Stop Asking Celebrities To Go To Prom With You

When Jacob Staudenmaier made a promposal video dedicated to actress Emma Stone–inspired entirely by the opening sequence of La La Land–he probably expected for it to go viral and nothing more.

Well, it worked, but that’s just the beginning of the story. Emma Stone saw the video and sent him a reply, which he relayed on national television during an interview with Good Morning America:

“Jacob, thanks for making the greatest proposal I have ever received. I can’t tell you what an honor that was and how much I smiled through that entire beautifully orchestrated video. I’m in London working, but I hope you have the best time at prom, and I’m grateful you thought of me. Thank you. P.S. I do see Gosling around the eyes. Love, Emma.”

In other words: Thanks, but no thanks. This sweet gesture was made sweeter when she sent him a corsage.

I’m sorry to be such a downer, but frankly, I don’t find this story quite as cute as the rest of the world seems to. And for the record, I wasn’t crazy about those promposals to Kate Upton, Selena Gomez, Zendaya, or Miley Cyrus either.

In all of the aforementioned examples, these women replied to their admirers in one way or another once the promposal went viral enough; hell, Kate Upton couldn’t make it, but sent a model who could. It’s kind of them, really, to personally acknowledge their fans; maybe they really were flattered! But it sort of sets a weird precedent. What happens when you’re a female celebrity who doesn’t take the time to reply to some viral promposal? Let’s be real: You’re probably going to come across as a bitch. If Selena Gomez can do it, why can’t you?

I’d like to bring up another point of ridiculousness about all of this that absolutely grinds my gears. Whether it’s Emma Stone’s excuse about working in London, or Kate Upton’s busy schedule, why are we acting as if these celebrities better have a good excuse for not spending a couple of hours at a stranger’s high school prom? If some random person online asked me to prom, I wouldn’t say, “Sorry, I have to work that day!” I would say, “Uh, cute, but who are you?” Why should a celebrity’s response be any different? Money and fame doesn’t make a stranger any more deserving of your time. I spotted a Twitter comment in response to Emma Stone’s message that said, “For an Oscar-winning actress such as Emma Stone to go out of her way and do this is a very nice gesture, some girls out there wouldnt [sic] care.” Sorry, is it every girl’s job to be totally accommodating to whoever shows them affection? This is the same kind of language that men use when women aren’t appreciative of street harassment.

Our society is quick to villainize women for… well, just about anything. Women who are sexually assaulted are regularly targeted for leading their attacker on. Women are blamed on murder sprees committed by scorned lovers, as seen in the wake of the recent Facebook killing. Can you believe I knew a girl in college who claimed that Rihanna deserved to get beat by Chris Brown because Caribbean girls have a smart mouth? If there’s a way to deflect blame from men and make it seem as if women are culpable in some way, shape, or form, people will do it.  So the fact that a celebrity would be a heartless bitch for not acknowledging a viral promposal? Not far out of the realm of possibility.

This might sound fake deep, but a sense of entitlement is another element of this story that makes this teen’s otherwise harmless attempt at going viral a little alarming. Would a certain number of hits or retweets prompt people to feel as if Jacob was entitled to a response from Emma Stone? Given our perverse approach to celebrity these days and the perception of closeness thanks to social media, the answer is: probably. But when all is said and done, nobody is entitled to a prom date. This is a lesson that Christopher Plaskon should have learned before he stabbed his classmate, Maren Sanchez, to death when she refused to go to prom with him. Was she a bitch too?

To be fair, there are girls who have made promposal videos to male celebrities as well, but they’re far and few between. Plus, I think our reactions to a teen girl’s promposal to a male celebrity would be seen much differently than a teen boy’s promposal to a female celebrity. Teen girls already get a bad reputation for being fannish; their enthusiasm is mocked, they’re reduced to braindead stans, obsessive weirdos. Teen boys? Their enthusiasm is seen as endearing and sweet because it’s more rare for a guy to put his heart on his sleeve. A teen girl asking Zayn Malik to prom needs to get a life. A teen boy asking Ariana Grande to prom is low key cute. For whatever reason, there’s something about lovelorn men that grips at our heartstrings, while lovelorn women make us roll our eyes.

I say all this to say that asking celebrities to prom, especially female celebrities, plays into a lot of weird, gendered dynamics; even if the intent isn’t malicious. So please, stop asking celebrities to prom and ask someone who won’t feel obligated to curve you as a nice PR move. I’m sure there’s a girl in your AP literature class who is a lot more available than Kylie Jenner. Just remember…she’s not entitled to fawn over your promposal either.

What do you think about asking celebrities to go to prom with you? Is it harmless or signs of a deeper issue? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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