If you grew up in the United States you are probably familiar with the premise of prom. Prom is a high school dance that occurs in the spring. Boys dress up in suits or tuxedos and girls dress up in formal gowns for the event. The night of prom includes a nice dinner, the dance, and sometimes a show or activity of some sort. You may know what prom is but do you know how it started?
Prom Night Meaning
Prom is short for promenade. Promenade is defined as the formal, introductory parading of guests at a party. This began in the mid to late 1800s at colleges and universities. In the Northeast part of the country it was started to promote social etiquette manners. Graduating seniors would promenade at the end of the school year’s co-ed banquets. In the 1800s schools would pride themselves on how nice their promenade event was compared to other universities. There are diary entries from students at Amherst, Smith, Yale, and Stanford colleges and the promenades that they would have. If another university had a promenade that was not up to the standards of other universities it would be talked about. As the tradition continued some schools added dances to the event as well. In addition to adding dances the tradition was also moved to younger ages. By the 1940s the dance as we now know it had taken hold across the country. In the 1950s high school proms started to be moved out of high school gymnasiums and into other venues like country clubs and hotels.
Which President Allowed His Daughter to Use The White House for Her High School Senior Prom?
Perhaps one of the most infamous locations for prom occurred in 1975. Gerald Ford was the President of the United States at the time. His daughter Susan Ford went to school at Holton-Arms School. Susan and her classmates convinced their headmaster and the President and First Lady to agree to host the prom at the White House. The prom was held in the East Room. Reporters from “People” magazine and the “Washington Post” newspaper were both in attendance covering the story.
Best Prom Movies
In the 1960s and 1970s there was not as much hype about school proms across the country. This is probably due to the cultural and political issues that were happening at that time. The 1980s brought the trend back with a vengeance though. The 1990s and the 2000s have continued the tradition full force. There have been tons of teen movies that have prom scenes in them. You can watch “Grease,” “Pretty in Pink,” “She’s All That,” “Never Been Kissed,” “Mean Girls,” and many more to catch a glimpse of their prom scenes.
Prom Cultural Debates
Prom dances have also had many different cultural debates surrounding them. Over the years students fought to have blacks attend prom with the white students; interracial couples attend prom; same-sex couples attend prom; and transgender students attending as well. There has also been so many inspiring stories of students with Downs Syndrome or other disabilities being elected as Prom King or Queen.
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