Prom dress page raises inherent sexism

Jenna Herz

The description for the RHS Prom Dresses 2016 page reads: “For RHS junior and senior girls (and invited underclassmen). Please post what you think your final dress will be! (And if you already posted another one, please delete the old post.) Seniors get priority! Let’s keep the prama to a minimum.” The page sprung up the night of Jan. 23, over three months before prom.

The page features pictures of junior and senior girls in their chosen dresses, as well as screenshots of dresses that girls hope to receive soon in the mail.

The Redwood Prom Dress page, although possibly well-intentioned, is inherently sexist. It pits girls against each other and re-enforces the idea that girls must spend lots of money on a one-time dress that is unique––but not too unique, god-forbid your dress is too “out there”––while boys can rent tuxedos for a night and all look relatively similar.

Not only is it ridiculous to forbid the repetition of a dress at a dance of over 600 kids, it’s close to impossible. There are many out-of-school invitations to our prom. These students have no access to our prom dress page. What would happen if one of them showed up in a repetitive dress?

Prom Dress
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This page also discriminates against those at our school that can’t afford to buy a prom dress. Prom dresses range from expensive to very expensive; this page broadcasts girls’ personal wealth through screenshots of dresses on the page show prices in the hundreds. Undoubtedly, those having to wear an old dress or buy an inexpensive one will face feelings of inadequacy and isolation.

We live in a generation of repeats. So many of us wear hip-hugging leggings and bleached white vans to school, so why should prom be any different? Why, all of a sudden, do we care about individuality?

Those in support of the page think that being the first one to buy a dress makes them sole owner of it. Not only is it extremely unlikely that you will be the only person with your dress at the prom, but it is impossible that no person’s dress will look like yours. The prom dress page is filled with hundreds of simple colored dresses that look almost exactly the same. Even if people don’t have the same exact dress, odds are there will be dozens of dresses at prom that look very similar to yours.

I’m not the only one who sees the ridiculousness in this page. Posts and comments on the page such as “What is the point of this? and “Does anyone care if someone else has the same dress?” have racked up many likes. This show that there is support for the disbanding of this absurd page.

Prom is intended to be one of the greatest nights of your high school life. Now, this page is turning it into a dog show: a fight for the prettiest, one-of-a-kind dress. We need to stop focusing on the dress, and start focusing on the night. People should be allowed to wear whatever they want to prom, no matter if someone else is wearing it. With this page it seems that “keeping the prama to a minimum” is pretty unrealistic. The only way this prama will go away is if we scrap this page altogether and all just showed up to prom in whichever dress we wanted to.