The good news is that the rules of prom are starting to change.
Girls are pushing back against the pressure to wait for an invitation and are asking boys first. Lindsay, 17, a senior from San Antonio, engineered her own promposal with a poem, a special T-shirt and poster.
Meanwhile, same-sex couples are growing more visible. Dates are being replaced by whole groups of friends attending together. This spring, girls in Georgia used social media to end their town's racially segregated proms with national support.
When I went to prom in the early 1990s, I seesawed between my wish to get asked by the right guy and ride in the cool kids' limousine with the burgeoning realization that I was gay. I had a fun night, but I was far from my authentic, assertive self that night. Prom felt mostly like a job I had to do to maintain my position in the social hierarchy.
Three decades after Title IX, our culture has yet to decide how powerful it wants its girls to be. As we figure out the answer, prom becomes an even more important cultural touchstone for who we want our girls to become.
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