Does Prom send damaging messages?
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Thread: Does Prom send damaging messages?

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default 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.
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    Opinion: The damaging messages of proms - CNN.com
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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.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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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.

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    Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013


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    Posting Addict Rivergallery's Avatar
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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.
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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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    Quote Originally Posted by Rivergallery View Post
    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.

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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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    Quote Originally Posted by Potter75 View Post
    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.
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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'
    Last edited by KimPossible; 05-13-2013 at 03:23 PM.

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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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