Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Prom prom prom prom, PRROOOMM!

I had never thought of prom as being so dynamic. When Amy Best mentions that prom is organized as part of a school, but also as a response to school, it really got me thinking. I went to three proms during the course of high school, and I agree with this statement. Everyone pushed the limits at prom to see what they could get a way with- revealing dresses, bringing drugs to prom, showing up drunk, dancing in a lewd way. For the most part, the administrators at my school let a lot of things slide, simply because we were seniors and they felt we deserved a night with less strict guidelines than normal.

I also think Amy Best painted an accurate picture of the process it takes to get ready for prom. Just like in the readings, boutiques and stores in my area would not let 2 girls from the same school purchase the same dress. It was such a hassle- limousines were standard, you had to have your nails done, hair done, spray tan, gorgeous dress and stunning shoes, or you were pitied. Also, there is so much pressure about who your date is, what party you’re going to before and after, how much everything cost, how skinny or fat you look. It really was almost unbearable. I know I watched what I ate for several weeks before prom, and my senior prom dress cost $230. I absolutely believe the statistic given that the average cost of prom is $500, and I have seen many girls whose family could not afford that kind of expense sacrifice and spend money they did not have in order to rise to the pressures of prom and its expectations. It is not so much a celebration of almost being done with senior year, but more a contest of who can look the best and flaunt the most affluence.

In the on-line book about proms and schools, I thought it was very interesting that Kehily pointed out that in sex education classes there is so much that is taught on how to be cautious, watch for STDs, practice safe sex, etc, but nothing about the emotionality of relationships, or as she points out, the vulnerability young girls feel. I think a lot of problems could be solved if there was an open discourse about the emotions young people go through in their first few relationships. If girls could talk about the pressures they feel, then perhaps those pressures could be dealt with more effectively, and girls could be stronger and more confident when making decisions. The same goes for young men- perhaps young people as a whole could better understand how their behaviors, fears, hopes, and expectations effect one another if it were a mandatory part of the sex education curriculum to discuss the emotional aspects of relationships.

I was so inspired by “Have Cycle, Will Study”! It seems such a simple solution- give bikes to women who live too far away from high school to continue their education. I was a little confused when I read that the families were asked for a deposit, but it also makes sense because it causes the families to be responsible with the bikes and gives girls an incentive to finish class 10. I am so pleased that something as uncomplicated as a bike is helping to fight illiteracy in these villages. It makes me want to donate my bike to them!

In Red, I felt like I could really relate to the girls’ stories. The desire to want to be popular, what it’s like when you’re not part of the “cool” kids’ group, etc. I really liked Laura Lowe’s story, because she rose above being ridiculed by her classmates Christopher and Alisandra, and knew the value of her education. I also identified with her need to do something physical to get out her teen angst, I played a lot of sports in high school and I think that really helped with giving me an outlet for my emotions. I found some of the stories eye opening, discussing the different atmospheres and learning conditions between public and private schools, how they can get off or on track with school based on the encouragement of teachers or drama in their social life. Let me know if anyone else feels this way, but I don’t envy these girls. I say that because I remember how hard it was to be in the middle of growing up, as a girl, as a teenager, with a changing body, changing friends, changing future, to face the unknown. It was terribly scary and I am so glad I do not have to repeat some of the things of my girlhood. I know I’ll always continue to change, but I’m glad that most of the hard-learned lessons are over with. Props to these girls- they rule.

1 comment:

Jo-Anne said...

I am so with you on being glad that those years are behind me. I really believe that a lot of young people do turn to drugs, alcohol, and other behaviors because they want so deperately to fit in somewhere. If they do not have a good foundation at home, they will find it somewhere else. Because I did not go to the prom, I cannot comment on pushing it to the limit, but I did get involved with other behaviors in school. I can tell you that pushing the limits was an everyday occurence but we got away with it.Too many students to worry about what some of them were doing. Maybe we just wanted someone to pay attention.