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Can a Woman Propose to a Man?

“He went to Jared.”

“She said yes.”

Movies, ads, and mainstream society all tell us the same thing - it’s the man that proposes to the love of his life. For eons, that’s how it has been. However, with time comes change and in the last century or so we’ve seen a huge leap forward in terms of gender equality and women empowerment. No longer is it unheard of for a woman to pay for dinner, or ask a man on a date. So why is it still taboo for her to pop the question?

Marriage Through the Ages

Old school photo of bride and groom

Image Credit: Rick Zolla

Marriage hasn’t always been about love. For the vast majority of history, marriage was a political and economical decision. And even then, as far as women were concerned, it wasn’t always a decision. Women weren’t so much people getting married, as they were property being handed off in exchange for anything from land to a higher social standing. Proposals weren’t romantic gestures - they were business transactions. Even when views shifted and marriage became about love and attraction, women still weren’t encouraged (or even allowed) to propose. Men, being the providers, the logical, and rational head of the household were far more adept at handling such an important situation. And thus, from repeated practice, a tradition was born.

Why Women Don’t

Man running away from three women chasing him

We’ve all seen the same old comedy routine - a man afraid of commitment, and a woman desperate for a ring. Hilarity ensues as she drops hint after not-so-subtle hint, and he fends her off for as long as he can before finally breaking down and proposing. This idea that men propose when they’re ready, and therefore to propose to him would be the equivalent of trapping him, is present in the minds of the majority of women. We are told not to strip him of his masculinity, or steal his thunder, or act desperate, and to wait for him to decide he wants to “settle down.” Otherwise, we will be rejected and die crazy old cat ladies. How’s that for a deterrent?

Crazy cat lady

Why Women Should

Couple kissing on the beach at sunset

Today’s couples have so much more freedom. The power imbalance of the manly man and the timid woman has made way for equality in relationships, and this allows for a healthier dynamic that includes better communication - the foundation of a successful relationship. Rather than waiting with bated breath for a proposal that may never come, couples are deciding together when they will be ready to tie the knot. With the fear of rejection slowly being whittled away, what’s stopping you from telling your man you’re in this for life and proposing to him? While not all couples would be comfortable with this, if you feel that your dynamic is the kind that allows for the possibility, why not go for it? At the end of the day, it’s not who proposes that matters; it’s the love that inspires the gesture that’s truly important. 💍