High School Prom: Marketing, Morals and the American Teen

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
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
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the 1980s, Seventeen Magazine, and undead Halloween costumes may not appear to have much in common, but all have a place in the history and culture of prom. In an interesting and well-researched way, Anderson delves into the impacts of prom from its inception through the present. While the language and pop culture references are geared toward adults, images of fashion and advertisements from the early 1900s to the present are a treat for all ages. Anderson also includes a chapter on the experiences of minority teens. (LJ 10/1/12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786467006
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/15/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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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

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