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Winter dance learns from Sadie’s mistakes

Graphic by Cheryl Kao

Written by Anyi Cheng

This year, the student councils of Gunn and Palo Alto High School (Paly) have decided to replace the Sadie Hawkins Dance with an unprecedented Gunn-Paly dance. The interschool dance is all-around better for students; not only will replacing Sadie’s give students the chance to meet new people and reconnect with old friends, it will also reinforce an important message about gender roles and equality.

A cross-school dance is unique to the district. Gunn students have had few other opportunities to meet Paly students; the result is a lack of connection between the two student bodies, something that is surprising for two schools located only across town from one another. Teens should get to know their community, and that includes getting to know students from other schools. However, it’s hard to find opportunities to freely mix and mingle with students from other schools. By co-hosting a dance, the two high schools come together to bring that opportunity directly to students. Furthermore, getting rid of the traditional Sadie’s dance is a positive change. Historically, Sadie’s has never had a relatively high attendance count—last year, 255 students bought tickets to the Sadie’s dance, compared to the annual average of 600 tickets sold for the first quad dance of the year. Sadie’s is a dance that is supposed to symbolize gender equality and female empowerment by specifically being an event where the “standard” gender roles are reversed: female students take the initiative and ask male students tothe dance, rather than the other way around.
While some may protest that getting rid of Sadie’s would only be a step backwards because the dance intends to promote gender equality and socially empower females, the opposite may be true. The idea of Sadie’s implies that female students should only freely take the initiative on special occasions. Instead, a better way of promoting gender equality would be to encourage girls to take a stand at all dances. We shouldn’t need to set aside a once-a-year time to empower women. Instead, the school can promote gender equality through advertising choices such as featuring girls asking guys on Titan Broadcast Network (TBN) ads or posters. We should make it clear that female students are always empowered, and the first step towards that is removing an event already unpopular with students.

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