Prom Season, Part 1: What the Sexy Prom Dresses?!
By Erika Davidoff
It's prom season! Time for high school girls across the country to find dates, book dinners with friends, take insane amounts of pictures, and wear the most exposing dresses they can find.
Yes, gone are the days where all girls showed up to prom looking like Disney princesses. Though it's definitely not like every 18-year-old everywhere has decided to bare her three Bs (that's back, butt, and breasts, for those of you not up on the current high school dress-code lingo), there's a disturbing trend towards very revealing, sexualized getups.
Elizabeth Holmes, of the Wall Street Journal , documents some school officials' reactions to this growing phenomenon, describing presentations and pamphlets banning "low-slung backs, thigh-high slits and midriff-bearing cutouts" - the sort of features girls 15 years ago would never have thought to wear on prom night.
"For prom this year, girls want short and poofy or long, tight-fitting, with everything cut out -- the sides are gone, the back is gone, the front is basically gone," says Nathan Vaknin, manager of Brooklyn dress store Fiesta Ladies Fashion, in a New York Post article . "Personally, I think it's too much, but we sell whatever puts money in our pocket. The parents might say no at first, but I don't think anyone can convince these girls to get a dress besides the one they really want."
Why has this blatant oversexualization become a trend? Why are dresses like the ones in this slideshow selling so well? Catherine Moellering, the executive vice president of ToBe Report and an expert prom trend tracker, suggests that shows like Real Housewives and Dancing with the Stars, as well as all of the media attention devoted to runways at awards shows like the Oscars, is at least partly to blame.
"This whole idea of the red-carpet obsession and getting dressed up is at the forefront of our culture," she told BuzzFeed. "The idea that [award show] coverage comes on TV three hours before the show even starts — that's something new."
Teenage girls are inundated with pictures of stars and models in fancy - and sometimes provocative - dresses: on the covers of magazines, on two-page spreads inside magazines, on the internet, in advertisements. With dress designers willing to produce anything for a profit, and huge online stores willing to sell anything for a profit, girls feel pressured to forego a more modest look for something that resembles the celebrities they see and, hopefully, makes them stand out from the crowd.
“Girls just feel the more you show, the better everything is,” high school senior Carrie Strickland told the Wall Street Journal. Of course they do – everywhere they look, they’re being told that sex sells. They’re seeing images of women in objectifying positions, baring their legs, their backs, even their breasts in order to sell a product. If sex appeal is acceptable in ads for fitness (like Equinox) or jeans (Calvin Klein), then surely, girls subconsciously think, it’s appropriate for prom.
This is something we can impact, though. If you feel like your daughter, or your friends, or the girls in your life are looking a little too risqué, talk to them about it. Get their opinion. Above all, help ensure that they remember prom for the fun and the friends, not for how much they were able to look like Snooki