of prom, she raises another argument that if a girl was asked to prom, and she were to decline the invitation, what would her next move be? Would she feel the empowerment of taking the matter into her own hands, or would she allow the negative stress of prom overcome her? Toril Moi wrote, “Patriarchy, in other words, wants us to believe that there is such a thing as an essence of femaleness, called femininity.” According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, femininity is a term used to describe “the quality of being female; womanliness.” As an example of how the word is used in a sentence, they wrote, “she celebrates her femininity by wearing makeup and high heels.” So what they’re implying is that the way women celebrate gender is through putting on mascara and wearing high heels. Well, personally, I like to celebrate my femininity by writing and working at my job. On the other hand, the definition for masculinity in the New Oxford American Dictionary is, “possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men.” As an example of how the word is used in a sentence, they wrote, “a need for men to prove their masculinity through domination over women.” Notice how the words “possession” and “domination” are used.

Overall, I feel that as a senior class we redefine boundaries and enter restricted territory- #tbt to the bridge Freshmen year, Project S, etc. When Senior Juliane Florez stated, “if a girl wants to ask then she can,” fellow Senior Alex Valentino interrupted by saying, “That would never go over; the only reason why it won’t switch is because the girls won’t ask.”  So, our challenge as the school year progresses is… how can we, as a grade, preserve our reputation? Toril Moi wrote, “A woman who refuses to conform can be labeled both unfeminine and unnatural.” In order to positively instantiate this change, we must feel empowered as women, rather than afraid of this movement. If we are going to tackle this issue regarding Prom, we must do it full force. Inkwell Editor-in-Chief, Kyle Rosenbluth said, “Restrict them! It’s a cool experiment. You’ve got to break the boundaries of social norms.”

With great pride and our grade’s revolutionary spirit, I am predicting a challenge for whoever said it was only socially acceptable for a boy to ask a girl to Prom. In our community, gender equality is not yet evident. Therefore, this year I challenge the girls to step up and ask a boy to Senior Prom. If we are going to defy gender norms, we might as well start small. Let’s be the start of a new era, and make news headlines while we’re at it. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world.

 

 

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