Tales From The Girl’s Bathroom: Ascension or Buckingham Palace?

Tales From The Girls Bathroom: Ascension or Buckingham Palace?

To start, I want to throw in a disclaimer! I am beyond blessed to be able to say that I was a part of this year’s homecoming court and had the opportunity to represent a school that I am so passionate about. I am incredibly grateful for such a unique and eye opening experience.  There are few things I believe in as much as I believe in this school and all it stands for. With that in mind, I decided to write this article because I believe Ascension is such a unique place, and it is therefore above the stereotypical associations with a traditional homecoming court. Please do not misunderstand what I’m saying. This is in no way a critique of Ascension and their tradition of a homecoming court, yet more so a dissatisfaction with the stereotypical expectations associated with a homecoming court. Sadly, my criticism of this system comes without a solution, making this more of a “love letter” to my fellow ladies who deserve recognition for making Ascension the wonderful place it is. All of that being said, I decided to take a stand (well actually I’d prefer to sit after a week of wearing high heels…) for what I believe. I’m thankful for the uniqueness and open mindedness of our school community for allowing me to have a place to voice my opinions and to have them heard.

Last Friday night (cue Katy Perry), I ditched my uncomfy cheer uniform for an equally uncomfy suit jacket. Sitting on a small “stage”, with stadium lights beaming on me, in a pool of sweat, attempting to understand football (and failing miserably), I began to feel rather uneasy. Typically, the stage is my comfort and solace, so this anxiety was rather foreign to me, especially in this setting.  To quote the brilliance that is William Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage”, and those who hear me singing the transition music in the hallway can attest to the fact that I wholeheartedly treat it as so, yet the way I felt on that stage could compare to either the nauseating Pitch Perfect vomit scene, or speechless Gabriella in that iconic High School Musical moment. It wasn’t until I was placed on that stage when I started questioning why we were trying to win this title. In my mind, what sets Ascension apart is the fact that we embrace all the girls in our school community. Ascension is the Buckingham Palace of schools, housing royalty for eight hours five days a week.

With this thought floating through my brain, I decided to do some research on the duties of a queen. If Mrs. Lobello’s class has taught me anything so far, it’s that it is important to get your facts straight. My knowledge of monarchies were limited to information gained from Hamilton song lyrics, traumatic memories of PJ’s History of Religion class, and vague remembrance of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding that I pulled an all nighter to watch (easily the most magical night of my young life). Thanks to a semi-sketchy website, the duties of the Queen of England were bullet pointed, greatly simplifying all of her tasks. The first duty listed was Head of The Armed Forces, essentially declaring war and stating when the war is over.  If I look back to last week, I recall that every single senior girl declared war… on the juniors (I’m no snitch though). Next, she is the head of the Church of England. Daily, all of my senior gal pals attend chapel and are lights shining God’s love all over the place. While this isn’t exactly what it means to be the Head of the Church of England, these girls are all strong and powerful Christian women. Lastly (well, out of the duties I could stretch to fit this article) the queen is representative of the nation. We are all representatives of Ascension Episcopal School, and it would not be the same without each and every one of us. I cannot imagine Ascension Episcopal School without the bake sales, the messages written on the walls of the bathroom by the ARK club, our killer volleyball team, our talented musicians, and countless other unique groups lead by the powerful women at this school who make Ascension, Ascension. Whether it’s on the field, in the classroom, or on stage, we are all representatives of this school, which makes us all royalty. Everyone is significant and plays a role in keeping this school such a special place, none superior to the others, all apart of something bigger, forming together this school community. 

After A LOT of soul searching, I realized that my problem with the homecoming court tradition is the stereotype. The worst part of it all is that I feel like I conformed to the ridiculous notion that for one week, the chosen few have to essentially become the royalty of the school. I felt like I was going against something I believed in: the beauty of all women and the uniqueness each woman possesses. The suits, the gloves, and the hats made me feel like Emily Gilmore, and hearing my “accomplishments” blared for the entire crowd to hear felt like they were making me out to be someone I’m not and someone I definitely didn’t recognize. The simplest things made me feel kinda silly. From the “official” blue polos, to copious amounts of flowers, and even ditching my beat up converse to put on boots for the parade felt like a betrayal to my typical “gorgeous chaos” look. I’m not one to normally get up in the morning and fix my hair for school, but I felt this pressure to look and act great, and this included applying a face full of makeup that has typically sat on my counter collecting dust. Everyone in the school community is well aware that I’m a hot mess, so why pretend differently?  No matter how many accomplishments they are able to announce via loudspeaker, that does not make me any more deserving of recognition, and a made-up title should not cause me to act any differently. No matter how much I dream to be like Kate Middleton, I’m not. I’m Caroline Frentz, and that’s more than enough.

Overall, I think as a school we need to reinvent what it means to be a part of the homecoming court and rid the court of this ridiculous stereotype. Instead of a tradition weighted down by absurd and unrealistic expectations, I think it should be treated as a celebration of the uniqueness and individualism of all the different personalities in our school community, which is so special and diverse. Ascension is full of nonconformists, making it a perfect place to create change, and we can start by recognizing and appreciating all the personalities of the school. Every girl (and guy, for that matter) in this school is deserving of recognition. We all make Ascension special and unique.