According to an article from the AJC, the average family will spend around $1,078 for prom per teenager, jumping from the $807 average spent last year. What is most startling is that lower income families are planning to spend even more than the average. Families who earn between $40-50,000 plan to spend an average of $1,307 and those who earn between $20-30,000 plan to spend an average of…wait for it…$2,635.
The last thing I want to do is pass judgement, but I feel it necessary to point out the futility of spending such a large amount of money on one night. This example explicitly shows the lack of financial responsibility which permeates many American households. As college students, we are beyond the days of caring about prom (assuming we ever did in the first place), but this is still a great portrayal of the influence that capitalism has on us as Americans.
Why would people just above the poverty line spend around 9% of their income on, of all things, a school dance? Would it not be a more beneficial to put that money to a college education? The benefits of college versus the benefits of prom do not even need to be discussed. It is one thing for a teenage girl to beg her parents for a $600 dollar dress, a limo, a dinner at a five star restaurant, and so on. It is quite another for parents to actually give in to spending such an inordinate amount. What does this say about our culture, our values? Not good things, I think.