Prom dress Facebook groups necessary


Photo by Taylor Lee

The Facebook group titled “SAHS Prom Dress 2019” was established Jan. 13 by senior Hannah Sween. The group is open to anyone who plans on attending prom or that would like to sell used dresses.

Dress Special

Teenagers love prom, it is a fact of nature. They love getting their nails and hair done, picking out glitzy shoes, elaborate and very public prom proposals and most of all, they love having their own unique prom dress. Within the last decade, with the rise of social media, teenagers have been turning to Facebook to stake claim to their dresses using prom dress Facebook groups. The groups encourage respect, inclusivity and are a wonderful place to help boost others’ self-esteem. That is why groups like these are a necessary part of prom culture.

Senior Hannah Sween established a Facebook group Jan. 13 titled “SAHS Prom Dress 2019It is an online group where girls (or whoever else would like to join) show others the dress they plan to wear to prom and is a place where they can sell their old prom dresses. The premise of the group is to make sure no two girls wear the same dress, however it is much more than just that. There are almost 150 members in the group and, as it comes closer to prom times, that number is predicted to increase.

This year is Sween’s first time as the Facebook group admin and she believes types of Facebook groups like this are a necessary part of prom season. Not only “so that there’s not any overlap in dresses,” but also because it is “a great [platform] for girls supporting girls or anyone who wants to wear a dress to prom,” Sween said.

The group encourages inclusivity. It does not matter what a member identifies as or how their body looks, all are welcomed into the group. The group helps every person who joins feel valued.

“It’s a fun group and it is also practical, nobody wants to show up [to prom] wearing the same dress,” Sween said.

Everyone wants to be their own individual and feel special on such a pivotal night in most high schoolers’ school career. Teenagers spend months preparing for prom and showing up to prom wearing the same dress as someone else could be categorized as nightmare fuel.

Supporting everyone [by making sure] they feel beautiful in their dress, and making sure that they get something that they love and that everyone gets something that they want is really important.”

— Isabella Portelli

When it comes to self-esteem, “[The group] can only help,” Sween mentioned. “You feel good in a dress, you buy it, share it with people and they reaffirm that you look good and they think it looks nice. [Nice compliments like that are] always good to hear.”

The group is a wonderful place to help boost girls’ self-esteem because of the positive feedback every member receives upon posting a picture of their dress. The group helps members see that others appreciate them.

To Feel Respected

Senior Kate Raddatz is a member of the Facebook group and was last year as well. She agrees with Sween and believes that the group is necessary to help everyone who goes to prom feel like a respected individual.

“I want to have my own unique dress. If I were to see someone else wearing [the same dress], it wouldn’t feel to me as unique. When I’m older and I’m looking back [on prom], I’d want to be like, ‘I was the only one wearing the dress. It was my dress.’ You just want to own it, in that unique sort of way,” Raddatz explained.

Most teenagers that attend prom dream of being noticed by the masses for being their own special, unique selves. There is nothing more self-confidence boosting than feeling comfortable in your own skin.

“If [a student] got [a dress] first, I should be able to respect that and not get that dress, even if I really like it. They got it first. It’s a respect thing,” she said.

The group encourages respect in the prom community by reteaching members to share and respect others’ choices.

To Feel Special

Senior Isabella Portelli is a member of the group, as well. She was thinking of creating a similar Facebook group before Sween created hers. She believes that it is very important to help all the members of the group feel supported.

“Supporting everyone [by making sure] they feel beautiful in their dress, and making sure that they get something that they love and that everyone gets something that they want is really important,” Portelli explained.

Supporting others, no matter what they choose to wear, is another wonderful way to help boost the self-esteem of someone else. Prom outfits could make or break the entire prom experience for a peer.

Portelli mentioned that the group could help members who are stumped pick out the perfect dress for them.

“I think that it helps people see what others are getting [for their dresses]. [It helps decipher,] what kind of dress do I want? What kind of dress do I not want? It’s a sharing and understanding yourself [experience],” she said.

Not everyone is fashion forward. By browsing the group, members can find styles of dresses they enjoy or could see themselves in. They could learn more about themselves through the group and fashion help from other members of the group.

An Option For Anyone

Prom advisor Jacki Delahunt does not know much about the prom dress Facebook group but has seen it grow in popularity in the past couple of years. She does not believe the group, “is a necessity.” It is more like “an option.”

“It’s only necessary to the girls who are worried about duplicating dress,” Delahunt mentioned.

Some girls do not care if someone is wearing the same dress as them, which is perfectly acceptable but not as common.

“I guess I’m pretty neutral on it. I think if it’s going to make a girl feel better not to show up at prom with the same dress as somebody else, then I think it’s a good thing. Just as long as all the comments and everything on the group page stays positive,” she added.

The Possibility of Backfire

There may be a group of people that oppose the idea of Facebook groups like this. There is a possibility of mean comments, girls feeling bad because they did not receive as many likes as another girl and it may be used as a platform to publicly cyberbully others.

Prom advisor Dusty Dennis has been to many proms over the past 12 years. He has “seen prom change over the years [he] went.” While he acknowledges the positive side of the group, he worries about “the trolls.”

‘Internet Trolls’ scour the internet to look for someone to argue with or bully. They can be anyone behind a computer screen trying to bully anyone, anywhere, which means that not even school-function based Facebook groups are safe.

“I can see it backfiring. I can see people getting kinda nasty [in the group]. [Members could post] something then the trolls come out. [They could start commenting things like] ‘that dress is hideous, why are you wearing that, you don’t look good in that dress.’ Just nasty things, like making fun of someone’s weight. I hope that would never happen, I can almost guarantee it probably does,” he explained.

Although Sween, the admin of the group believes, “the group is what you make of it.” So, if someone, “would be intentionally mean to someone in the group… that’s not what it’s for and that’s on them for using it inappropriately.”

In a Neat Bow

Additionally, Dennis admits that the group “has lots of benefits.” 

“[Girls could think] ‘I could save some money. I could either sell my dress or I could buy one because I’m probably only going to wear it the one time.’ Especially now with social media, a lot more girls [are wondering] ‘how can I be more efficient with my money? [How can I] not have to spend a lot and reuse? Why buy new when I can wear someone else’s?’ Not everybody has a lot of money and it gives people the opportunity to reuse dresses that are out there for sale,” Dennis explained.

The group is a great resource to reduce-reuse-recycle old, used or unwanted prom dresses. Prom dresses run anywhere from a hundred to a few hundred dollars, that may be too expensive for someone on a very tight budget. It is much easier and safer to buy a used dress from a trusted friend in the group than it is to go to a second-hand store and buy a dress there.

Students that plan on attending prom that are considering wearing a dress are encouraged to join the group. The group is always accepting join requests. This type of group should remain as a vital prom tradition for many upcoming years because of its many benefits and overwhelmingly positive energy.