We all get older and its easy to lose touch with the rapid pace of pop culture. American Prom is packed full of pop culture references by teenage character. The following consists of brief cultural references to help you get up to date on American Prom culture. Information gathered for this post is courtesy of UCCS dramaturg students, Gilbert Noel Jr and Madalynne Pritchard.
American Prom Playlist
Listen to this playlist to get up to date on current popular music.
Segregation of Today
Prom is a rite of passage for many high school students; a chance to celebrate with friends before everyone heads in different directions after graduation. For students at some Georgia high schools, the evening celebrations were restricted according to the color of a student’s skin. Segregated proms have been going on in some areas of Georgia for decades since the schools backed out of sponsoring the events. In the hands of parents and students, these privately funded proms have become an “invitation only” event, with black students hosting one party and white students hosting another.
This year, four students at Wilcox County High School decided it was time for a change. The students have decided it is time for their school to have an integrated prom. The students created an Integrated Prom Facebook page, where they wrote, “We live in rural south Georgia, where not too many things change. Well, as a group of adamant high school seniors, we want to make a difference in our community. For the first time in the history of our county, we plan to have an integrated prom.”
Proms stopped being held in Georgia high schools during the 1960s and 1970s when desegregation was in full swing. At that time, high schools stopped throwing the year-end dances out of concern for racial unrest that could rear its ugly head at such an occasion. This led to the holding of proms outside school jurisdiction, and the parties were hosted by parents and students instead. This move led to the idea of a white prom and a black prom, a tradition that has been going on for those many decades.
The first Wilcox County integrated prom of 2013 was a success. These teenagers hosted a prom that welcomed all ethnicities and inspired their school to pass “a resolution advocating that all activities involving our students be inclusive and nondiscriminatory.” -Wilcox County Superintendent Steve Smith. It is uncertain whether the schools have started hosting integrated proms.
There are so many LGBTQ terms that it can be overwhelming for those who grew up only knowing “Gay” or “Straight.” This list hopes to demystify LGBTQ lingo as much as possible to help people find their way to a better understanding and acceptance.
Ally | A person who is not LGBTQ but shows support for LGBTQ people and promotes equality in a variety of ways.
Androgynous | Identifying and/or presenting as neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine.
Asexual | The lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other people.
Biphobia | Prejudice, fear or hatred directed toward bisexual people.
Bisexual | A person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree.
Cisgender | A term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.
Closeted | Describes an LGBTQ person who has not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Coming out | The process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates their sexual orientation or gender identity and begins to share that with others.
Gay| A person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the same gender.
Gender dysphoria | Clinically significant distress caused when a person's assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify. According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the term - which replaces Gender Identity Disorder - "is intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and adults."
Gender-expansive | Conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with the binary gender system.
Gender expression | External appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.
Gender-fluid | According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender; of or relating to a person having or expressing a fluid or unfixed gender identity.
Gender identity | One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.
Gender non-conforming | A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category.
Genderqueer | Genderqueer people typically reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and often, though not always, sexual orientation. People who identify as "genderqueer" may see themselves as being both male and female, neither male nor female or as falling completely outside these categories.
Gender transition | The process by which some people strive to more closely align their internal knowledge of gender with its outward appearance. Some people socially transition, whereby they might begin dressing, using names and pronouns and/or be socially recognized as another gender. Others undergo physical transitions in which they modify their bodies through medical interventions.
Homophobia | The fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who are attracted to members of the same sex.
Lesbian | A woman who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to other women.
LGBTQ | An acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.”
Living openly | A state in which LGBTQ people are comfortably out about their sexual orientation or gender identity – where and when it feels appropriate to them.
Outing | Exposing someone’s lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender identity to others without their permission. Outing someone can have serious repercussions on employment, economic stability, personal safety or religious or family situations.
Pansexual | Describes someone who has the potential for emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to people of any gender though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree.
Queer | A term people often use to express fluid identities and orientations. Often used interchangeably with "LGBTQ."
Questioning | A term used to describe people who are in the process of exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Same-gender loving | A term some prefer to use instead of lesbian, gay or bisexual to express attraction to and love of people of the same gender.
Sexual orientation | An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.
Transgender | An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.
Transphobia | The fear and hatred of, or discomfort with, transgender people.
Teen Text Talk
Teens are efficient in their various form of messaging. If you’re getting confused by all the abbreviations, use this list of commonly compresses comments. And, please, don’t just assume they’re saying “Lots of Love.”
BM&Y: Between me and you
BFF: Best friends forever
B3: Blah blah blah
BRB: Be right back
BTW: By the way
C-P: Copy and paste
CTN: Can’t talk now
CWOT: Complete waste of time
DIY: Do it yourself
DGMW: Don’t get me wrong
EOD: End of discussion
FAQ: Frequently asked questions
FYI: For your information
FYEO: For your eyes only
FOAF: Friend of a friend
HAK: Hug and kiss
HF: Have fun
IMHO: In my humble opinion
IOW: In other words
ICYMI: In case you missed it
ILY: I love you
IMU: I miss you
JTLUK: Just to let you know
KMN: Kill me now
LOL: Laugh out loud
MTFBWU: May the force be with you
MYOB: Mind your own business
MMW: Mark my words
NNTR: No need to reply
NOYB: None of your business
OMG: Oh my god
OMW: On my way
OT: Off topic
OTT: Over the top
OTOH: On the other hand
OATUS: On a totally unrelated subject
PAL: Parents are listening
ROTFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
SMH: Shaking my head
SITD: Still in the dark
SLAP: Sounds like a plan
TIA: Thanks in advance
TGIF: Thank god it’s Friday
TMI: Too much information
TTYL: Talk to you later
WTH: What the hell
YMMD: You made my day
XO: Hug and kisses
Statistics Taken by a “GEN Z” poll of 104 teens all around the US
These are estimates based on a comparatively small sample size, but it gives a bit of an idea of the generational differences. Keep in mind, the first iphone was released in 2007. Preteens today have not lived in a world without touch screens.
-Nearly 80% of teens got their first smartphone between the ages of 11 and 13.
-Teens spend a median of five hours a day on their phone, according to the survey. But the time spent ranges considerably.
-Only 14% of teens watch television news, compared to nearly 40% of Americans.
-Only 2% of teens said they watch traditional cable television. But 62% enjoy Netflix and other streaming services and 31% prefer watching YouTube.
-The Pew Research Center survey shows that 85 percent of U.S. teens, ages 13 to 17, use YouTube, compared with -72 percent for the Facebook-owned Instagram and 69 percent for Snapchat.
-92% of teens those teens use Snapchat as their preferred form of communication