A South Carolinian Debutante Ball

At the invitation of a friend of mine, I traveled to South Carolina to attend a debutante ball, a grand tradition in which young women are presented in society. Because I had only recently learned about this tradition, I jumped at the chance to experience this unique coming-of-age celebration.

South Carolina Debutante BallDonning a floor-length gown and opera-length, white gloves, I stood at the front of the crowd and marveled at the cherub-like debutantes entering the ballroom. With their anachronistic white dresses, bouquet of red roses, delicately placed hands, and pleasant smiles, the debutantes were escorted by their fathers to the center of the floor to perform a grand curtsy under the chandelier.

South Carolina Debutante BallThey were then handed off to their escort and shuffled across the floor once more.

South Carolina Debutante BallFor the finale, the fathers and daughters danced a waltz.

South Carolina Debutante BallThen the real party began with party-goers dancing the Carolina Shag and contemporary dance styles.

Carolina Shag

South Carolina Debutante BallAlthough the presentation was perfectly executed and the party was fun, I had a difficult time wrapping my head around the rationale behind this antiquated event in today’s society. I also couldn’t imagine how these young women were coping with the varied messages the ball conveyed as well as the impossible expectations that were set upon them. I found myself questioning the entire event – Why does this tradition continue today? What purpose does it serve? Is there a more meaningful way to spend an evening? Is there a better way to showcase the strengths and talents of young women?

South Carolina Debutante BallAll in all, the debutante ball was an intriguing cultural experience that somehow transcended time and provided me with some additional perspective.

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1 Comment

Filed under Travel

One response to “A South Carolinian Debutante Ball

  1. Nice post, Marmar!

    On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 2:47 PM, Maria Kucinskis Musings wrote:

    > mariakucinski posted: “At the invitation of a friend of mine, I traveled > to South Carolina to attend a debutante ball, a grand tradition in which > young women are presented in society. Because I had only recently learned > about this tradition, I jumped at the chance to experience” >

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