Prom is the climax of the high school social scene in popular media. Movies, songs, etc., refer to prom constantly, but how does the prom experience differ for each gender?
Prom varies greatly in expense between the genders. Males traditionally rent a tux, drive to the dance and pay for dinner. Females are expected by most people to buy a new dress and do their makeup, nails, hair, etc. Obviously not all people follow these generalizations, but these expectations differ greatly.
Prom dresses are exorbitantly expensive, and some cost hundreds of dollars. This — alongside getting their nails done, hair appointments and spray tans — reveals the unbelievable cost for high school girls.
High school boys have to rent their tux, usually pay for dinner and usually drive. Paying for the meal can be of great expense, but usually the friend group decides where to go. I have heard of some groups going to IHOP while others to the Chop House, so the price ranges greatly.
Corsages and boutonnières are usually bought for each other, but sometimes one person will buy both.
Every high school prom experience is unique, so the combinations of these tasks are unlimited. The societal expectations still exist and pervade high school tradition.
Much like throughout all of history, women are expected to put effort into their outward appearance. In a way, prom is a microcosm of the societal standards placed on the genders.
I believe that the pressure and stress surrounding prom should be alleviated because the purpose of the event is to have fun with your friends. I have observed a great difference in expectations for boys and girls attending, and girls should not feel pressured to have to go all out with the event. If they want to, that is their right.
Prom has some interesting features that have been created by sexism throughout history, and it is intriguing to see the remnants of the societal conventions of the past. When pondering this, imagine a formal cotillion or débutante.
Acknowledging the differences of experience and expectation is important, and it leads to an appreciation of the effort people put into going to prom.