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Politicizing Prom

Updated on May 31, 2017
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School politics, to its culprits and victims, has been wreaking havoc on the academic, social, and even moral disposition of the studentry. This fellow who audaciously exposed what most unconsciously or deliberately ignore as an important matter deserves more publicity, especially in our school environment. To be honest, if one of my peers come across and read the article, fingers crossed that instead of feeling accused or victimized, he should instead ponder on the relevance of the issue to his context, possibly also the detriments entailed by the politics. (You may read the article here: http://opinion.inquirer.net/102956/promageddon-politics-prom)

There were several points raised in the article:



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1. The essence of prom has been reduced to an instagrammable promposal.

Imagine the months-long anticipation, coupled by gossips everywhere before the prom night. Who dates who? What is he wearing? Is he attending? Students couldn’t care less about indulging in other students’ prom affairs, especially promposals. Perhaps the most appropriate term, gossip is the highlight pre and post-prom. Although small talks and casual hellos and his are inevitable, students get deep in wanting to know just about everything about everyone’s prom affairs. “The simple, underlying truth about the prom is that it has evolved into something of a status symbol." The sheer and perplexing motive behind gossiping is the students’ unspoken habit of comparing themselves with their peers. Is my date hotter? Is my promposal picture perfect? Do I get a great deal of Facebook and Instagram likes? All these are measuring sticks that students believe determine their status quo.

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2. Bandwagon is subtly becoming the standard, and one will be left out or behind if he doesn’t conform

A pressing question among those critical to this seemingly evolved “coolture” is the rationale behind the students’ weirdly meticulous treatment to promposing and informing their peers about this and other details of his prom affairs. Could it be because of peer pressure? Quasi-chivalry? Or a forced theatrical stunt intended to earn the nods of the peers, again for status quo? Surely, some are meant to woo and impress the promspect. But it has become more of a demand, a tainting norm, that ought to be done, otherwise, one will be an outcast, a school pariah, the weirdo. Aside from the possible reasons mentioned earlier, one might say that it is safe to assume that most people are simply promposing due to the fact that others are doing the same. Here we see some sort of lethal, social conformity. The guys promposing send a message to the entire female community that they should be expecting the same from other guys who are interested in "asking" them to be their date. Why go through all the tedious process when the reason is simply to conform? Where is the authenticity in asking a girl to prom in such a manner? How would one know if someone is promposing for the reason of showing how worthy the promposer thinks his promspect is? And that the reason is not because "it is because others are also doing it, and so I'm thinking you expect the same from me." All that concern only the males' side. The females, on the other hand, fail to practice discretion, but this is often what occurs. It's not that flaunting about promposals is a bad thing, it simply continues the perpetual cycle of the typical events in social media. But one should, or even must question-- why can't the girl just keep the promposal between her and the one promposing? Some see promposing as an opportunity to become “cool” or retain their status.

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3. Everyone inevitably conforms to and through social media.

I come from a gender-exclusie school for boys, and social media nowadays makes it much easier for us to communicate with our female counterparts of whose school is actually just a block away from our campus. There are so much around us that compel us to just go with the flow, and despite the division between us boys and girls, the gossip never seems to end now that it's all but a few taps away on the mobile screen. Now, with the influence of social media, everyone wants to attain a certain level of identification since they get to see what's going on with other people's lives. But one may agree that it's actually more of compliance instead of being identified. According to Kelman (1958), compliance occurs "when an individual accepts influence because he hopes to achieve a favourable reaction from another person or group... he expects to gain specific rewards or approval and avoid specific punishment or disapproval by conformity" (p. 53). The difference between compliance and identification is that the latter simply means that an individual conforms to what is expected of him based on his obligations or social role. Compliance, on the other hand is done to gain group acceptance, but in private the complier does not even agree with the group he is conforming to, and so…

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4. ...It's time to wake up.

One should be clear on where he stands; he should voice out his thoughts, know how to justify himself. If he simply submits to whatever the majority agrees on, then he is rendering himself a slave to what others think. Surely one should conform from time to time since if not one would gradually become alienated, but one should also know how to stand firmly for what he truly believes in, in such a way that others won't ostracize you. It's not self-esteem or arrogance, it's self-respect in this case. All we want is some immersion or involvement in what we indulge in, and we do this from the world of reality, not thinking, or forgetting, that whatever we do in the intangible dimension of social media will just stay there. It is because of that fact that our indulgence in social media is all but a false sense of involvement that always concurs with the illusion of instant gratification. We enslave ourselves to social media. I think it would be stupid to say that we have to change, since once a culture is assimilated it can only be reduced or altered into another that is closely similar to it. Given the social trend of peer pressure affecting what used to be a simple and traditional occasion, but is now more like a celebrity gala, we should start first with being aware of our own actions when it comes to social media. To be honest, the issue is too abstract for it to have any concrete solution, but one should know that he or she has the say and power over their decisions. Just consider how the world and the coming generations would become if they were to be exposed and raised knowing that reality lies in mobile screens, and not what they should be thinking of and seeing away from the screens. The internet is like a vice; it’s influence naturally coerces one to pose him or herself as some kind of famous, tryhard, entity hoping to gain some sort of entitlement.

In summary prudence and a consistent awareness of reality should be considered in everything one does on social media, and this is sadly mistaken for the urge to tap the button in order to gain some kind of leverage or advantage in this world where peer pressure can be felt even from the screens.

References

Sy, S. (2017, April 04). Promageddon: the politics of prom. Retrieved May 21, 2017, from http://opinion.inquirer.net/102956/promageddon-politics-prom

McLeod, S. (2016). What is Conformity?. Retrieved May 19, 2017, from https:// www.simplypsychology.org/conformity.html

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© 2017 Corvo Attano

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