As a high school teacher, I am privy to many strange adolescent activities, but there is nothing like the fluttering of prom season. Every year students wait for it, plan for it, dream of it, and every year it comes and it goes with a sea of limousines and multi-colored fabrics and flowers.
Though all of this is perennial and one grows accustomed to the excitement and whirlwind the prom creates, there is nothing to compare with the newest of adolescent incantations: the Promposal. Teenage boys are now required to ask females to the prom with a pomp and circumstance that rivals a wedding proposal. January through February now brings carefully lined up flowers that spell “Prom,” tea lights surrounding large posters that ask the question: “Will you go with me?”, and lockers filled with chocolate candies with wrappers instructing the young lady to go out to her car where she will find her boyfriend waiting with a dozen roses. This entire practice makes me sick to my stomach.
“I love it,” my coworker says as she opens her laptop. “These girls have power and they’re using it.” She smiles as I shake my head. She starts to type.
“I am not seeing how this shows strength at all,” I answer. I have now turned my body in her direction. My coworker is a strong woman. She speaks her mind, she stands her ground, she never backs down from a fight, so if she sees this as a power move, I am curious to know why.
“It shows that the boys have to jump through hoops to get them. If they want them to go, they have to do something special, to win them,” she adds.
“I still don’t see it,” I answer. “This jumping through of hoops just seems prissy and archaic.”
“No,” she answers. “It’s power. We have it and these girls are using it.”
At this moment, I am still questioning this. A woman’s right to make men do certain tasks to get what they want could be seen as power. It could also be seen as a chance to encourage the male/female hunt. Could Promposals be a great equalizer or just another way for girls to act like a prize to be won as opposed to a person in a relationship? Do we want to encourage our males to be with females who need to be put on a pedestal and jumped for instead of just asked and appreciated? Do we want to encourage our girls to be a product instead of a person who also wants to attend the same social event without all of the social conventions?