When Will He Propose?!

After reading ABJ’s post about Engagement Chicken, I couldn’t stop thinking about society’s portrayal of the heterosexual engagement.  The portrayal almost always consists of a man proposing and a woman accepting the proposal (with other details being up to each person’s imagination). It’s fascinating that in today’s world, where more and more women are insisting on paying for their share of the meal during a date, there is little talk about the need for women to propose. It seems that women generally still prefer their men proposing.

Why is that? Sure, the idea of the man proposing is incredibly romantic, but it is also incredibly patriarchal. By saying that men should propose, we are saying that men should have the power to choose their women while women should merely wait to be chosen. In the typical proposal, the only power women hold is the ability to turn their men down, which is too passive to really be considered a power.

I’m not saying that men shouldn’t propose. Because they should. But women should also propose. We need to reach a point where the idea of the woman proposing is also remarkably romantic. We need to reach a point where the woman proposing isn’t seen as the demasculinization of the man.

We need to reach a point where typing “Proposal” into Google Images’s search bar won’t solely conjure multiple variations of this:



2 thoughts on “When Will He Propose?!

  1. I think it’s also quite telling that, as far as I know, the United States is the only country in the world where public marriage proposals are common and admired. I’ve been freaked out about this for a while. Proposing in public must be a hellish experience for the women; it puts her on the spot in front of a crowd of people that in many cases will be loudly urging her to accept. It’s the absolute worst way to initiate what is theoretically supposed to be a deeply personal and intimate bond.

    Here’s an article from a while back about some of the most spectacularly ill-conveived public proposals ever made. Some are unsuccessful. The first one in particular (which takes place in a food court) is particularly awkward (and unintentionally hilarious in my opinion).


  2. I’m so glad you brought this topic up, and I agree with you completely. The heterosexual proposal narrative extends into homosexual proposal ideas, as well. I have often heard people assuming or expecting that in lesbian relationships, the more masculine partner, or the” guy”, would propose.

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