Does Prom send damaging messages?

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GloriaInTX's picture
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Does Prom send damaging messages?

Do you think Prom sends a damaging message to young girls, as the writer of this opinion piece suggests? Do you think girls HAVE to spend $1000 on Prom and poor girls are looked down on if they don't spend that much? Did you spend that much on your prom and would you spend that much on prom for your son/daughter?

Spring may be graduation season, but the most coveted rite of passage for many teenage girls is the prom.

From the latest craze of "promposals" to the minute-by-minute social media broadcast of it all, the rituals of prom form a throwback cultural primer called "How to be a young woman." Teen girls are competing relentlessly to be queen.

The queens of prom are the conventionally beautiful, the wealthy and the heterosexual -- always passively waiting to be asked.

Isn't prom just a fun dance that hardworking students deserve? Sure, but it's also an event where girls internalize damaging cultural messages. Those who are exalted on this "once in a lifetime" night offer an object lesson in how modern girls are expected to look and act.

Prom is a cultural report card of sorts on how well, or not, young women are doing.

Here's what a bright 17-year-old girl learns as her lace gown drags behind her into the school gymnasium:

She learns that she must have money to attend the prom

Prom was modeled after the debutante ball of the old days, where elite girls formally announced they were ready to date, while a hand-picked bevy of suitors watched. Today, prom is still a rich girl's party.

In 2013, prom spending will rise on the shoulders of a more robust economy. Families who plan to spend money on the big night are expected to drop an average of $1,139. All that cash might be good for business, but it disadvantages the poor and working class girls who can't keep up. Meanwhile, boys can get away with renting a tux for less than $100.

She learns that conventional beauty is valued above all else

Girls will spend lavishly on expensive dresses and shoes, along with professional tanning, hair and makeup. The final look is a far cry from Molly Ringwald's original, homespun vibe in the '80s teen classic "Pretty in Pink."

Instead, girls are angling for the Hollywood red carpet look. Oscar gown knockoffs, such as a copy of Jennifer Lawrence's pink Dior dress, are among the most sought after this season.

Prom drops girls squarely into the beauty spending pipeline. It prepares them to shell out a disproportionate amount of money on their appearance as adult women, when they will spend $7 billion annually on makeup alone.

Didn't quote full article
Rest here:
Opinion: The damaging messages of proms - CNN.com

Joined: 03/08/03
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Doesn't it depend on where you live, what economic group you're in, who you hang out with, and how you're raised?

I never did the prom thing (by choice) but my sister is in college now so I remember hers. A bunch of girls went together and had a blast. I don't know if there was a prom queen as it didn't come up in conversation as something that mattered to her and her friends.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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My son went to Prom Saturday night as a Junior. He invited a girl but her parents decided not to let her go because they didn't want to spend the money since she was only a Junior and said they would only let her go when she is a Senior. So he went with a group of friends. He said that a lot of kids were going that way these days, just groups of friends going together, girls and boys. Personally I do think that some parents spend WAY too much money going all out with the limo and everything, but I don't think its necessary to do all that and I think there are plenty of gorgeous dresses you can buy for under $100 if you shop around. In this area they even have places that get donated dresses and offer dresses that girls can borrow for free if they can't afford one. I just don't think that girls are going to be damaged by having a night to dress up. We spent $75 for the tux rental and the Prom ticket was $65. If he had actually taken a girl we would have spent a little more for a corsage, but they are typically only about $25.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
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It may "feel necessary" to attend in some highschool societies.. However it doesn't matter a whit in the long run. $65 is a ton of money here.. for a ticket to Prom. If my child wanted to attend or was asked to go he would have to raise the money. I do not have a girl but I do know how to sew and how to find beautiful items for very cheap.. so there is no way I would spend over $25ish for her dress, I would allow her to spend some of her own money to cover the rest.

There are lots of these "things" in highschool.. especially for a senior.. from class photos, rings, letterman jackets, not to mention sports or activity fees, driving gas.. cars etc..

I think the increase in the cost of the child's activities should point to an increase in their responsibilities.. IE weekend jobs, after school jobs, summer jobs etc. They are becoming adults.. let them learn how to manage and earn and spend money appropriately.. if they want to spend it all on a 1000 dress.. then they can pay but I wouldn't be buying them jeans next september ;).

I am not against Prom as a rule.. just think when a child is caught up in a society that puts such value on it.. they can loose sight of what is really important.

Joined: 05/31/06
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My best friend and I were just talking about this. Her babysitter went to her senior prom last weekend and we were talking about how much it must have cost. Here was how it went down.

She bought a dress that cost $300. Her parents threw a cocktail/appetizer GTG for the parents of the other parents who were going with their daughter and her date in the same limo. A professional make up artist and hair dresser came to the house and did the girls hair and make up that afternoon (the kids had the day off to prepare). They had hired a professional photographer to take the pre prom photos. The kids took a limo to the prom, going out to a fancy steak house before hand. After prom they all spent either a weekend or a week at a rented beach house (cant remember). So yeah, all in it was in the thousands when you count the rental of the house, and add in the entertaining cost for the other parents and whatnot.

My "prom" was way different as my school didn't allow dancing. (a la footloose!) We just bought a dress, I did get my hair done at a salon, but there was no limo, my date did borrow a cool sports car, and then the parents of the class all went in together and threw us an "afterparty" where there was dancing. Prom itself was just a fancy dinner at a downtown hotel. Afterwards we all went to the beach for the week (senior week). My parents had a beach house so it was free for us.

I don't know, I mean, its really no different than anything in life. Some kids have more and some kids have less. I don't really know how you get around that.

I just heard about this "promprosal" thing for the first time a few weeks ago. A friend of mine who has a daughter who is a Jr in highschool posted photos on FB of her daughters elaborate prom proposal to her boyfriend. It involved having his mom wake him up at the crack of dawn, some fancy scavenger hunt, and some attack with water guns at the end by a slew of young girls with this huge sign/proposal, all being videotaped and photographed to the enth degree. Crazy.

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

It may "feel necessary" to attend in some highschool societies.. However it doesn't matter a whit in the long run. $65 is a ton of money here.. for a ticket to Prom. If my child wanted to attend or was asked to go he would have to raise the money. I do not have a girl but I do know how to sew and how to find beautiful items for very cheap.. so there is no way I would spend over $25ish for her dress, I would allow her to spend some of her own money to cover the rest.

There are lots of these "things" in highschool.. especially for a senior.. from class photos, rings, letterman jackets, not to mention sports or activity fees, driving gas.. cars etc..

I think the increase in the cost of the child's activities should point to an increase in their responsibilities.. IE weekend jobs, after school jobs, summer jobs etc. They are becoming adults.. let them learn how to manage and earn and spend money appropriately.. if they want to spend it all on a 1000 dress.. then they can pay but I wouldn't be buying them jeans next september ;).

I am not against Prom as a rule.. just think when a child is caught up in a society that puts such value on it.. they can loose sight of what is really important.

I'm sorry, but REALLY? I get being frugal, but that is just not realistic to the point of being unkind.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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Prom, like a wedding can be reasonable or ridiculously expensive.

Some ways to do it less are to either - Have someone that sews well make you a nice dress, borrow a dress from a friend, buy a used dress, or shop the clearance rack right after prom of the year before.

When I went (Not my senior year, but I was dating an older guy at the time), I went to a bridal shop that was going out of business. I was able to get a several hundred dollar dress for less than $50. I also went to other formals over the years. One year I had my aunt make my dress. I know it will be YEARS before Alyssa has need of a formal gown, but I have already started keeping my eyes out for steal deals.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I'm sorry, but REALLY? I get being frugal, but that is just not realistic to the point of being unkind.

If you don't have it, then you don't have it. I would much rather my child go in a nice used dress from the thrift store than do pay $300 I did not have on a dress that made it so we did not have grocery money for the week.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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What the frig is a promposal?

Melissa, wow! That is so elaborate.

I really don't know what proms are like around here. My kids will likely be going to the same private high school that my husband and his family went to and i don't really know anything about prom culture there.

I hated prom. I was socially awkward and kind of a geek, i cared very little about fashion, despised shopping and never wore a lick of make up all through high school. I went to an all girls school, which means that you had to be very social and very outgoing to even know any boys...as you had to go to hang out with other schools to know any.

I went to one ball, not even a junior or senior prom. I fretted over what kind of dress to wear because i had no idea what i should wear to such a thing. I picked something out with my mother and i felt horrendously out of place at the event. I was set up with someone, by a friend, who i hardly knew...and the whole thing was just awkward.

It didn't even have to do with money..it was simply a social nightmare. I didn't go to anymore of them, nor did i go to my junior or senior prom. It was just too much of an in your face reminder of what you needed to be in order to be popular and liked.

But thats not to say I'm against proms. In fact i hope my kids never experience such terrible things and have fond memories of prom. I do think it would be nice if we didn't expect such extravagance. But i don't see how you could possibly control that. It seems to me that everything these days heads towards more extravagance, more money, bigger, fancier...whatever. We don't tend to scale things back, we tend to add new things to stuff for excitements sake, when what you've been doing for the last decade becomes 'boring and commonplace'

Joined: 03/08/03
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I skipped prom for a lot of Kim's reasons, plus it just wasn't that big of a deal at my school. (Maybe it's more of an American thing? Not sure.) It wasn't like everybody went or anything. But dressing up and going to a formal event was not (and still is not) something I enjoy.

But I maintain that it varies completely from one area to another, and the rich schools will have crazy overindulgent proms with parties and rentals and limos and others will have scaled-down versions. That's just life.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

If you don't have it, then you don't have it. I would much rather my child go in a nice used dress from the thrift store than do pay $300 I did not have on a dress that made it so we did not have grocery money for the week.

Eh, I don't know, Rivergallery said it like it was a policy more about the principal than about grocery money. Most people I know would, over the course of the school year, be able to set aside, or find ways to put aside a few dollars here or there to save for some money for their child's prom dress if they wanted to. I will be honest and admit that maybe in other areas of the country one could find a fashionable dress for $25.....but around here that just is not realistic. I wouldn't want my child to feel like she was dressed utterly ridiculously just because I was unwilling to work hard, maybe babysit or sell some things on ebay, or do SOMETHING to help her look appropriate for an event that, like it or not, is an important event for many young girls. IF it were important to my daughter I would find a way, not to buy her a $1000 gown of course, but not to make her wear something out of the rag bin, either.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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The young ladies that I know that go to formals here, do so at a reasonable price. I also think that you could find a very nice formal prom dress for $25 if you bought it on clearance the year before. There also recently was a huge Prom consignment sale here. Think "Just Between Friends", only for Prom dresses. I know when I went to High School there was a lot of sharing dresses.

I do know lots of people that could not afford $300 on a prom dress. I also do not think buying a used dress means that you are getting one out of the rag bin.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

The young ladies that I know that go to formals here, do so at a reasonable price. I also think that you could find a very nice formal prom dress for $25 if you bought it on clearance the year before. There also recently was a huge Prom consignment sale here. Think "Just Between Friends", only for Prom dresses. I know when I went to High School there was a lot of sharing dresses.

I do know lots of people that could not afford $300 on a prom dress. I also do not think buying a used dress means that you are getting one out of the rag bin.

Fairly certain that I never said that someone has to spend $300. Positive in fact. Pretty gigantic difference between $25 and $300. Sharing dresses would be free and is a great option! I'm simply saying that it would not be possible in my area to find anything with any modicum of class or decent fabric/style for $25, and it would be important to me that if my daughter were attending, that she would be attending with some class and some style. You could not rent a tux for that little, either, and tuxes are required wear at proms in my area.

I would not buy a dress for my daughter a year in advance. Girls bodies can change a lot in a year and the last thing that I would want would be to create a "dieting" situation if she had changed shape and/or gained weight in the year. No way.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
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At my prom, I asked a good male friend to go with me, my dress was about $100, a big group of us went out to dinner together first, then to an after party after at a friends house.

Honestly, my friend and I had a better time than a lot of other people there. We werent worried about what the other person was doing, where they were etc. It was nice to have 'couples' pictures of the evening, but not really be part of a couple Smile

I think I would be willing to spend a couple of hundred for my daughters prom, but not $1000. That just seems way too steep!

Oh, and no prom queen/king.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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Womens Juniors Medium Formal Long Blue Sparkly Dress Prom Size 8 Glitter | eBay

A quick ebay search found hundreds if not thousands of prom dresses for less than $25.

ftmom's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

Eh, I don't know, Rivergallery said it like it was a policy more about the principal than about grocery money. Most people I know would, over the course of the school year, be able to set aside, or find ways to put aside a few dollars here or there to save for some money for their child's prom dress if they wanted to. I will be honest and admit that maybe in other areas of the country one could find a fashionable dress for $25.....but around here that just is not realistic. I wouldn't want my child to feel like she was dressed utterly ridiculously just because I was unwilling to work hard, maybe babysit or sell some things on ebay, or do SOMETHING to help her look appropriate for an event that, like it or not, is an important event for many young girls. IF it were important to my daughter I would find a way, not to buy her a $1000 gown of course, but not to make her wear something out of the rag bin, either.

I dont think she was talking about buying a dress, but more of buying fabric and making the dress herself. Or maybe buying used and doing alterations. For her boyfriends prom my mom made my sisters dress, and it was way nicer than the one she bought to wear to her own prom the year before. They even did some beading on the bodice, and it looked really nice....probably less than $50 at todays prices.

GloriaInTX's picture
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Oh my! That is a little different from what you would see at a prom around here but an interesting look! Whatever floats your boat!

As stated, it's really about what a given family wants to do. I'm sure that if our kids want, we will probably do what most other families in their school/ circle of friends do. We will probably ask them to help contribute in some way if it is elaborate/ excessive.

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I have to agree that those dresses wouldn't really work around here as prom dresses, and I don't think $25 would buy a girl a dress she'd be happy to wear to a prom. And if you don't know someone who sews, then yes, you're going to have to spend some money on a dress. Nobody wants to go and feel like they're out of fashion or wearing something they don't feel good in.

But it totally depends on where you live!

My son had a performance in the choir and they required black dress pants, black dress shoes, a white shirt, and a tie. Well, we own none of those things for him. I didn't want to spend the money on it, not that the costs are that high, but it seemed like a waste for a one-off event. My husband talked me into it, saying that Nathaniel shouldn't have to bear the burden of my resentment about it. We bought him the outfit and he will have one more opportunity to wear the pants & shoes before he outgrows them as we are going to a wedding in a few weeks. (He asked for more dapper shirt and I said fine.)

So it's just a balance of priorities. I didn't want him to stand out just because I didn't want to spend the money.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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I think if you were to look across the country, you would find far more people who it would cause a financial burden to buy an expensive dress than you would find people that it would be no big deal. There are many, many people, hard working good people that work in blue collar jobs that just couldn't spend that kind of money on one dress when there are thousands of used dresses out there.

Joined: 08/17/04
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I went to 6 proms as a teen. I bought a total of 3 dresses. I reused them. Dress #1 was 50.00, dress #2 was 25.00 but was a clearanced x4 I think from the old Filene's Basement store and my senior year was 180.00. These proms ranged in years from 1996-1998. I can imagine it cost more now.

I did get my hair done for I think all of them...probably 30-40 a pop. I know I had a limo for at least 2 but we went in a big group and split it..maybe 40.00 a person. Tickets were 60.00 a couple I think for my senior one but you could go as a single. We weren't a rich family at all. My parents just budgeted for it.

As for if it is a damaging message...no. My parents spent what they could and I did help to contribute to things to as I had a part time job. A lot of people went with a friend or as a group (my senior year date was my good friend who is gay). I never saw it as this huge push to do certain things (many people didn't have limos and drove..it was not a big deal.)

AlyssaEimers's picture
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Am I the only one who wouldn't buy dresses online? I wouldn't....I have such a hard time finding a good fit.

Danifo's picture
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I don't think prom is anymore damaging than anything else. You have to work in your budget. I kind of compare it to kids birthday parties. The last 5 I've been to have been at places that cost over $300 to rent the space (I know because I looked for a reasonable place to have my daughter's party right before we move). Needless to say, we are having 5 girls over to do a craft and decorate cupcakes at home. I do have friends that are shocked I'm not renting a space, even if we weren't moving.

I went with my husband a few eons ago. I think my dress was around $200 and my mom paid for it. We had a great time. I feel bad for kids that feel like they have to spend all that money to have a good time. As an adult, I know that it doesn't matter and if you can find a great deal, you are way better off than someone who spends thousands.

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Hahaha- no Jess- I also would not be buying cheap Internet dresses from china for my daughter. A good fit is critical to looking classy. It would be important toe that my daughter is wearing a style and fabric that is complimentary to her shape.

mom3girls's picture
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I actually think prom can send a great message to kids if parents do it right. I loved prom, went all 4 years to my school and 2 years to the school my high school boyfriend when to. Each time my parents told me how much they would give me for everything I needed and that I would have to pay for the rest. My favorite dress was my junior year, I found it on a clearance rack for $25 bucks in a size 15! I wore a 0 or 1 in high school (not so much now) so my grandma had to take it way it, but it was super unique and looked great. The next year my dress cost $500. I think my parents gave me $200 each year (this was back in the early 90's) so the year that my dress was so expensive I had to spend a lot of my own money so it was a big decision for me!

ftmom's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

Am I the only one who wouldn't buy dresses online? I wouldn't....I have such a hard time finding a good fit.

I think it really depends on how handy you are. My MIL and my mom are both very good seamstresses, so I bought my bridesmaids dresses on line (because they couldnt agree on anything in the store). I just bought them a size bigger than the sizing guide said, and then had MIL and Mom take them in for a custom fit. They looked fantastic, but were totally not something they would wear again (yes, I will admit this), so I am glad I didnt spend more than $100 for both of them.

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"Danifo" wrote:

feel bad for kids that feel like they have to spend all that money to have a good time. As an adult, I know that it doesn't matter and if you can find a great deal, you are way better off than someone who spends thousands.

Thats so relative as to be a slightly ridiculous statement. Did you feel like you "HAD" to spend $200 (a ton of money that many people could never ever spend on a dress). I don't think that most kids are in some frenzied panic all worried that they *HAVE!!!* to spend money to have fun ;). I think that most kids are just doing what their peer group is doing, as with most other things. I don't think that they equate more money = more fun.

And the last statement is also relative. Spending $200 is a TON of money to some people, and to others it simply isn't a lot. Thats just simple math, some people have a lot more money than others. I don't know that that always makes the person who spends less "way better off". Frankly I wouldn't be caught dead in the blue sparkly $17 dress Bonita posted. So yeah, I think that I'm way better off looking better in a more expensive dress that has a modicum of style and class. Not necessarily the worlds most expensive dress, but not a $17 internet sparkle piece, either. Again, relative.

GloriaInTX's picture
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Here a lot of the girls are wearing the short dresses these days.

mom3girls's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

Thats so relative as to be a slightly ridiculous statement. Did you feel like you "HAD" to spend $200 (a ton of money that many people could never ever spend on a dress). I don't think that most kids are in some frenzied panic all worried that they *HAVE!!!* to spend money to have fun ;). I think that most kids are just doing what their peer group is doing, as with most other things. I don't think that they equate more money = more fun.

And the last statement is also relative. Spending $200 is a TON of money to some people, and to others it simply isn't a lot. Thats just simple math, some people have a lot more money than others. I don't know that that always makes the person who spends less "way better off". Frankly I wouldn't be caught dead in the blue sparkly $17 dress Bonita posted. So yeah, I think that I'm way better off looking better in a more expensive dress that has a modicum of style and class. Not necessarily the worlds most expensive dress, but not a $17 internet sparkle piece, either. Again, relative.

Statements like these are why kids feel like they need to spend more money. They know people will be saying "I wouldnt be caught dead in that dress" If as adults we act like this, just know that girls in high school are probably being way worse about it. Kind of gross for adults to act like that.
The girl that was prom queen my sophomore year flew to New York to get her dress, but she was super classy and went out of her way to help other girls that were less fortunate get dresses. (the only reason I know she went to New York was because her my sister were BFFs)

mom3girls's picture
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DP

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I'm sorry that you feel that my opinion on that particular dress is "gross". Its still my opinion, it is an ugly dress and you can tell its a terrible fabric Smile If you find all clothing and fabrics and sparkles equally attractive, good on you. If we all had the same taste what a boring world of fashion it would be. I'm pretty secure in my fashion taste so I'm cool with being called names for the particular style that I have.

I'd never have spent $500 on a dress in high school (had WAY different priorities for my hard earned money) but I would feel super rude calling you gross for doing so.

And Gloria, the styles I'm seeing on the few prom pictures that I see in my FB news feed are all long, up here. Pretty much across the board.

Joined: 05/13/02
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I know some go way overboard around here, and probably did when I was in high school as well. I went twice - my junior and senior years - and had a blast the second year (my boyfriend jr year was awful and we broke up right after prom because I was really sick and couldn't go to the post-prom beach trip). Back then short dresses were in, but I have to say that, based on pictures my friends posted on FB, long was the way to go this year.

I think my first dress was about $150, and my second dress was about $65. I kind of felt bad for the bigger girls, because the stores seriously carried about 2-3 different dresses in larger sizes - so there would be a bunch of them in the same dress. Now there seems to be a much better variety of pretty, flattering dresses.

mom3girls's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

I'm sorry that you feel that my opinion on that particular dress is "gross". Its still my opinion, it is an ugly dress and you can tell its a terrible fabric Smile If you find all clothing and fabrics and sparkles equally attractive, good on you. If we all had the same taste what a boring world of fashion it would be. I'm pretty secure in my fashion taste so I'm cool with being called names for the particular style that I have.

I'd never have spent $500 on a dress in high school (had WAY different priorities for my hard earned money) but I would feel super rude calling you gross for doing so.

And Gloria, the styles I'm seeing on the few prom pictures that I see in my FB news feed are all long, up here. Pretty much across the board.

You can go ahead and call me gross, I would too as an adult. In high school that felt super important, then I grew up a bit.
I dont know if I would wear any of those dresses, but I also wouldnt tell someone I wouldnt be caught dead in one, especially if that was what the parents or family could afford. The point of this debate is whether or not a dress is acceptable and has some modicum of class. It is about the message that prom sends to kids. If kids know that even adults, that are supposed to understand different finacial situations, are saying comments like I would not be caught dead in that then prom may be sending the wrong message.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

Frankly I wouldn't be caught dead in the blue sparkly $17 dress Bonita posted. So yeah, I think that I'm way better off looking better in a more expensive dress that has a modicum of style and class. Not necessarily the worlds most expensive dress, but not a $17 internet sparkle piece, either. Again, relative.

It is a good thing then that you can afford very expensive dresses. There are many, many people that can not. It is very possible to have a wonderful time in a dress that did not cost hundreds of dollars.

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"mom3girls" wrote:

You can go ahead and call me gross, I would too as an adult. In high school that felt super important, then I grew up a bit.
I dont know if I would wear any of those dresses, but I also wouldnt tell someone I wouldnt be caught dead in one, especially if that was what the parents or family could afford. The point of this debate is whether or not a dress is acceptable and has some modicum of class. It is about the message that prom sends to kids. If kids know that even adults, that are supposed to understand different finacial situations, are saying comments like I would not be caught dead in that then prom may be sending the wrong message.

I was replying specifically to THIS comment, which I had quoted, so it should have been quite clear.

As an adult, I know that it doesn't matter and if you can find a great deal, you are way better off than someone who spends thousands.

Obvs I would never ever spend thousands. I also don't think that the "great deal" is ALWAYS the best thing. That is all I was saying. Somewhere between $17 and ugly and super expensive there can be a happy medium of classy and flattering that probably every family could come up with. That was my only point......that the rock bottom deal may NOT always be best for every child. To me that dress was not acceptable and did not have some "modicum of class". I acknowledge that everyone will have their own opinion on that. There are no kids on this debate board, so frankly I am not tailoring my reply to them, I'm debating with my fellow women, and will continue to phrase my replies as such. I don't need to call you gross as it would not make me feel good about myself, but thank you for the offer.

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Posts: 4780

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

It is a good thing then that you can afford very expensive dresses. There are many, many people that can not. It is very possible to have a wonderful time in a dress that did not cost hundreds of dollars.

I never said a thing about what I can or would afford, other than to say that I would not spend $500 on a dress, so I will thank you not to make assumptions. Just because I dont think that that $17 number is pretty doesn't mean I can "afford very expensive dresses" Bonita so quit your assumptions. I spent $100 on a dress for a very dressy party for my husbands Christmas party this year and was THRILLED with my score, several friends have actually borrowed it since, its a fab dress.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

"Potter75" wrote:

that probably every family could come up with.

I think you might not be fully aware how many truly poor people there are out there. There are kids in my husband's school and other schools I have heard of that the only good solid meals they eat are the meals they get at school. There are families that scrape and scour just to have food on the table. It might take them saving all year long to save up $100 for prom. That includes dress and everything else. They might only have $25 for a dress. Your circle of friends might only include super wealthy people, but that is not all there is in the world.

ETA - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/us-poverty-census_n_1877197.html

"For last year, the official poverty line was an annual income of $23,021 for a family of four. By total numbers, roughly 46.2 million people remained below the poverty line, unchanged from 2010."

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1537

"Potter75" wrote:

I was replying specifically to THIS comment, which I had quoted, so it should have been quite clear.

Obvs I would never ever spend thousands. I also don't think that the "great deal" is ALWAYS the best thing. That is all I was saying. Somewhere between $17 and ugly and super expensive there can be a happy medium of classy and flattering that probably every family could come up with. That was my only point......that the rock bottom deal may NOT always be best for every child. To me that dress was not acceptable and did not have some "modicum of class". I acknowledge that everyone will have their own opinion on that. There are no kids on this debate board, so frankly I am not tailoring my reply to them, I'm debating with my fellow women, and will continue to phrase my replies as such. I don't need to call you gross as it would not make me feel good about myself, but thank you for the offer.

I understand that this is adults, that is why I am shocked that people would slam dresses that may be what kids could afford. Prom could very well be a very damaging message if girls thought they couldnt go and have fun without spending more money then what thier family could afford.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"AlyssaEimers;" wrote:

Your circle of friends might only include super wealthy people, but that is not all there is in the world.

Excuse me? I will refrain from engaging you any more on this subject, thank you.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

"Potter75" wrote:

Eh, I don't know, Rivergallery said it like it was a policy more about the principal than about grocery money. Most people I know would, over the course of the school year, be able to set aside, or find ways to put aside a few dollars here or there to save for some money for their child's prom dress if they wanted to. I will be honest and admit that maybe in other areas of the country one could find a fashionable dress for $25.....but around here that just is not realistic. I wouldn't want my child to feel like she was dressed utterly ridiculously just because I was unwilling to work hard, maybe babysit or sell some things on ebay, or do SOMETHING to help her look appropriate for an event that, like it or not, is an important event for many young girls. IF it were important to my daughter I would find a way, not to buy her a $1000 gown of course, but not to make her wear something out of the rag bin, either.

I agree with you but when I went to homecoming I decided the day before to even go so a lot of dresses were on sale. I found a pretty dress at Macy*s for $10 if you can believe it! Smile

My prom dress was almost $400, though, lol.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

Oh and I don't feel like prom sends a bad message. It's a fun time for people to get dressed up and feel fabulous. Nothing wrong with feeling fabulous, boy or girl!

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Melissa actually has a lot of friends outside of "super wealthy" people so I think that comment was uncalled for.

I definitely understand that a lot of people can't afford 100+ dresses. I do agree that there is a way to still fit your budget and not look tacky. Each area of the country also has a general sense of what they feel is in style. Short dresses vs. long. Sparkly vs. non sparkly. Bright colors vs. pastels etc. I would not feel comfortable sending a teenager (if I had one right now) in one of those dresses. I would seek out second hand stores that can have very expensive dresses from 1 season before that are cheap.

Around here, we also have lots of programs where truly in need people get to pick a free prom dress from donations. Dresses are GORGEOUS!

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

You know... I think there are huge differences between not liking a dress for its qualities and thinking no one can have fun unless they like the same dress you do.

So many assumptions going on.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

My daughter just went to her junior prom on the 4th. She wore one of my dresses from 2007. It cost me $60

Her shoes were $30
Hair & nails $50
Corsage (gift from Grandpa)
Bra $8
Ticket $65

I moved near the end of my junior year from a poor area to an affluent area. You would not believe the difference! Prom at my poor HS was $15/$20 couple for tickets. At the new HS $130/couple. I couldn't afford to go to the senior prom. There's just no way I could justify the cost as a senior or as a parent now.

My mom made my prom dress. The pattern itself wasn't that much but the fabric and all the other supplies can really add up. (funny thing-another girl at prom had the exact same dress!)

I wouldn't be against the idea of buying a dress on ebay, it's just that dress sizes are so different. I would have to try it on first. If I got one slightly too big my mom could alter it, but if it's too small, there is nothing I could do.

There's just something about pampering yourself and dressing elegant for a day. It can be done on a beer budget or champagne.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1537

"KimPossible" wrote:

You know... I think there are huge differences between not liking a dress for its qualities and thinking no one can have fun unless they like the same dress you do.

So many assumptions going on.

Assumptions maybe, or people pointing out the very attitude that can make the prom message damaging. This all started with Rivergallery saying what she would be willing to spend within her family budget, and people saying that there was not a way to fund a prom within that budget. That is where I pointed out that attitude.

Joined: 05/13/02
Posts: 414

There's a group called Dresses for Jake's Dates that I follow on FB. Their son Jake died due to SIDS. His mom had been mulling around the idea of starting a dress donation group before he passed away. One of her friends suggested she start it up as a way to honor him. It's so wonderful to see pictures of the girls looking beautiful in the dress and accessories they get to pick out.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1537

"mommydearest" wrote:

There's a group called Dresses for Jake's Dates that I follow on FB. Their son Jake died due to SIDS. His mom had been mulling around the idea of starting a dress donation group before he passed away. One of her friends suggested she start it up as a way to honor him. It's so wonderful to see pictures of the girls looking beautiful in the dress and accessories they get to pick out.

We had a group similar to this at my high school. It was great

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Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"mom3girls" wrote:

Assumptions maybe, or people pointing out the very attitude that can make the prom message damaging. This all started with Rivergallery saying what she would be willing to spend within her family budget, and people saying that there was not a way to fund a prom within that budget. That is where I pointed out that attitude.

I guess. But does that mean you have to like every dress? If you aren't saying anything mean or treating anyone differently at prom for having a dress you don't like then i don't think there is any harm. Or are we now saying that we all have to like the same clothes in order to be nice people.

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Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

"Jessica80" wrote:

Melissa actually has a lot of friends outside of "super wealthy" people so I think that comment was uncalled for.

I did not say that Melissa only had wealthy friends. I was responding to the attitude that anyone that cared about their child would find a way to work hard and get their child an expensive dress. Saying that most families can find a way to buy a dress that is well over $25 is just not true. There are families that can not, and I believe that it is hurtful to say otherwise.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

I think I would personally find it very difficult to find a dress at that price. But if someone else can do it and the daughter who has to wear it likes it, then I would call it a success for them.

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