Regardless of how different it might be growing up as a teenager in today's world of internet, social media and technology, prom still remains a milestone event in a teen's life. Some of us think back on prom with fond memories while others are embarrassed to look at their pictures.
With the internet today it is also very likely that your prom picture will resurface some day as Michelle Obama recently experienced on an episode of Ellen. "That split was a little high," Obama said when a photo showing her in a metallic gold gown was displayed. "I don't know if I'd let my kids go out in a split that high, so let's not show this to Malia and Sasha."
For some teens prom signifies the end of high school and the beginning of a new era. Other teens see it simply as a fun and fancy way to celebrate high school life and friendship.
The term "prom" comes from the word "promenade," a march of guests into a ballroom to announce the beginning of a formal event or ball. It is interesting to note that prom has actually been around for a long time and many religions and ethnicities actually have a similar coming of age type of event.
Evidence of the first high school proms, however, was not recorded in high school yearbooks until the 1930s and 1940s. The first prom was actually a replication of debutante balls, which were common among the upper classes where girls who were entering a certain stage of adolescence. These women "came out" into the dating scene to meet appropriate suitors their parents had selected. Proms were created by parents as less expensive affairs where teens could meet in their finest clothes to share dinner while learning social etiquette.
Over the years, proms have definitely become more elaborate, not to mention pricey with the average couple spending up to $1000 in some cases. Teens not only have more access to information today, but they are also very savvy and wise beyond their years. Prom is one of the times in a teens life where they are looking for information to lose weight, get in shape and are heavily influenced by their peers and pop culture.
One of the over-arching differences of a teen today vs one years ago is the ease in which information can be accessed online. A recent study conducted at the University of Haifa has linked Facebook use to eating disorders, finding that "the more teenage girls are involved in Facebook, the higher their risk of having a negative body image and developing eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia." With the ease in which teens today can obtain information, the pressures to look good are more intense than they were years ago.
Some schools have started enforcing dress codes on what girls can and cannot wear to prom. Rather than tell girls what they can or cannot wear, it's better to educate them on their bodies and self confidence.
Many teens are looking for information on what dresses to get, how to lose weight and what to eat. Rather than approach it from a standpoint of "here is what you cannot do," approach it in a way that they can relate to and will listen to.
See prom as a gateway to a lifetime of fitness.