Because I'm apparently in the mood to bitch, here's something I just saw that I wanted to complain about, but was too long for a post comment.http://acidcow.com/pics/9496-the-most-hilarious-prom-photos-91-pics.html
I forget who posted this on Facebook, someone in my stream - but I use FB as one of my "public" faces, so lots of people follow me and I don't have any idea who they are. I don't even remember why I followed it, but now I'm sorry I did.
I was expecting this to be something like people doing stupid things that I could laugh at like obviously-staged silly pictures intended for comedy. I ended up being confused as to why most of the pictures were there, and then angry as I surmised why those pictures were there.
First of all, the vast majority of pictures are of people in elaborate duct tape outfits. There was a contest of sorts a while back for making prom-type outfits out of duct tape. Having made a duct tape outfit myself, I find these to be admirable and, frankly, some are pretty stunning. Maybe they're not always character or color choices I might have gone with, personally, but there was clearly a lot of skill and effort involved in the costuming. Also, it wasn't the prom. So I was confused about these.
Then there were a lot of pictures of, well, the only term I have to describe it is insulting, but it's ghetofabulous. They're pictures of black girls wearing extremely sexy, barely-there dresses that are nevertheless obviously intended to be "dressy" dresses and black guys wearing those suits that look like 2 men could hide inside of with baggy pants and oversized jackets that go down to the knee. So after an initial reaction of "what kind of parent would let their teenager out of the house in an outfit like that?", I immediately felt ashamed at the slut-shaming knee-jerk reaction and started looking at the pictures. Other than being barely-there on the girls, the dresses were of expensive materials & they looked about as dressy as any Hollywood starlet at an awards ceremony. The guys were all dressed suitably to the same level of dressy (no jeans & flip-flops or anything), so other than style preference, there wasn't anything wrong with these either.
There were a couple of pictures of pregnant women in formals and couples with small children equally dressed up and clearly about to attend the prom with their parents too. First was the head-shaking at the idea of young teens having kids of their own, but since class & religion have all but made that inevitable in this country, I was actually quite proud of the schools for allowing the teen parents to bring their children to the prom, rather than leaving the kids at home with a sitter or the grandparents. I'd like to see more support for teen parents in our educational system (although that "support" includes better access to sex education, healthcare, & alternative options for teen pregnancy).
Dressing the kids up to match the formality of the event, or dressing formally while pregnant in a way that doesn't hide the pregnancy (and in some cases, accentuates it) is totally appropriate. For the kids, it includes them in the event, and for the belly dresses, it is one more example of not conforming to society's standards of beauty & celebrates something that is part of the human condition. I am child-free and have no personal desire to be pregnant, and I often rant about bad parents, but parents *should* be proud to be parents and we as a society should get past this narrow view of beauty and learn to celebrate the human body in all its forms.
Next, I saw a couple of group photos where the groups had coordinated their outfits to match fabric pattern, although dress style was unique. I don't see a problem with this at all. When I was in 8th grade, we had our own "graduation dance" that was a kids' version of a prom. My 2 best friends and I did not share with each other what our dance dresses were going to be. I think we all wanted it to be a secret so that we didn't duplicate dresses and we ended up all wearing very similar dresses anyway. We were all embarrassed, but we sucked it up, got our obligatory best-friends photo, and made sure to tell everyone that it was a coincidence and not planned. But I was 13 years old. Now, I think it would be pretty awesome to dress as a themed group for a dressy event, and the groups featured on that blog post are all still wearing prom-appropriate outfits, so I really don't see what's so "hilarious" about the pictures.
And finally, I saw pictures of fat people. Seriously, that's the only thing I can see that's supposedly "hilarious" about them. There are a handful or so pictures of large people wearing regular formal outfits, standing in regular poses, with regular backgrounds. There was one girl in particular who I can understand why people thought she was "hilarious" but that just pissed me off even more. She stood with her back to the camera & turned over her shoulder to face the camera. Her dress had a low back or a cut-out on the back and would have stopped just above the ass-crack on a thin person. But she had that body type that makes her butt almost like a shelf - it doesn't so much slope down and out into a butt-shape, but juts out at a right angle and then curves down. The cut-out on her dress extends low enough that the 90-degree angle of her waist & upper bottom is visible through the missing fabric. So I'm pretty sure this is what the poster thought was so hilarious.
And that's about when I started to get pissed off. This whole thing was nothing but fat-shaming and slut-shaming and racism and geekism. That's another word I just made up - it's where people make fun of anyone who is not part of the status quo, but particularly anyone who has a skill or talent that isn't one of the three talents that our collective culture deems acceptable to worship or display - singing (as long as it's not certain kinds of singing, like opera), athleticism (as long as it's not dancing except for certain kinds of dancing, like hip hop), and acting. Playing instruments might be OK, as long as those instruments are drums, guitar, or bass. Electronic instruments are not OK until after you are already a famous electronica musician or DJ (before you're famous, it's just another example of geekery & being too smart for playing with computers). Sax is also OK only after you are an awesome jazz sax player. God forbid you play flute or clarinet or cello though!
But being creative and skilled is not OK. Like playing an instrument, it is only OK after you have already exhibited exceptional skill at something within the very narrow band of what's "cool". Being into fashion design, for instance, is only cool if your band of "fashion" matches whoever is doing the judging (anyone remember Sixteen Candles
?) So making fantastically elaborate and complicated outfits out of duct tape deserves ridicule. Wearing a geek-themed outfit deserves ridicule.
Wearing outfits that are considered attractive in one's own culture or subculture or class also deserve ridicule if that culture or class is not the dominant one (hence the term that I didn't invent, ghettofabulous). Here we had both the black couples and their sexy outfits as well as the "geeks" and goths and punks in their geeky, gothy, and punky outfits. Nevermind that they took skill in designing or talent in creating or even money to put together such outfits. They weren't upper-middle-class Fox News-audience-appropriate outfits, so they deserved ridicule.
And how dare those poor black people allow the fat ones out in public in formal wear! Don't they know that fat people are not supposed to dress up and go out in public? Don't they know that fat people are supposed to be so ashamed of themselves that they wouldn't dare to wear a slinky, satiny gown and have a good time? Don't they know that fat people are supposed to wear velvet gowns that cover themselves from cleavage to ankle and are black to be more "slimming" and cut loosely and in such a way as to minimize or de-emphasize their fat?
Grr, I started to get really pissed off by this point. When the commenters actually posted "people" in quotes to refer to the subjects of the photos - as though they don't really count as real people, they're just "people", and "The girls w/ the beer boxes were classier than all those blacks, the one and only time they get to wear good clothes and they can't even do that right", I was ready to throw down. Racism, classism, & anti-fat all rolled into one sentence.
The only pictures I saw that were worthy of the classification "hilarious prom photos" were:
1) Dressed up in formal wear and having to climb a ladder to get into the truck that was raised 4 feet off the ground.
2) The guys in tuxes posed in pseudo-fight stances with toy lightsabers.
3) The guy in a tux holding a mini sewing machine, standing in front of a UPS truck half in a ditch and 3 cops and a sheriff standing in the background.
4) The very unhappy-looking couple sitting on the couch holding a cat with a tiger skin displayed on the wall behind them.
5) The woman with her hair styled to look like a helicopter, complete with propeller blades.
6) The large collection of people in white formal wear standing outside of a White Castle shaped like a castle (we often used to go to dive eating establishments before prom, it tickled our sense of irony to be dressed formally and eating in a burger joint).
7) The girls wearing beer boxes around their torso and apparently nothing else (not a prom, not using beer boxes or beer-print fabric to construct dresses, just beer boxes).
8) The girls in prom dresses kneeling in the woods each holding a chicken.
That seems like a lot of photos, but that number is dwarfed by the number of duct tape photos and black people in revealing dresses. There were also a couple of pictures that produced a mild chuckle, like the lime-green pickup truck that matched the lime-green prom dress, and the guy with Winnie the Pooh on his tux vest & his date with Pooh on her ass. Like I said with the duct tape outfits - there were several themes that I wouldn't wear, but personal taste differences doesn't mean I should ridicule them for differing.
I also don't know the context - maybe there was a reason for dressing that way. Maybe they were matching the prom theme, or maybe it wasn't a prom picture at all but a themed or costume party (like the duct tape was a contest, not a prom). I have a picture from high school dressed the same as my boyfriend in black jeans, white shirt, black vest. Dressing the same as your partner often gets ridiculed on the internet, but no one bothered to ask me about the context.
That was a Sadie Hawkins
dance. Sadie Hawkins dances
were supposed to be when women asked the men for dates/dances, but I went to an all-girls school, so technically ALL of our dances required the girls to ask the guys. So in our school, Sadie Hawkins dances were also dances where we were supposed to dress like our dates. The only clothing that he and I had in common at that time was that outfit and neither of us wanted to buy new clothes for the dance, so that's what we wore. Dressing alike was the theme, and frankly, anyone who has a problem with attending themed events dressed appropriately for the theme or who ridicules those of us who can find that sort of activity fun is someone whose opinion I don't give a fuck about.