So I can admit that I’m a bit of a Suzie Come Lately to the concept of feminism. With all the things happening in politics and with rape culture, victim shaming and the Republican party trying to police my uterus, it’s damn near impossible not to have an opinion on all the things happening. I won’t really bother going to all of mine on those issues since I don’t want to keep you here all night. My blanket response to all of that stuff is, “I don’t think so, Tim.”
Anyway… I got a review this morning for a chapter that posted in which a female character proposed to her boyfriend. The reviewer was disappointed that the female was the one to propose because in her mind, that’s the man’s job. Those aren’t exact words but it’s what was definitely implied in her critique. I get it. From the time girls are little we’re pumped full of Disney princess crap, telling us to believe that someday the perfect prince will come along, sweep us off our feet and there will be this magical moment when he proposes marriage. Sounds lovely, don’t it?
Except that’s not reality. Each woman’s idea of the perfect proposal is different. My bestie, for instance, was proposed to at the home opener of a baseball game a few years back when her now husband popped the question via the jumbo screen. Ummm… I would have died. The funny part? She was getting hot chocolate at the time the message flashed on the screen and missed it. Yeah. Not exactly the way he was hoping that would go. It’s a cute story now and everything has worked out for them so far, but I’ve always thought public proposals are a nightmare.
Then again, I like the idea of being at home on a quiet night and it just clicks that proposing is the right thing to say or do. Yes, it’s a big deal to agree to marry someone because it’s a lifetime commitment. However, I like simple things. I don’t think it should matter whether it’s me or the man I’m with that asks the question. The important thing isn’t the setting or the story that goes along with it, but the answer that’s given. None of the flowers, fancy food or even the ring matters if I say no, does it?
What stuck in my craw about the comment I got is that it’s a very patriarchal view of marriage proposals. Society dictates that it’s up to the man to decide when a relationship is ready to take that next step. Umm… I’m sorry, but when did I lose the ability to decide that for myself? There’s a stigma attached to a woman proposing, as if it somehow makes her desperate or pathetic. She’s desperate because she might never get married if she doesn’t put this one on lockdown while she still can.
It’s a silly assumption.
What’s wrong with a woman proposing to a man she’s in a committed relationship with? If it’s agreed that marriage is the end game anyway, what difference does it make who pops the question? Again, we all have our ideals but that isn’t always the way it works out in reality. Sometimes a girl’s gotta take a bull by the horns to get what she wants. Then again, we’re supposed to be the fairer, weaker sex. We’re not supposed to be so open about our wants or needs. We’re not supposed to be the aggressors. That’s “a man’s job”. I think that’s ridiculous.
If I sat around waiting for a man to give me everything I wanted out of life I’d be one sorry woman. In turn, men shouldn’t sit around waiting for a woman to fulfill their needs either. There’s nothing wrong with a man being the first to say he wants a child, although it’s more common, I would assume, for a woman to reach that milestone first.
When I think about it, though, I realize that I came from a family where my grandmother definitely wore the pants in her marriage. She was almost 30 when she got married in 1953. By then most women were approaching the end of their child rearing years. At that point in her life she had served in the Army Nurse’s Corp, caring for wounded soldiers returning from Europe in WWII. She had been to New York for further education in nursing. She went back to work after she was finished having children at a time when most women stayed home to care for the house and their children. Of course she did those things as well, but she had a professional life outside of her family. That’s a pretty fantastic role model to have, so maybe that taints my view a bit. Gram never let anyone or anything get in her way.
She was very much a kick ass and take names kind of woman, and having six granddaughters to pass those lessons on to has meant that there is another generation of girls that aren’t afraid to speak their minds or pursue what makes them happy, regardless of what society dictates we should do. Not every girl gets role models outside of the aforementioned Disney princesses. We were very blessed to have Gram in our lives.
Would I like my happily ever after? Sure.
Am I going to wait for a man to provide it for me? I don’t think so, Tim.