Should Women Start Proposing To Men?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 12/29/2014 | 10:30 AM EST

Centric explores the tradition of marriage proposals and challenges the status quo of gender norms

Nearly every woman dreams of the day her man gets down on one knee and pops that oh so desired question, “Will you marry me?” It’s such a worldly tradition that it often feels like its irreversibly a part of human nature.

The man asks the woman for her hand in marriage. She gleams with joy and tearfully says yes. He stands up and the married-couple-to-be seals the deal with a kiss.

But many women in years-long relationships often find themselves patiently waiting for their man to propose to no avail. Every person knows of at least one woman who’s so beset on getting engaged that she’s merely holding a gun to her man’s head dropping hint after hint and threatening him with ultimatums.

But should a man always have to propose?


Yes, it’s a great tradition among the sexes and historically it made sense during the days of dowries and arranged marriages, but in the 21st century maybe women should begin to reconsider the way they view marriage proposals.

Waiting on a man to pop the question for some women could take years or maybe never happen. Men don’t fantasize engagements the way in which women do. From an early age, young girls are bombarded with images of the man asking the woman’s hand in marriage, conditioning them to believe that it’s a man’s job to propose. But is it any less romantic for a woman to do the same?

Conventionally speaking, we know it’s not necessarily “sexy” for a woman to propose to her man, but if she happens to be dating a man who’s maybe less assertive when it comes to the whole marriage thing maybe she should consider all her options.

On the most basic level proposals are about love, not gender norms. If a woman truly believes in her heart that she’s with the man she plans to be with for the rest of her life, she should go all in. Ring and all.

Reality star Chrissy Lampkin famously did it on an episode of “Love & Hip-Hop” after growing tired of waiting on Jim Jones to pop the question after years of being together. It didn’t necessarily mean Jones didn’t want to marry Lampkin, but it was clear he was reluctant to take that big step.

Much of the marriage proposal tradition is centered around the engagement ring. Almost every woman envisions being presented with a nice big diamond ring, and more likely equates proposing to her man as a missed opportunity of that. But that’s not exactly true. Go vogue by getting your man an engagement ring and, assuming he says yes, you two can then pick out a ring for you as well. That way both people in the relationship get to rock a symbol of their love and commitment to jump the broom.

Sometimes a woman has to take matters into her own hands. She shouldn’t allow trivial gender roles to bog down her chances of a happy married life if she so wants. Thankfully, some women are catching on to the new trend--but it’s still an uphill battle. Younger Americans--30 and under--still disapprove with the idea of a woman proposing to a man. Three-fourths of Americans, however, say it’s fine in theory.

We may never see a world where just as many women pop the question as men, but if a woman knows what she wants she should go after it.

(Photo: Wavebreak Media LTD/Wavebreak Media Ltd./Corbis)

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