A young woman's "debut" to society, expressing her newfound eligibility for courtship, Debutante balls started in Europe as a way to introduce a young woman into a royal society. From then on, she would be an eligible bachelorette to the young men of royal blood. It was brought to America by the pilgrims who wanted to keep their English upper-class roots and establish their social dominance among the Natives. While these balls are no longer necessary nor popular in the UK, they are still flourishing in the United States, and for no good reason. Some people see them as a way to gain respect among the people of their community, but what are debutantes doing that earn them the right of being celebrated, besides turning 17 and being born into a wealthy family?
Debutante balls are just a useless rite of passage for upper-class young women to feel a sense of initiation into a classist, exclusive society.
Some people may argue that their inclusion to society is a great thing to add to a resume, but the only value that statement holds is a way of expressing your family's income to your employer. Any recruiter who sees this as a valuable addition is only putting them at an advantage not because of their own qualifications, but because of how much money their parents make. Spending a year learning etiquette and how to waltz doesn't earn anyone the right to think they are better than any other potential recruits with the same qualifications.
Being a debutante doesn't deserve to have a spot on a resume next to impressive academic achievements and extracurriculars.
People might also advocate Debutante balls' relevance by comparing them to other rites of passage, such as a Quinceañera or a Bat Mitzvah. However, the difference is that these traditions are held and celebrated by all the people of a certain religion or nationality. Debutante balls are only celebrated by a certain group of people, having nothing in common besides belonging to the upper-class society. These people share no lineage or religious beliefs that would entail a traditional rite of passage. It is an insult to compare such special practices to one which holds little to no value to anyone.
Debutante balls are an outdated tradition that serves no purpose in today's society, except to flaunt wealth.
The whole point of these balls, historically, was to introduce young women to the society in order to have them married, and having that as the underlying traditional purpose is not only archaic, it's a slap to the face to the current women's right's movement. To have young women still participating in this event, many of which have no knowledge of its history, is a step back in our advancement as a society.