High School Prom

Marketing, Morals and the American Teen

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About the Book

The prom has been a fixture in the life of American teenagers for as long as high schools have existed. Both encapsulating and magnifying the drama of adolescence, proms have been transformed from modest tea dances to costly extravaganzas supporting apparel and cosmetic makers, limousine services, hotels, magazine publishers, and hair salons.
Focusing on social and economic trends, this volume examines the evolution of the prom, the development of the billion-dollar prom industry, and the event’s place in popular culture, including its portrayal in film, television, and literature. Using the prom as a lens through which to view many aspects of American culture—money, sex, fashion, dance, music, television, transportation, communication, and even war—this work offers a fresh perspective on the history of American youth.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Ann Anderson is a freelance writer, teacher, actor and director. Her articles and essays have appeared in Stage Directions, Prevention and Health, among many other publications. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Bibliographic Details

Ann Anderson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 57 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6700-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0007-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface     1

PART I—HISTORY

1. Promenade All      7

2. Dancing to a New Beat      20

3. Boomer High      41

4. Like, Totally      58

5. Everyone Gets a Trophy      69

6. Everybody Dance! (Or Not)      88

7. Rituals, Signifiers and the Meaning of It All      100

PART II—MARKETING

8. Does This Magazine Make Me Look Fat?      115

9. Pint-size Princesses Prep for Prom      131

10. Prom and Profits     143

PART III—PROM IN POPULAR CULTURE

11. Fantasy Prom     159

12. Surreal, So Real      171

13. Last Dance      182

Chapter Notes      189

Bibliography      204

Index      214

Book Reviews & Awards

“in an interesting and well-researched way, Anderson delves into the impacts of prom from its inception through the present…a treat for all ages”—Library Journal.