Sadie Hawkins dance

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A Sadie Hawkins dance or turnabout[1] is a usually informal dance sponsored by a high school, middle school or college, to which the women invite the men.[2] This is contrary to the custom of the men typically inviting the women to school dances such as prom in the spring and homecoming in the fall. These dances are primarily a United States event.

Young men and women dance at the "Sadie Daze" dance in February 1942


The Sadie Hawkins dance is named after the Li'l Abner comic strip character Sadie Hawkins, created by cartoonist Al Capp.[2][3] In the strip, Sadie Hawkins Day fell on a given day in November (Capp never specified an exact date), on which the unmarried women of Dogpatch would chase the bachelors and "marry up" with the ones that they caught.[2] The event was introduced in a daily strip that ran on November 15, 1937. By 1939, Sadie Hawkins events were held at over 200 colleges, according to Life magazine.[4]

Similar dance events[edit]

The Tolo Dance in the Pacific Northwest began several decades before Capp's comic strip. The word tolo comes from the University of Washington's Mortar Board, which began as an all-women's honor society called the "Tolo Club", from the Chinook word for success and achievement. To raise funds, the group held a dance where women asked men.[5]

See also[edit]

  • Gender roles
  • Leap year, for traditions on women proposing marriage
  • Powder Puff, a football game pitting girls against girls
  • Winter Formal, a formal dance that may be had instead of Sadie Hawkins dances from January through March


  1. ^ Twersky, Carolyn (November 16, 2022). "What Is a Sadie Hawkins Dance and Where Did It Come From?". Seventeen. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved December 23, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Lewis, Casey. "The History of Sadie Hawkins Dances". LiveAbout. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Sadie Hawkins Day". Li'l Abner. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  4. ^ McComb, Mary C. (2006). Great Depression and the Middle Class: Experts, Collegiate Youth and Business Ideology, 1929-1941. Taylor & Francis. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-415-97970-2.
  5. ^ "Tolo Chapter History – University of Washington Mortar Board – Tolo Chapter".

External links[edit]