“What? The what?!”
That’s all I could think as I read a recent LA Times article about a group of Corona del Mar High School boys who participated in an NFL-style draft to pick their prom date with those involved paying higher amounts to get the chance to pick a specific girl.
As a woman and as a mother of a daughter, the details of the story horrified me. The worst part was that the girls agreed to go along with the draft even though they weren't guaranteed to know the boy who “bought” them — and regardless of whether they wanted to go with someone else.
My daughter is only three, but that won’t always be the case. I can’t imagine her (or her brother) being involved in a situation that so clearly objectifies an entire gender. Some boys say they started the draft to avoid skirmishes if two boys wanted to ask the same girl while most girls confessed to, “respecting the draft.” Either way, there’s nothing good or respectful about this kind of draft. Here’s why.
1. Girls are treated as property. We buy things, not people. Girls aren't property and they need to know that.
2. Boys have all the power. Women have worked long and hard not to be powerless or subservient to men. We shouldn't allow anyone to teach girls otherwise.
3. Girls have no say at all. Even if a girl is picked first, it doesn’t mean she likes who picked her. But chances are, she won’t feel comfortable saying no especially since money changed hands.
4. The criteria has nothing to do with who they really are. An NFL draft is based on talent, experience, and skill. Prom drafts are based on looks and reputation. That probably leaves the nice, smart girl out and makes the hot curvy girl the prize possession. And women are not possessions, remember?
5. Boys might feel entitled to more than a fun dance. If a guy buys the right to take a girl to prom, what else is he assuming he bought? And if a girl says yes to being bought for the night, does she feel like she has to give in if her date wants to have sex? He did spend nine months on a paper route to get his dream date, after all. He'll want his money's worth.
6. It's not a compliment to be bought. While timid high school girls might find it complimentary to be the source of a battle of the boys, it's not. It's actually insulting. The boys think you are so insignificant, they get to decide who you date.
While the boys suggest that the draft started amongst 15 boys who wanted to avoid fights if more than one boy wanted to ask the same girl to prom, to me a great way to avoid skirmishes is to ask the girl who she wants to go with. Or better yet, girls, ask your ideal date yourself. Chances are, it won't be the guy who just bought you. Gross.