The demise of the homecoming queen as we know them
What’s next? Men running in the Miss America pageant, too?
Homecoming, the quintessentially American tradition featuring kings and queens wearing satin sashes and sparkly tiaras, is a tumultuous topic on campus these days.
Universities and high schools across the country, driven in large part by protests from gay students, are re-examining the ritual of crowning homecoming kings and queens, titles that often reward student achievement, are sometimes merely popularity contests and occasionally come with hefty scholarships.
Many colleges and high schools began to abandon the tradition in the 1990’s, replacing the king and queen with homecoming “royals” and “top 10 students.” Some, including Duke University, did away with homecoming in the 1970’s, when advocates for women’s rights succeeded in arguing that the contests were archaic and sexist and that they promoted stereotypical sex roles.
But elsewhere, including here at the University of Washington and at some campuses in the South, students have clung to homecoming, and now a raging debate, in many ways mirroring the national debate over same-sex marriage, has begun to ripple across the nation’s campuses.