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Traditionally girls wear perfume, and make-up such as eyeshadow, lipstick and blush.Girls also wear a corsage, given to them by their dates, and girls give boys matching boutonnières to be worn on their lapels.According to Jackie Blount, during the Mc Carthy era "schools became implemented curricula intended to keep youth sexually straight.In effect, schools became fundamentally important agencies in the nationwide campaign to fight homosexuality." This attitude further promoted heteronormative practices such as naming a prom king and prom queen, requiring strict gender conformity in dress, etc.While high school yearbooks did not start covering proms and including prom pictures until the 1930s and 1940s, historians, including Meghan Bretz, believe proms may have existed at colleges as early as the late 19th century.The journal of a male student at Amherst College in 1894 recounts an invitation and trip to an early prom at neighboring Smith College for women.
Competition for the prom court also intensified, as the designation of “prom queen” became an important distinction of popularity.
In Australia and New Zealand, the terms school formal, and ball are most commonly used for occasions equivalent to the American prom, and the event is usually held for students in senior years, although the bestowing of the regal titles rarely, if ever, occurs.
Many schools hold a formal graduation ball for finishing students at the end of the year in place of or as well as a formal.
In practice, this event may be a combined junior/senior dance.
At a prom, a Prom King and Prom Queen may be revealed.