My high school didn’t believe in a prom king or a prom queen. When it came to prom night we literally showed up to the venue all dressed up, ate, danced and got the hell out of there so we could go to the after-party. That’s why I always viewed movies and TV shows that depicted dramatic prom queen and king reveals as, well, a bit of a joke, honestly. I wasn’t even all that positive that these characters really existed in real life until I actually talked to people outside of my high school.
Yes, prom king and queen still exists…and I want to know why.
Here’s what irks me about the concept of a prom king and a prom queen:
1) It’s a school sanctioned popularity contest.
The hierarchy of high school already has a tendency to be ridiculously cut throat. Who’s the hottest? Who’s the smartest? Who’s the nerdiest? All of these things unfortunately seem to matter when we’re in high school. We know which of our fellow students wield the most power and which are at the bottom of the totem pole. So for there to be a straight up contest amplifying these awful dynamics, complete with a crown and a round of applause, seems pretty strange. And aren’t schools trying to pretend like they care about the perils of popularity and bullying these days?
2) It takes away from what a glorified school dance that prom should be.
Because honestly, that’s all that prom is: A glorified school dance. You just smear more makeup on your face and maybe try to rent a limo with your friends. Otherwise, there isn’t much that’s all that different. So for there to be any focus on which two students are the kings and queens of a school dance…maybe it’s just me, but isn’t that a little hokey? And that’s saying a lot, because what school dance isn’t pretty hokey to being with?
3) It’s super heteronormative.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s really heartening to hear about queer and/or transgender students being crowned prom kings and prom queens. But the fact that these happenings end up becoming national news in the first place just emphasizes how hetero-centric these events are. Some schools won’t even allow trans students to run for prom kings/queen! How messed up is that? These competitions already suck, but to not be queer friendly either? No thanks.
I know that there are prom kings and queens out there who aren’t super hot, super straight or super able-bodied. It’s awesome to see people who don’t fit the status quo be awarded for their awesomeness and strength. But I still don’t see the point in supporting an outdated system that a lot of people don’t really seem to get much enjoyment out of. Can’t prom just be about the dressing up and the awkwardness of seeing your teachers on a weekend? It’s preferable to reinforcing crappy social hierarchies.
So what do you think? Should prom court stay or go?
How does/did prom court operate at your school? What are the pros and cons? Have you ever ran or won prom queen or king? Tell us in the comments!