British teens are re-creating American proms in their style

The prom is now a common feature in British Schools, marking the end of the summer term. The high school prom is a celebration that transcends religious observances usually associated with rites of passage.

The cost of attending a high-school prom can be quite expensive. The costs associated with buying an outfit, renting a limousine, and adding accessories are estimated to range between PS200-PS1,500 for each attendee. In the UK, proms are usually for students who are leaving secondary school. However, dances at primary schools and dances for children leaving the nursery have become more common.

The proms we know today originated in America in the 1950s. However, debutante balls were common in America in the 18th Century. Around 15 years ago, hops started to take place in the UK. They have grown increasingly popular.

My colleagues and I conducted research that showed there were different “versions” of the prom. There is no universal way to organize a dance, not even in the US.

American television shows and movies depict a certain type of prom, which includes matching buttonholes for girls and boys, a “prom theme,” dining, dancing, and crowning a prom queen and king. The reality is often quite different.

Due to wealth gaps, for some Americans, prom night is just a dance at the school, while for others, it’s a prelude to a weekend with their friends at their parent’s lake house. The pre-election of the prom queen, who is usually chosen at the event, can be likened to the campaign of the US president. Financial and social support are key factors in success.

The British way

The research that my colleague Pete Nuttall and I conducted at the University of Bath showed that proms are more egalitarian. If there is a prom king or queen, they are usually the ones who have made a significant contribution to school life. It can be based on charitable works, but it can also be an intangible award. This is often given to people who are consistently good-humored and have a positive impact on others.

The prom organizing committee will usually decide if there should be a prom queen or king at an event. Teachers can be on the organizing committee, but it is generally made up of students who volunteer to serve. The committee makes decisions for their prom. They often reflect their style but limit the budget.

This decision-making may be controversial. Some students and committee members want proms like those in American films, but others wish for hops that reflect their national and personal identity. Scottish attendees, for example, wear traditional clothing such as kilts while participating in Scottish country dances.

Although Scottish proms may feature this traditional dance, they are more like an American prom than a Scottish prom. The dress is as important for girls as it is at a wedding. Girls use strategies to ensure that no two dresses look the same. For example, they post photos of dresses to social media in advance to avoid faux pas.

The Scottish prom attendee is more interested in the glamour and tradition of the prom compared to their American counterparts.

Stopping mischief

Proms can have a darker side. In the US, there are many measures taken to stop “misbehaviour,” such as underage alcohol consumption. In the US, parents often serve as chaperones. Sometimes, there are lockdowns where children are kept at school until 6 a.m., engaged in various activities so that their families can collect them. In the UK, there have only been a few reports about these preventative measures.

Not everyone can make it to their prom. In the US, the “morp” is a prom done backward for those who prefer to celebrate the event less formally. The possibilities are usually less formal and don’t require you to have a date. They also do away with some of the more extravagant rules or extravagances of a traditional American prom.

Some research suggests people who choose to resist prom night end up spending more on their weddings in later life. One interviewee said that he invited 300 guests to his wedding because he felt like he missed out on the prom experience by not attending in his late teens.

The prom can be a source of tension and conflict among family members. For example, separated or divorced couples may argue over how much to spend on the night. Media portrayal of proms is often exaggerated, unnecessary, expensive, and a disproportionate way for students to leave secondary school. The research that I am conducting with my colleagues at the universities of Bath and Lancaster shows that proms are a ritual that can be beneficial to students as they transition out of formal education. It can be used by parents and teens who are financially disadvantaged to promote social inclusion, pro-social behavior, and higher educational goals.

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