A toast to the non-prom queens

Welcome to This Week’s Playlist, where we look to current events for some melodic curation inspiration. Tune in every Wednesday for a mix of news, commentary, and of course, music.

One of my favorite pieces of writing is a relatively short essay by rock critic/feminist icon Ellen Willis. Titled “Memoirs of a Non-Prom Queen,” it picks apart the myth of the “innies” and “outies” (high school blanket castes, as well as belly buttons) and also makes a poignant point about popularity:

Prom season’s in full swing now, and it’s easier than ever to be swept along with notions of what it means to be popular, both within your IRL friend group and in online circles. There’s a lot of feelings involved with prom, spurred on by decades of media representations, but ultimately it’s you wearing your tux/dress/attire of choice, or perhaps forgoing the spectacle completely. Whatever you’re doing, remember: Though not everybody can be the prom queen, you’ll get your own crowning moment, in your own way, but not on your own.

(Image via.)