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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Dear Daughters, Who Says Girls Can’t Propose?

Dear Daughters,

Eldest dear daughter had a great question for me the other day. You asked, “When you get married do the boys always have to ask the girls or are the girls allowed to ask the boys? In all the movies, and on The Amazing Race, it is always the boy that asks the girl.”

I told you there is no law that says boys always have to ask the girls. However, in North American society, tradition or “societal law” says that boys propose and girls don’t. This proves how powerful traditions are and how sometimes we do not stop and think about what we do or why we do it. We just do it because that is the way it has always been done. If you really stop and think about it there is absolutely NO reason at all that a girl cannot propose to a boy.

Engagement is simply a formal agreement between two people that they will eventually marry. According to Wikipedia.org, “A marriage proposal is an event where one person in a relationship asks for the other’s hand in marriage. If accepted, it marks the initiation of engagement. It often has a ritual quality, sometimes involving the presentation of an engagement ring and the formal asking of a question such as, “Will you marry me? In many Western cultures, the tradition has been for the man to propose to the woman. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, 29 February in a leap year is said to be the one day when a woman can propose to her partner.” Notice the key words in the description of a marriage proposal – an event where one person in a relationship asks for the other’s hand in marriage. No where does it say the person asking must be the man.

Currently in North America typically only the woman wears an engagement ring, since they are most often the one receving a marriage proposal. I told you, eldest dear daughter, I was pretty sure that if your grandmother had wanted to propose to your grandfather there would not have been a ring that she could have bought for him (they were married in the early 1970s). I have recently searched the internet and many jewelry stores do have “male engagement rings” now.

I did not thoroughly research the subject but I can only assume the Western tradition of the man proposing comes from our patriarchial society where a woman’s sole role in life is to be a wife, with the ultimate goal of bearing her husband’s children. The man needs to be sure he wants to marry the woman and when he is sure, he proposes. In a patricarchal society, women are viewed as men’s possessions. This can be backed by the fact that according to Wikipedia.org, ” In many cultures it is traditional for a man to ask permission from a woman’s father (NOTE: not her mother),  in private, before proposing to her.” In these instances the woman has to hope for the approval of both her father and the man she hopes to wed. No one asks permission of the future groom’s parents as he has the freedom to make his own decisions. If a future bride’s father refuses, then she is not allowed to marry, regardless of what she chooses. It does not matter what the future bride’s mother thinks either. This is still done in the Western culture today, although it is getting to become less common. In some cultures there are still arranged marriages where a woman has absolutely no say in who she will marry. This is decided by her father and her future groom’s father.

Eldest dear daughter you are right though – in every movie it is the girl hoping and wanting her boyfriend to propose and waiting and stressing about whether or not he will. If there ever is a proposal, it is always the boy who proposes. That is all you are seeing so it is only logical that you will assume this is the “rule”, that you have to wait for a boy to propose to you. Why would you think any differently given the way our society views women and portrays them in the media? (Sidenote: The fact that mainstream movies only feature heterosexual couples is also sending the message that couples are only boy/girl but that is a whole other topic!)

If you think of same sex partners there is no societal rule or tradition of who proposes and who doesn’t. That is because they are the same gender and therefore equal to each other in the eyes of society. Shouldn’t it be the same with heterosexual couples?

The answer to your question eldest dear daughter is that you are a brilliant and very observant young lady who has noticed a societal flaw. You are not afraid to question something that did not add up, even though the same illogical message is presented to you time and time again in our society. The answer to your question is you have the power! Don’t ever give that up! If you want to ask someone to marry you in the future, then don’t let society tell you you can’t. If you end up proposing to a man who says he wants to marry you but refuses your marriage proposal because society tells him it is the man that is supposed to ask, then you have to rethink whether or not he is a good fit for you. You have the power to control your own destiny!

Eldest Dear Daughter power

Eldest dear daughter has the power!

 

 

Middle dear daughter

Middle dear daughter has the power!

 

 

Youngest dear daughter

Youngest dear daughter has the power!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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