Op-Ed: Carnival Princes and Kings Paid for Winning

Without a doubt, Chelsea High School is one of the best schools in our state. Not just with it’s academic achievements, but also our great teachers, our wide range of extracurricular activities offered, and our overwhelming school spirit. But every seemingly beautiful thing has its hidden faults, and one such fault was recently brought to my attention.

Did you know that until fairly recently, the guys who won Winter Carnival at our school got paid for their “achievement,” while the women who won Homecoming received no such compensation? I didn’t, and was honestly appalled when I first found out. What possible reason would the school have to establish this tradition of gender inequality?

I discussed the matter with Geo, and she seemed just as upset about the whole matter as I was. She started off by saying how she is “actually embarrassed” that this horrible tradition continued after she became Student Council Adviser. However, the reason that she chose to keep the policy in place was due to the fact that the boys who were nominated often opted out of the opportunity. Geo explained how, in her first year as Student Council Adviser, “We had five boys drop out in the first day” that they were notified of their nomination, and that the Student Council members “had to drag boys through this process.” It does seem like a difficult situation, I’ll admit.

While I understand where Geo and the other teachers in charge of such events were coming from, I don’t think that the boys should be rewarded with $25 (or $50 for senior winners) if they manage to show school spirit and participate in a few events. If they want to do these things, then they should participate for that reason alone. If they choose to pass, then that is their loss. How does it affect the school as a whole? It really doesn’t. We could easily find at least fifty boys in each grade who would love to participate for the simple excitement and fun. Let them have their chance.  

And, quite frankly, it’s disrespectful to the women. Although they may seem more willing to participate, they still put in the same effort as the guys do. The nominations for Winter Carnival and Homecoming are in almost all ways mirrored positions, except for the gender that is represented at each and the prize money. How do you think the women felt, with the boys receiving money for the exact same thing that they had been doing? It’s like the wage gap manifested at our school pep rallies.

During an interview with The Bleu Print, student council representatives indicated that this policy is no longer active and will not continue in future years.

Even so, I think it is important to remind people of this matter. Or inform them that it had even occurred in the first place.

Perhaps Geo puts the importance of having this conversation best: “I think the problem lies in holding onto the tradition of Homecoming Queen and Winter Carnival King from a time when men and women conformed to strict gender roles and had Cold War ideals of domesticity. These practices are outdated and need re-consideration.”

“Seriously. It’s 2018.”