Friday, May 30, 2014

Why I Didn't Tan for Prom

I've got approximately five days of school left, plus two afternoon sessions where I'll be taking my end of the year exams. I'm not nearly as stressed as I thought I would be, which is all good because well, I worry. Deep breaths, deep breaths.

I was one of the many lucky (?) sophomores who attended prom this year thanks to a gracious upperclassman friend who made me his guest. The whole dress shopping thing made me slightly consider renting a tux and calling it a day, but that's a different story I'm not sure I'm ready to tell. For those unfamilar, I'll sum up every prom dress store as smelling like hairspray, desperation, and women who either want to be overly helpful or overly rude. It's not pleasant to say the least.

Nonetheless need I mention nail appointments and dress alterings and hair ideas and make up sessions and the tanning bed. By God you'd think I was preparing for my wedding or funeral, but sadly neither of those were happening. 

I've bought into the consumerism machine that is prom. And it's not fun nor cheap. 

Yet I'm here to preach to you about one little appointment that goes into the ultimate plan of looking your best at only the raddest night of your life (cue eye roll). 

The tanning bed. 

There's always the obvious disapproval of the UV lined bed because it increases your risk for skin cancer and female baldness and breast reduction. Okay maybe not. But I feel those last two warnings would scare away more than the first. And let's not forget the old women who shake their fingers at you as they tell you about all their suspected moles that could have been melanoma even though they never even stepped foot in a tanning bed. 

But alas no female listens. We're risk takers, especially if the outcome is beautifully bronzed skin to the point of what our media fed society deems as beautiful. It's cheap to the price of three sessions for $10, with a punch card predicting a free session when you buy 9.

Now I'm a self proclaimed feminist. I say self proclaimed because I'm sure there's part of me that doesn't fit the exact unstated guidelines on what makes you one, but I call myself one nonetheless.

I'm sure the fact that I'm doing all this nonsense of prom kicks me out of the feminist box, but I'm mostly going for the food so hear me out.

Despite the pressure of friends and girls who were way too tan for it to be only May, I said no to the skin cancer market. I like to tell girls it's a good deal. $10 for 3 sessions and an increased chance of needing your dermatologist appointment for more than your acne. Double win.

Granted, I tan easily and between the 24/7 outdoor soccer practices and games that lead up to prom, I showed up looking fairly dark. I may have had a farmer's tan, but I indeed had some color.

Yet I couldn't grasp my mind around the girls who looked as if they had just come back from a week long cruise around Mexico where they mistook the tanning oil as sun screen the whole trip. Their unnatural tans were, well, unnatural.

I'm a strong believer in the fact that girls only do things because other girls are doing the same. It's not a new concept. And when one girl gets a nice tan because of $5 and four minutes in a warm bed, all the other girls want in. If no one put themselves through the few minutes of UV sleep once a week, no other girls would feel pressured to do the same. If you want girls to stop tanning, you have to stop tanning.

Granted, some girls are already tan, some girls tan easily, and some girls look like they naturally belong with the Jersey Shore crew after being outside for a few hours, but it's a shame we've gone to such bigger measures.

Maybe I want to make a bigger point of why can't we just accept our natural skin colors. If we all just showed up with our normal skin tones, I feel there'd be a lot less of that judge-y stuff that goes on. This goes much farther than putting on make-up to make yourself look good. This goes to the point of drastically increasing your chances of getting cancer to look a few shades darker in a handful of photos we won't even like in five years.

Have a fabulous day.


  1. That's funny, your society going for tans.
    Here, its fairness creams and who-knows-what-else that's all the hit here. :)

    1. I love seeing different society's trends and prefrences. So funny as looking tan is all the rage here and I couldn't even begin to imagine it being any other way. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. You rock for being proud of how you look! I wish more people would realise it's a pointlessly high standard they're contributing to.. As of this year, it's illegal to use sunbeds in Ireland unless you are 18 or older - it's because most Irish people have ginger-quality skin and we have extreme rates of skin cancer. Also, 9 tans and the 10th is free? Would your skin not peel off by then??

    Cool post :)

    1. Haha thanks so much! And one would think their skin would eventually shed away! One of my rather good friends got a package where she paid $30 for unlimited tanning for a whole month and she went almost every other day. So great that Ireland bans tanning for those under 18. In the US the individual states decide what restrictions they want to place on indoor tanning I do believe and where I'm from it's illegal for those under 14 to use a tanning bed, while those 14-17 can tan to their heart's content with parental permission.

      Thanks as always for coming by!