On Saturday, Feb. 1, students gathered in the dining hall to eat, dance, and shake things up a bit in the gender roles department with a Sadie Hawkins Dance, where Baylor women were tasked with inviting their male counterparts to the dance, and many found it to be a fun challenge.
Some were hesitant to ask simply because as women, they are not as widely expected to be the ones who do the asking; it can be a lot of pressure. “I thought it was a lot of fun to see what the guys usually have to go through and how they feel when it’s time to ask out the person they like,” observed one student.
The Sadie Hawkins Dance tradition, though new to Baylor, actually originates from a somewhat offensive comic strip. The comic, “Li’l Abner,” which was written and drawn by cartoonist Al Capp (1909–1979), and ran for 43 years. The comic follows the father of his daughter, Sadie, who rounded up single men for the dejected, “homely” girl to chase and then capture so that she could marry them. He basically threatens all the boys from ‘Dogpatch’ with a gun in the comic, saying, “Boys! Since none o’ yo’ has been man enough to marry mah dotter- ah gotta take firm measures!!”
The day that the famous father rounded up the girls became a holiday known as “Sadie Hawkins Day” and meant a new opportunity for spinsters as a batch of bachelors would be rounded up to be chased by any “less desirable” females. This sad tradition was derived from some deep-seated sexism and very heteronormative ideas but nevertheless, the Sadie Hawkins holiday became very popular in the mid-1900s.
As for the actual high school dance, in the 1950's, the new tradition of a girl’s choice dance was born and named for the unfortunate daughter in the comic. The idea that women could invite men to a dance was new and exciting at that time, even though it happens fairly often now. “The Sadie Hawkins tradition is pretty dated. I wonder how many girls actually asked boys; it appeared to me, that groups of friends decided to go to the dance, which seems much more in keeping with contemporary times. My hope is that the promposal dies an even swifter death,” commented English teacher Chris Watkins.
Some girls did choose to use the promposal technique in asking their dates, so, sadly for Mr. Watkins, the promposal lives on. Examples of techniques used in the making of Sadie’s asks included using social media platforms such as Tik Tok or Snapchat, along with clever puns. Girls who went all-out to make a gesture ended up using food, signs, lights or a combination of these to ask their dates.
For Baylor’s version of the Sadie Hawkins dance, the dining hall’s floor shook almost as if it might crash into the student center as a crowd of students jumped up and down to songs like “Low” by Flo Rida, “Yeah” by Usher, “Fergalicious,” by Fergie and songs by Post Malone including “Rockstar.” Girls’ high-heeled shoes lined the walls and guys’ ties hung loose around their necks. This dance’s DJ did not include any slow songs on the queue but students were happy as circles of people formed and dancers jumped in to show off their moves. Cookies and brownies were abundant and students enjoyed the free food and drinks in-between the dancing. Students also liked taking breaks from the noise outside and cooling off on the dining hall’s outdoor patio. There were party lights being projected on the ceiling and a balloon arch at the entry of the dining hall. The night closed out with the well-loved song “Dixieland Delight.”