The Senior Prom: A Rite of Passage
The United States is known throughout the world to be a place in which there are many cultures and customs mixing and colliding. One thing that each culture has in abundance is rites of passage, whether it is Births, Bat Mitzvahs, Quinces, or graduation. Each right of passage is an event that signifies a transition in a person’s life. Senior Prom is a rite of passage for young men and women that is indicative of their transition from teenagers to young adults. It is meant to be a celebration of the high school experience; the last hurrah. A gathering of friends who have spent four years of their adolescence together, figuring out who they are as persons. The reason Prom has become such a rite of passage as opposed to just another dance, comes from the notion that it is an event that cannot be missed. When referring to the high school experience, prom and graduation are the two events that are most commonly brought up. They are universal to all graduated students, yet unique to each individual. The identity of the individual as being a part of their graduating class is why the prom is so important. Although prom is intended to be an all-inclusive experience, the event has become factionalized due to materialism, social status, and willingness to participate in consumption of alcohol.
The fact that prom has become commercialized is causing some to be excluded from certain aspects of the prom and sometimes from the entire prom event. The prom event is supposed to include everyone in the graduating class. But the increased prices and concentration on the material aspect is leaving out those who are unable to afford it. In Ann Anderson’s High School Prom: Marketing, Morals, and the American Teen, she points to prom magazines and other advertisers like Seventeen as the reason for commercialism in proms (119). She also states that the average amount spent for prom per...