MAI STILES GAVE US A THREE-PART PEEK INTO A MODERN AmericanRITE OF PASSAGE CEREMONY — SENIOR PROM.
HER SISTER IN LOVE, Layla, IS ABOUT TO ENTER THE WORLD. Layla will be facing new challenges at university soon. So, IT MAY BE A few years BEFORE SHE GETS TO GLAMOUR HERSELF FROM HEAD-TO-TOE AGAIN. AND IT WILL NEVER BE QUITE LIKE THE TIME MAI AND HER BROTHER HELPED HER DO IT WHEN SHE WAS ABOUT TO LEAVE HOME FOR UNIVERSITY.
IMPORTANT RITES OF PASSAGE ARE CONNECTED WITH BIOLOGICAL CRISES, OR MILESTONES OF LIFE — BIRTH, MATURITY, REPRODUCTION, AND DEATH. OTHER RITES OF PASSAGE CELEBRATE CHANGES THAT ARE WHOLLY CULTURAL, LIKE INITIATION INTO FRATERNITIES.
Historically, PASSAGE RITES (AND RELIGIOUS EVENTS) were the only acceptable ways of participating in pleasurable activities. People did not just have two days a week off from hunting and gathering or creating solutions to pressing needs.
IT’S MY HYPOTHESIS THAT PROM IS A RITE OF PASSAGE THAT INVOLVES RITUAL AND COMMUNITY. Mai Stiles & Layla learned lessons about each other & life. Because, Preparing for prom TAUGHT THEM BOTH COMPROMISE, EVEN IF IT WAS JUST on THE SUBURBAN, TWO COUPLES instead of 6, AND A TWENTY-MINUTE DANCE instead of hours of raging… MAI STILES and her family MADE MEMORIES THAT NIGHT and all of the time they spent leading up to it.
So, you don’t have to be the parent or have children to enjoy the Prom season. We should all get on social media. Celebrate the kids and their accomplishments. And tru to make it aceessible to all our American youth. Those that want to participate anyway. It is designed to see the youth dress up and begin to step up into their individual destinies — Regardless of how intertwined with their families’ they may remain thereafter.
Obviously, rites of passage vary across the world and I think the ages appropriate for a rite of passage ceremony is debatable. Overall though, I think it is a good way to see modern American youth. Emboldening and encouraging our young men & women to absorb the lessons and life around them.
I think I can challenge the use of the words ‘historically-known-societies’ in the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA‘s definition of rite of passage as well. For example, Today in America, and many places around the world, formal events in the final years of schooling before the Academy or college are rites of passage.
One of the biggest differences between the Fulani rite of passage described above and American prom is industrialization. Considering global history, America industrialized incredibly fast. Meaning that it quickly focused its human resources on specialization as opposed to homesteading or hunting and gathering. Consequently, Industrialization produces cities and different cultures together. These cultures could very well include new and modern rites of passage, like prom.
Mai Stiles gave us a three-part peek into a modern rite of passage ceremony — Senior Prom at a high school in the southern part of the united states.
It is absolutely a privilege that we get to cover Layla’s prom and that she gets to go. Not all kids get to go to prom, and certainly not all kids get to go with all the bells & whistles. Privilege is that trickly beast we always talk about. It is so tied to perspective. Because, It is also a privilege for the Fulani youth. They participate in a ceremony that’s been in their blood for generations.
And, the more we learn about Mai Stiles, the more we understand that it is interesting to pointing out Layla’s privilege in the face of what she has overcome.
How does the existence of privilege affect the development of rites of passage? Are rites of passage connected to privilege? Interesting thoughts that require more study. I will keep my ears and eyes turned to more.
Mai’s sister-in-love is about to enter the world. It may be a while before she gets to glamour herself from head-to-toe again and it will never be quite like the time Mai and her brother helped her do it when she was about to leave home for university.
You don’t have to be the parent or have children to enjoy the Prom season. It is designed to see the youth dress up and begin to step up into their individual destinies — Regardless of how intertwined with their families’ they may remain thereafter.
Dedicated to understanding our place in the world and humanity. And growing as communicators.