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Blurred Lines…He said, “Yes”?

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Photo Credit: victoria-writes.com

A woman proposing marriage to a man is not a new thing; however its popularity seems to have increased over the past few years.  In countries such as Finland, Ireland and Scotland, women are encouraged to wait until Leap Day—February 29th—to propose if they so choose.  In America, the “land of the free”, women are proudly exercising their choice to propose to men no matter what the day.  A recent video from Facebook shows a woman proposing to her man.  After a little research, I discovered that the man had already previously proposed to this woman.  Finding this out only made me even more confused than I was when I initially viewed the video clip of the woman proposing.  Why did she feel that it was necessary to propose to him, especially after he had already proposed to her? I yearn for the opportunity to interview this woman so that I can at least try to understand her choice.

Viewers of the “reality” show Love and Hip-Hop New York witnessed rapper Jim Jones dance around his longtime girlfriend Chrissy’s overt hints that she wanted to get married.  Eventually, Chrissy took matters into her own hands and proposed to Jim with an engagement ring.  The discussions  that occurred following that episode were even more entertaining and thought provoking than the episode itself.  Many of us have heard stories of women proposing to men, but it’s still perceived as taboo.

Women’s liberation has evolved into a seemingly invicible entity since its inception.  Gender roles have evolved and oftentimes have reversed to accommodate the fluctuating dynamics of male and female relationships.  Single fathers and stay at home dads are commonplace; a woman’s success in careers that are traditionally dominated by men is increasingly attainable; women are asserting themselves more and asking men out on dates; women are becoming less ashamed of their thriving sexuality—-and women are proposing to men more frequently than we’d like to acknowledge.  Of course we still have a ways to go in this struggle for gender equality.  Gender equality in and of itself is whole ‘nother topic surrounded by limitless controversy.  But wait—do we really want to be equal to men in each and every area of life?

Many people see no problem with a woman proposing to a man, but in reality the overall perception is that men still are expected to initiate this life changing event.  What’s even more prevalent than a woman proposing to a man is couples who “mutually agree” to get married.  And in this day and time why not? Especially for couples who are mature adults with no problem being transparent with each other.   But, I  digress, as an “independent woman”, I pride myself on being self-sufficient and able to hold my own.  Yet, I must admit that I believe in letting a man be a man in the sense of him fulfilling his traditional role with regards to dating and marriage. Like Jill Scott said, “The Fact Is (I Need You)”.  Even the most independent woman needs to know that her man is going to take charge, romance her, cater to her, support her, love her, lust her, protect her, honor her, respect her and do whatever else her heart desires within reason.

We’ve gotten a little too comfortable with men not being men and women not being women.  And yes, I get that roles change and that everyone does what suits them, but I can’t help but think that we’ve blurred the lines of what exactly needs to be in place in order for a relationship to thrive and be healthy.  Yes, I know that there are couples who’ve been married for several years after the woman proposed to the man and I’m not knocking them, in fact I admire any couple who withstands the tests of time, no matter the pattern of events leading up to their nuptials.  Truthfully, though I still can’t help but defer to tradition when it comes to this particular subject.

Realistically, women are the driving force in relationships.  Men know that we decide from the moment we lay eyes on them whether or we’re going to allow them into our world, once we let them in,  and as the interaction progresses, we decide whether or not we are going to continue sharing our world and how much of our world that we’re going to share.  Mature men know  and understand that eventually the relationship must progress and evolve or we’re moving on–sooner or later.  The fact that we want to wear our independence and self-sufficiency like a second skin, yet we prefer to be asked for our hand in marriage is due to living in a world of perpetual ironies.   As one fellow blogger stated:

Because the real issue is that no matter how much women earn, how many degrees they get, how many companies they run, there is a narrative of deference built into heterosexual femininity that isn’t going anywhere, one of waiting and being chosen, one that complicates the notion of joint partnership

 

During a recent conversation with one of my single girlfriends, she spoke about letting her ex-boo go because he wanted her to give more in the relationship, however he was not willing to reciprocate.  Eventually, she told him to hit the bricks because she really didn’t need the stress of the relationship or him.  However, a few minutes later she said, “I just want a man who will choose Me, when is someone going to choose Me?” This is a perfect example of one of the perpetual ironies that women struggle to ignore through denial.  Though she’s an independent, self-sufficient single woman, she still yearns for the man who will come and woo her like she deserves to be wooed.

According to a recent CBS News article, three-fourths of Americans agree with a woman proposing to a man, however in actuality, most marriage proposals are still initiated and carried out by men.  The stigma of a man looking like an emasculated punk if he doesn’t propose to a women is an ever present and unrelenting shadow.  Unfortunately, the chronic state of single womanhood and the residual eagerness to marry has led to many women proposing to their men without a second thought.  I don’t knock these women for doing this, if you like, I love it.  My issue is that it contributes to the increasingly blurred lines of gender roles.  As the product of a single mother, I understand that oftentimes a woman has got to do what she has to do when there isn’t a man around to do it.  But then, there should be no wonder why many of us women, even those of us who have mates, have still developed the Superwoman complex.

 

If you’re reading this and thinking that, ultimately I’m for a woman sitting around and waiting on a man to propose. NO!  Not true; I’m all for a woman going after what she wants.  However, from my limited time here on Earth, I’ve learned that when you force the natural order of things, you get a jacked up outcome or you have to work even harder than necessary to achieve the desired outcome.

 

 

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