Should more women propose marriage?

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 29, 2013 

When, if ever, will women propose marriage as often as men?

On Monday's episode of "The Real Housewives of Orange County," Gretchen Rossi proposed to Slade Smiley. He said yes, but only after getting down on one knee himself -- evidence that their big moment wasn't entirely devoid of traditional gender roles.

Speaking of those roles, let's consider "The Bachelorette," another popular reality series that's currently under way. I found an online forum discussing this question: "Should the Bachelorette be the one do the proposing?"

One commenter offers a wise observation: "It seems weird that she does all the rose-giving up until they very end where they must then ask her if she wants to be with them."

Scour the Internet and it won't take you long to find a recent study of college students at a liberal-leaning university, which "found that not a single man or woman wanted a proposal in which the woman asked the man to marry her," according to LiveScience.

I'm an a six-year relationship and I spend entirely too much time on The Knot. So yeah, I've thought about this topic. Why do I still accept traditional gender roles when it comes to wedding proposals? Well, I've always believed guys have a harder time committing and if a guy hasn't proposed yet, it's because he's not ready.

Go ahead, call me old-fashioned. I blame it on behavior like what we saw from Brooks on Monday's episode of "The Bachelorette." SPOILER ALERT

His head said he loved Desiree Hartsock, his heart said he didn't. I think it took him roughly 30 minutes to convey that sentiment to Desiree. "I really want to be madly in love with you," he said. The conversation, which took way too long, ended with Brooks leaving the show by choice.

Please...let me buy an overpriced piece of male jewelry, mumble through some heartfelt yet incoherent sentences and hope my heart doesn't get broken. That sounds totally fun.

Plenty of writers have discussed the gender roles surrounding marriage proposals.

Here's an excerpt from Slate:

"Women are well aware that people believe that if a man actually wants to marry you, he'll ask. Given the choice between two stereotypes — the passive princess whose charm and beauty brings a man to one knee or an insecure needball who nagged a reluctant man into marriage — women will pick the former every time."

A writer for women's website Jezebel offers these words:

"Gender roles can be fun when we choose them freely, and traditions are often complex and irrational notions that simply make us feel like things are right with the world. But if we are really equal, why does it matter who asks whom? Can women ever truly be the romantic instigator? What would we really be losing by leaving this tradition behind?"

And here's an excerpt from Salon:

"There’s been an explosion of DIY brides and growing cynicism about the wedding industry. It would seem only fitting — especially given growing numbers of same-sex couples getting hitched — for the proposal to change too. The truth, though, is that the male proposal is showing no signs of disappearing."

Weigh in, readers: Do you expect these gender norms to change in your lifetime? Why or why not?

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