"go to prom" goes national

hpst@earthlink.net hpst at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri May 26 15:09:46 UTC 2006

In Cleveland, Ohio, going to the prom and buying a prom dress is the female
equivalent of males spending hundreds of dollars on sneakers.

Girls work jobs no matter how poor they are in order to prepare for their
proms and buy prom dresses.

If you believe the interviews they give to The Plain Dealer and local TV
stations this is an annual ritual in which they work for months in order to
prepare for this one night.

It reminds me of Sankritization:

The Indian sociologist M. N. Srinivas coined the term "Sanskritization" to
identify a dominant strand of Indian society and culture, characterized by
"the process by which a low caste or tribe or other group takes over the
customs, ritual, beliefs, ideology, and style of life of a high and in
particular a twice-born (dwija) caste" (1989: 56). Sanskritization has been
widely interpreted as representing a form of social mobility. By pointing
out that Sanskritization legitimizes upward social mobility, Srinivas
questioned the widespread view of Indian society as a rigid hierarchy
preventing social mobility. Noting that the concept has more than mere
structural relevance, Srinivas regarded Sanskritization as the thread
connecting local cults, values and beliefs, sectarian deities, and deities
specific to a particular caste or region with the values, beliefs, rituals,
gods, and mythologies of Sanskritic Hinduism. He associated the ideology
underlying varnashramadharma (the scheme of division of society into ranked
varnas and the scheme of different stages in the life of a human being) and
ideas such as dharma (morality and moral order), karma (the idea that one's
actions in this existence have consequences in one's next life), samsara
(the cycle of birth and death), moksha (release from the cycle of birth and
death), bhakti (devotion), papa (sin) ...

Having worked in Trinidad WI all I can tell you is that many lower caste
Hindus left India only to arrive in Trinidad with both different names and
higher caste status.

In the case you mentioned, and I did not see the program, it appears to me
that the characters were not of upper class origin but persons who were
emulating those who were but retained their linguistic usages.

One thing which I have noticed is that while the society pages in The Plain
Dealer have become less and less prominent to the point where you almost no
longer see anything about debutantes and their Balls, but that Black girls
in particular if not exclusively tend to emulate such phenomena in terms of
their highschool proms which apparently they treat as coming out parties.

I could be wrong and quite often am but this appears to me what is going on.

Page Stephens

> [Original Message]
> From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Date: 5/26/2006 9:35:03 AM
> Subject: [ADS-L] "go to prom" goes national
>  From the season finale of "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC-TV)...
> The speaker is a 17-year-old girl and ovarian cancer survivor, niece
> of one of the head doctors on the show, who was brought into the
> hospital when she passed out while having sex after her senior prom,
> explaining why she hadn't let anyone know about the severe pains
> she'd been experiencing for a month prior to the event:
> "I wanted to go to prom, I didn't want to be the girl with cancer again."
> The medical staff concentrated on her cancer, leaving her anarthrous
> condition untreated.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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