Prom’s place at ASL

I’m not going to lie, I love a cute and romantic promposal as much as the next person. However, my love affair with prom ends there: I despise the event and all the values it teaches us. 

The most obvious issue that many people bring up about prom is that, at least from what I’ve witnessed over the past few years, it is always the male students who ask the female students. Most people do criticize this but don’t really think much more about it.

When more carefully examined, there is something even more inherently disturbing about this particular courting process, a process in which male students get to ask, and therefore are the ones who choose their dates. When a guy asks a girl to prom it’s considered romantic, but if a girl were to try the same thing, she would be seen as desperate. Alternatively, if a guy doesn’t ask a girl to prom, or if he doesn’t do it in a “creative” enough way, he is somehow a terrible person because all of the sudden, promposals determine one’s character.

Meanwhile, females are almost always expected to say “yes,” allowing the men to simply come in and claim them. Additionally, this tradition makes prom a first come first serve situation.

In short, female students wait for whichever male decides to ask first, to come in and make her his, regardless of her feelings toward him. That doesn’t mean she won’t complain about it though, as the lament, ‘I hope my date looks good on social media’ is often heard from both sides.

Admittedly, I have no personal pain regarding the situation being that my gender is the one favored by it, but I know how angry I would be if the roles were reversed.

Apart from promoting blatant sexism, there is a whole other aspect of prom that I take issue with. This stems mainly from how the importance of prom paraphernalia is stressed. Kids are expected to stuff themselves into dresses and tuxedos, ones that are usually expected to be of high quality, or else we don’t really care about our dates. And although, unfortunately, I am not part of the infamous girls’ dress Facebook group, many female friends of mine have mentioned the extremely judgemental ethos of the group regarding girls checking the price tags of others’ dresses, or flat out judging the girl for her preference of aesthetics. Additionally, we are expected to buy our dates some sort of wearable floral arrangement, which is also expected to be expensive and, being that everyone buys them, in my opinion rather impersonal. To top it all off, the kids then hop into a limousine to ride to the actual event in a move that basically screams, ‘look how much money our parents have’.

But what does all of this say about what it means to be a good partner? That you’re only a suitable match for someone if you buy an expensive tuxedo (that all look the same), dress, or corsage? Or is it if that he or she doesn’t have a limousine to ride in they’re not properly cared for and their partner, therefore, has failed regardless if they sensibly decided this particular vehicle is a tad too flashy. Maybe even, shockingly, I know, maybe their parents don’t have their own reserve to splash out on a vehicle in this price range?

Prom goes against everything ASL stands for in the way it promotes patriarchal values  and superficiality, and, not to mention, the extremely exclusive nature of the event as not everyone is asked to prom. Surely there must be a way to still have a nice formal event that doesn’t carry so many detrimental side-effects.

May brings us prom, and prom brings us adorable promposals and a few nice pictures we can look back on when we’re older. Besides that, it doesn’t bring us much.