All Insider Posts
September 18, 2016
By Serena Bernal, Metea Valley
Recently a friend of mine told me she was going to buy a homecoming dress for $400. Following a very audible gasp, I asked simply, “Why?”. To which she responded, “I’m only going to be a junior at homecoming once!”. Nowadays, the preparation for a homecoming dance has become so extravagant that there are few differences from the preparation of a wedding. The homecoming checklist seems to be never ending. Girls have their her hair and makeup done, set out to buy a new dress and shoes, find a date, make reservations at a restaurant, coordinate an after party, and so much more… all for what? My question is; what is the significance of this dance, and why are high schoolers so obsessed with it?
The subsurface answer is that we are overintersted in homecoming because of the large value we place in material possession, and although I do believe this does play some part in it, I can’t agree that this is the only reason homecoming is such a hit in America.
I hypothesize that the real reason teenagers are so insistent on their attendance of this awfully stressful dance is the same reason that teenagers in the 1980s were so adamant about going to their Sadie-Hawkins dance– going to the dance makes you “cool”.
Peer pressure, the age old causation of so many social oddities yet again makes its mark on cultural references in regards to homecoming. Let’s put it into context, though– all of your friends are going to homecoming and have dates, except you. How would you feel? If you would feel embarrassed, sad, or isolated, you really aren’t alone. However, these negative emotions would most likely motivate you to attempt to reverse them, and an easy fix would just be to go to homecoming. The attendance of your peers pressures you to go to the dance with them, proving that the importance of homecoming is situated in the verification of teenage normalcy. It is the “normal” teenage occurrence to go to homecoming with a date. If you are someone who doesn’t go to homecoming with a date or to the dance in general, you are considered “out of place”.
The pinnacle of homecoming attendance is motivated by a justification of customs. Girls and boys alike are willing to spend $200 or more in order to fit in. The trend of wanting to be accepted is nothing new, of course. However, I raise a new question. How can we convert the tension of a typical homecoming into a one that is more profitable for all? The resolutions are basic. Erase the stigma that teenagers need to go with a date, and furthermore, erase the stigma that someone’s presence is mandatory. Homecoming truly isn’t life or death. Although, admittedly, it is a wonderful experience, it most definitely isn’t the end-all-be-all to one’s existence.
So, if you attend homecoming or not, remember that your being doesn’t bank on the dance. No matter what you do on the day of your homecoming, whether it be wearing the new dress you bought, or lounging at home with some popcorn, as long as you maintain your own personal sense of comfort and happiness, you will be sufficient.
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