The Myth Of The Sadie Hawkins Dance

1950s School Dance

Ah yes, the infamous dance when the women ask the guys. Does such a thing actually exist? Further more, who the fuck is Sadie Hawkins?

Growing up I had seen this as premise on multiple TV sitcoms (who could forget the Saved By The Bell episode where Zack so desperately wanted Kelly to ask him to the dance that he uses subliminal messages to brainwash her and his scheme goes awry). I’m sure their is a Wonder Years episode featuring this, Full House, Family ties etc. But my school never did this and neither did anyone else’s that I’ve ever asked. Maybe it did happen in the 50’s and 60’s but if that’s the case why do sitcoms continue to use this outdated social situation as concept to base an episode around?

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3 Responses to The Myth Of The Sadie Hawkins Dance

  1. For those fellow TCM readers that are interested, I actually wiki’ed it and it turns out, it’s fron a Lil’ Abner cartoon strip from the 1930’s and it’s a lot more popular in the south and midwest of the US.

  2. Sadie Hawkins was a character in the now-forgotten comic strip “Lil’ Abner.” Sadie herself was a hillbilly woman who lived up in a remote part of the mountains and constantly plotted to “catch herself a man.” You might have seen a character in the Looney Tunes cartoons who was a homely female trying to snare herself a mate. “A MAAAYYY-ANNNNN!” she would gleefully exclaim and immediately pursue the hapless fellow with a shotgun. That character was based on Sadie Hawkins.

    “Lil Abner” was one of the most popular comic strips of its day and a real pop culture phenomenon. The cartoonist, Al Capp, was celebrated as a master satirist. He was also a well-known Conservative, who famously debated with John Lennon during his 1969 “Bed Peace” demonstration in the Amersterdam Hilton in which he and Yoko stayed in the bed for a week to promote peace.

  3. Oh and by the way, in Eighth grade (this was 1969 or 1970) our school actually had a “Sadie Hawkins Dance” in which the girls could ask the boys to dance. Like any other school dance, the kids who were paired up danced and the kids who weren’t clung to the walls. And anyway, back then it was too culturally ingrained that the boys took the initiative. I can’t imagine any girls actually “hooked up” from those events!


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