Prom Night: Can It Turn a Traditional High School Student into an Activist?
From what I’ve read about her, Amanda Dougherty seemed to be a traditional high school student. She’s a 17-year old at a Catholic high school who was so excited about her junior prom that she bought her dress months in advance. She had also bought her ticket to the prom and her shoes and other accessories.
Amanda and her girlfriends started a Facebook page, closed to the guys, so they could share pictures of their prom dresses to make sure no two of them would show up in the same gown.
Then, about a week or so before the prom, her lout of a prom date backed out. Now this is what I love about Amanda: She did not let that deter her. She was going to go to the prom solo.
I know from well over a decade of studying fully grown adults that many of them are reluctant to dine alone or go to movies alone on ordinary days. Here’s Amanda, a high school student, willing to go to the big, festive, celebrated junior prom on her own. I’m not much of a prom person myself (I know, you are shocked) but I’m impressed by Amanda’s moxie.
The Catholic Church, though, was not about to let a high school student go to her prom without a date. The Office of Catholic Education issued a statement saying that “we view the prom as a special social event where a date is required to attend.”
I guess it wasn’t enough for the higher-ups in the Catholic Church to try to put nuns in their place. (For the record, I was raised Catholic.) As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof noted:
“The Vatican issued a stinging reprimand of American nuns this month and ordered a bishop to oversee a makeover of the organization that represents 80 percent of them. In effect, the Vatican accused the nuns of worrying too much about the poor and not enough about abortion and gay marriage.”
Rather than intimidating nuns and high school students into silence, what the church may actually be doing is creating social activists. Amanda reacted this way to the ruling:
“For them to say not that we’re not good enough to go unless we have a guy standing next to us, it’s just kind of sickening.”
Here’s how the story posted at CBS ended:
“The girl from Glenolden says she is willing to fight to change the policy for all students and her efforts to do so are making her dad proud.
“‘She’s standing up for what she believes is right.’”
I don’t think Amanda Dougherty is going to put up with a lot of singlism in her life. I bet she won’t tolerate many other injustices either.
[Thanks to Cynthia and Molly for the heads-up about this story.]
Prom couple photo available from Shutterstock.
DePaulo, B. (2012). Prom Night: Can It Turn a Traditional High School Student into an Activist?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2012/05/prom-night-can-it-turn-a-traditional-high-school-student-into-an-activist/