Whether it was a wonderful experience or a terrible one, if you went to your high school senior prom, I am sure that it was a night to remember. For so many teenagers the prom is the highlight of high school. It is the one thing so many students look forward to. Many see it as a rite of passage into adulthood. For Amy L. Best, the author of "Prom Night: Youth, Schools, and Popular Culture", the prom is a perfect opportunity to explore teen identity and individuality. It is also a place to look at how this event speaks so much about today's kids.
Proms today have changed; they are much more upscale events. They no longer are held in school gymnasiums, but rather in luxury hotels, fancy catering halls, or high class country/beach clubs. They have multi-course sit down meals and are entertained by music professionals. Students no longer borrow their parents' cars; instead they rent lavish cars or limousines.
Even the dress is more extravagant, boys rent tuxedos and girls spent a fortune on the perfect dress which is usually an evening gown. Proms are not just a one night thing anymore either. After the prom is over, some students set off to a weekend of celebrating. The weekend is unsupervised and involves both males and females. For some, it is the first time going away without their families.
Amy Best interviews numerous teens about their prom experiences. To better understand today's teens, she looks at the popular media, finding that the prom is an industry in itself. There are magazines dedicated to preparing for the prom and movies and television shows whose themes are prom-oriented. Clothing stores and services (limousines, hair stylists, nail salons, etc.) that also join in on the prom market.
While the prom...