My junior year of high school, I received a text about two weeks before prom saying “Hey it’s Sean. Prom?” I didn’t even know which Sean was asking me and had to use process of elimination through who had already asked who (which was almost everyone, thanks a lot Sean). By senior year of high school (2013), my boyfriend of the time had come up with a creative way to ask me to prom as people started posting their ~~promposals~~ on social media. Currently in 2017, it seems promposals have been taken to a whole new level, and actually upped the ante for marriage proposals.
Social Media Pressure on Promposals
It’s hard enough to put yourself out there and ask someone to prom, or better yet to marry you. As the hype around proposals has increased, so too has the potential for increased social pressure and humiliation. Jarrod Chin, director of training at Northeastern Sporty in Society, stated “As promposal clips go viral, more and more young people think that you need to create these elaborate schemes to ask someone to prom and the reality is that it should be just a fun event for young people to dance and celebrate.”
Promposals circulate Youtube and Instagram pages to show how others have been asked to prom. Some are more elaborate than most marriage proposals.
So what does this mean?
For one, it means that in addition to the pressure and money spent on a prom originally, there is an added expense with the promposal. Keep in mind that means adding more money to the estimated $530 budget average for girls, and $250 average for boys. It makes the focus more on how a person is getting asked to the dance rather than who they’re going with. For those who are asking a date to prom, it means that planning has to happen months in advance. Online forums I researched about promposals suggest planning at least four months in advance, in addition to asking the date’s friends for help AND trying to make sure he/she actually wants to go with you first. That’s a lot of planning compared to my text two weeks before my junior year prom.
Additionally, think about the pressure to share on social media. My little cousin Luke attends high school near BC, and is currently 16 years old. He doesn’t have prom until next year, but he told me that his friends have already started to talk about what they want to do when they ask dates to prom next year (yes, I do mean in 2018). When I asked him if he felt like he would let his date down if the proposal wasn’t cool enough, he said “Definitely. I’ve talked to girls who think a show is necessary for some reason. I feel like social media isn’t necessarily the driving force, just being able to show off in general the sign with a bad pun and getting attention for it seems to be pretty important.”
This isn’t all about prom, either. Marriage proposals and other major life events have been paraded all over social media. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to share parts of your life with your social media friends, but social media certainly has changed the way we treat a marriage proposal and a wedding. When a family friend of mine got engaged, one of the first questions asked of me was if I had any good ideas for her wedding hashtag. My question for millennials is if you asked your high school girlfriend to prom with an elaborate scavenger hunt or by the beach at sunset – how exactly do you plan to ask your future girlfriend to marry you say ten years from now? The first question family and friends always seem to ask is “how did he ask you?”, so I wonder if it will top the high school scheming.
It’s not just marriage and prom proposals that have been taken over social media by storm. Gender reveals are hitting Facebook with people cutting into a blue or pink cake, or opening a box to release pink or blue balloons. Remember when you found out the gender of your baby at the doctors office like a normal person, and celebrated with your significant other? Don’t think it will be that easy when you have your first (or next) child. Watch this Youtube video which shows a bizarrely extensive gender reveal – and let me know if you can top it.
Sure, it may be cute to take a video telling your significant other or the older siblings about the gender of their new baby brother or sister like this one. But having an entire party dedicated to the unveiling or creating a Youtube video like the first one above should not be expected of you. Social media is meant for sharing, but there are more much simple ways to announce the gender of your child – or you don’t have to at all! There should not be so much pressure to share the intimidate details of your family life on social media.
So maybe I’m naive to the romanticism of having a public proposal to prom or marriage, or announcing the gender of a baby with a huge party or Youtube video. What I want to point out in this post is how public so much of our personal lives have become. Parents on Facebook Live are sharing their kids practicing for lacrosse, or baking cookies together. What used to just be family memories are now becoming public memories. I’m not sure of the exact implications of this down the road, but I’d be curious to know others in the comment section below – and please share any elaborate proposals/reveals you’ve experienced too :).