Bad Advice Women Get: Get Fit for Prom

If teen magazines are to be believed, from January to June, there’s exactly one thing on every female high school student’s mind: prom. Or should I say: ~~*OMG [email protected]! Only writing out the word like that can give it the respect it deserves.

According to sources like Seventeen, CosmoGirl (now only a website—RIP, CG!), and even classier options like Teen Vogue, prom is the absolute apex of a teenage girl’s existence. The big night apparently requires months of preparation and planning: who’s your date going to be? What are you going to wear? Can you get your dad to spring for a limo? Are you going to lose your virginity, or your dignity, or both? How will you resist the pressure to drink at the after parties? (… Because obviously, nobody ever voluntarily drinks alcohol in high school.)

I know what you’re probably thinking right now: “This is a website for women in college! Why is this stupid blogger talking about something that we all experienced years ago? I can barely remember my own prom. Sure, it seemed really important at the time, and I guess I had fun, but it definitely wasn’t actually the biggest night of my life.”

And that’s exactly my point. Prom fever, frankly, is totally ridiculous. Which makes it a prime topic for this column—because our culture inexplicably imbues this event with so much significance (can you think of a major teen movie that doesn’t end with a prom scene?), any articles that focus on prom are inevitably going to be teeming with Bad Advice for women, if you can call HS seniors “women.” That’s because there’s literally no reason any girl should make such a BFD out of prom in the first place.

But the most egregiously bad prom advice I’ve come across stands in a class of its own. It’s a specialized website on seventeen.com called the “Prom Dress Workout Finder.” The point of the site? To determine what kind of exercises you should be doing so that you don’t look like a big ‘ole cow in your dress of choice, no matter what style it is.

See, if you’re wearing a backless dress, you need to do a move called “The Usher,” according to Seventeen Trainer Jenna Philips in this workout video. But if you’re wearing a minidress, says trainer Jessica Smith, you have to do a different exercise to target your thighs. God help you if your dress is short and you’ve mistakenly been doing The Usher anyway. Probably, your date will end up dumping a bucket of blood on you or something.

It’s bad enough that girls are tricked into buying into the whole prom industry in the first place—but now they’re supposed to perform special exercise routines for the sole purpose of looking nice on a night that, truth be told, is probably going to end with their best friend throwing up on their shoes? There are plenty of great reasons to try to stay fit, but doing it in order to squeeze yourself into a certain dress is not one of them. I wish I could say that I expected better form you, Seventeen… but if I did, I’d be lying. Just like I did when I told my mom I’d be spending the night of prom at my best friend’s house.

The Coolest Commencement Speakers of 2010
The Coolest Commencement Speakers of 2010
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