Prom Dress Wars: Girls Use Social Media to Get Dibs on Gowns

What's worse than getting doused with pig's blood like Carrie on prom night? Showing up in the same dress as another girl, apparently. According to the New York Post, teenagers are using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to make sure they will be wearing a unique outfit to the big dance. Brooklyn Technical High School's Facebook prom page reads, "Welcome to the page where you tell people you will physically hurt them over formal wear."

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While girls used to go shopping with their friends, now they can hit the department store alone and instantly post their chosen garment online for others to see—along with menacing tweets such as "This is my prom dress, if anyone gets/has this dress, I will personally come to your house, steal the dress" and "just ordered this beauty, I swear if anyone steals my prom dress I will kill you…."

Facebook pages devoted to securing dibs on a gown include posts such as "Don't Steal My Prom Dress, B*tch" and "Steal My Prom Dress and I'll Knock You the F*** Out."

While the sentiment may seem straight out of "Mean Girls," family therapist Dr. Karen Ruskin points out that, like it or not, this is the hyperbolic way teenagers communicate (although she encourages parents to teach their children from a young age better modes of communication). She adds that posting pictures in order to get dibs on a dress could be a good thing. "As a parent, I would prefer 'dress is already taken,'" she tells Yahoo! Shine, "but what sounds nasty or aggressive to adults is acceptable between kids today."

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Ruskin thinks that using social media to post a picture of a dress can be a positive way for a teenage girl to express her individuality and also prevent embarrassment later if someone from school did want to buy the same dress. "It's super fun when you can have your own dress for a special occasion…OK, it isn't going to help you in the real world when you are an adult," she adds, "but some things can be purely enjoyable."

What concerns Ruskin is that teens might be posting images just looking for feedback from friends and even strangers. "It's important to make decisions from your inner voice and teens need to learn that their choices matter."

For the most part, the kids involved appear to be keeping things positive. Out of 466 pictures posted on Brooklyn Technical High School's Facebook page, senior Sara Zhong told the Post, "I don't see any mean comments, just compliments and likes."

And the teens can also make the groups private so only friends or girls can participate, which allows for more emotional safety and leaves some fashion surprises for prom night. "It's not a drama-causing group, it's more of a lookbook of sorts," senior Madeline Weinstein, 17, of Hunt Valley, Maryland, told the New York Times in a recent interview. "We are absolutely not allowed in," added Spencer E. B. Carlson, 18, a male senior at Palo Alto High School.

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