Will You Publicly Go To Prom With Me?

Kristina Mensik Staff Writer Public prom askings. The source of many a  “yes,” hesitant or enthusiastic. In past years, this bold gesture has been banned at Latin, a ruling that is a source of debate among Latin teachers and students. On one side, the opinion is that they turn into a source of competition among male students, over enforce the image that prom dates must be boy and girl, or are simply “inappropriate for the school setting.” On the other, the feeling is that public prom askings are simply fun and noncompetitive—its an opportunity for the “asker,” whether boy or girl, to be creative, the “asked” to feel special, and amusing to watch.  Each side maintains valid points. The root of the problem with public prom askings is not so simple. At its core lies the conflict over gender rights and equality. Firstly, the tradition that a boy asks a girl is one that many view as not only offensive to women but to non-heterosexual couples.  Why is it that a boy must ask a girl in the twenty-first century, not the days of horse and buggy? Although Latin and its students attempt to project the kind of atmosphere where a girl asking a boy, a boy asking a boy, or a girl asking a girl is accepted, it is almost unheard of actually happening. “Why is it that girls don’t ask boys?” Ms. Warren, Upper School math teacher teacher questioned. “Why don’t boys ask boys? Why don’t girls ask girls? They can, but the reality is that they don’t.” The question to ask here is whether prom and the askings are the issue, or if it just allows a pathway for other issues to be recognized. Although prom brings the issue of overall equality of students to light, many choose not to look into the aspect that the real problem may simply be with the way the student body treats one another. If prom discourages women’s power and non-heterosexual couples, what at Latin can encourage it? Prom, it seems, is where these issues are made visible, not where they are developed. In the meantime, students seem to consider prom and public askings to be plain fun. As undeniable as “prom stress” seems to be, most students seem to enjoy the entire process leading up to the big night. “I haven’t been asked to prom yet,” one student said. “But I love hearing about all the dates and how they were asked! There is no jealousy involved.”  If this is the attitude held by most students about prom and the askings, it makes sense for the school to reconsider the “no public askings” policy. Whether girls, boys, or both turn the heads of the student body in a daring of comedic move, it at least allows a break in the monotony of the typical school day.]]>