SubDeb should include more opportunities for everyone

Taryn Robinson, Opinions Editor

A long-standing tradition at Manhattan High early in the second semester is the Suburban Debutante, or SubDeb, dance. 

This year, because of COVID-19, the SubDeb committee has decided to cancel the event. This is because the committee can’t execute the event within the parameters of the Kansas State University Alumni Center (where the group usually arranges to host SubDeb). The cancelation of this might give the team time to evaluate on how they might want to run the event differently next year, under better circumstances.

The select members of SubDeb spend a lot of time fundraising, planning and preparing for the dance. Guests tend to usually have a great time enjoying the decorations, party snacks, music and time spent with their friends. This sounds pretty grand until you are aware of the very traditional implications of SubDeb.

While this dance is well planned by the group of girls from MHS, there’s some controversy about who and what SubDeb is for. The only people that seem to be getting all the attention and having the best time are the girls that planned this event.

When attending SubDeb, you will find that these girls, along with the girls from the MHS Pride club, are the ones that seem to benefit from the event the most. Along with all of the fun they have together, their parents are all there to watch this happen too. This, to me, seems very similar to what SubDeb was intended for 400 years ago.

Debutantes are dances that many countries have ingrained in traditions since the 16th century. The dances were considered to be a family’s announcement of their daughter being old enough for marriage. In most circumstances, the dance was thrown for those who were white, rich and popular. And, in order for you to be invited to one of these occasions, you also had to meet the same requirements. 

Debutantes in the past were not solely for the daughter’s amusement, but they were beneficial to the social status of their family. To be at the top of the “popularity pyramid” was a successful mission in some people’s eyes. Compared to MHS’ version of SubDeb, this history still seems pretty relevant.

Instead of PRIDE members planning this event and having their parents be a part of it, I think that a good alternative is to let anyone who wants to help plan this should be able to. Have sign up sheets open to all, schedule times to plan the event ahead of time, and make sure everyone that wants to be is included.

This way no one is left out like many were in the past, and racism and prejudice can be a thing of the past for the surrounding community and members of MHS. As of now, the SubDeb committee mainly consists of caucasians. Living in 2020 has enabled us to reach out and try new, different things, no matter what race you are. This is what many of our ancestors fought for, and now that everyone has that opportunity, they should feel free to take it.