SADIE HAWKINS: TO ASK OR NOT TO ASK
(High school traditionally has a Sadie Hawkins dance in which the female students must ask the male students. This tradition began on November 15, 1937, the day Al Capp in his strip Li'l Abner created a character. This character was a woman who wanted to marry but couldn’t because none of the men liked her, so she took initiative and asked someone to marry her. The dance was made to help gender issues but didn’t.)
The moment you had been waiting for to ask your date to a dance has arrived, with upcoming Winter Formal, bringing with it an abundance of askings. There have been controversial beliefs as to whether or not Winter Formal is Sadie Hawkins; depending on the source, people will either tell you that it has always been a Sadie Hawkins or that it never was. In any case, more girls ask boys to Winter Formal than they do to any other dance. “Dance-askings” are naturally sexist; the Sadie Hawkins, in my opinion, is a wrong move in fixing the inequality. With this in mind, I went around and asked students whether or not they thought the mass media was propagating the stereotype of boys being the initiators of an “ask” whether it is with regard to a date, a dance or any other related activity in a social setting.
Through this research process, I was surprised to learn that more than 80% of the students, that I spoke with, believed that pop culture and mass media played a BIG role in their arriving at the conclusion that men/boys/ males should be the initiators of any such sort of an “ask”. Thus the Sadie Hawkins was born, a dance in which girls must ask out the guys.
Sadie Hawkins was first introduced when Al Capp in his strip Li'l Abner created this character. Sadie was a woman in a rundown town. who could never “catch” a husband. She would have to chase the bachelors around town until she found one. And Sadie Hawkins day was born. The initial intention of this dance was to create a gender equal environment but it only did the opposite. Al Capp believed that Sadies would help alleviate the growing societal issues pertaining to gender inequality, instead it only helped aggravated the gender disparity. The comic strip only enforced the belief that men have to ask out women.
This faux-feminist tradition was created due to the immense responsibility of asking that landed on only boys’ shoulders. In our society, boys are taught to “go after” the girl. Media has taught them to “be a man” and go buy the girl chocolates and treat her to a fancy dinner. Endless amounts of teenage sitcoms and movies have supported this standard, creating the idea that men are obligated to get a date while the women wait around and look pretty.
The very idea of a Sadie Hawkins dance acknowledges gender role stereotype that boys always ask girls, and hence reinforces the idea. It confirms that under normal circumstances, the girl shouldn’t ask the boy. 67% of the women believe that Sadies is only enforcing gender stereotypes. This, yet again, proves how we are going backwards. A dance like this reinforces the idea that a girl cannot ask a guy out at any other dance other than the Sadie Hawkins.
Instead of accepting and supporting these gender roles, we should work to erase them. If you want to ask someone to a dance, go ahead and ask that person. No matter how nerve-racking it may seem, is it not better to take responsibility and initiative to make your opportunity happen, rather than wait on someone else to make the first move? .