Choice and Philosophy Kushay's Matter Bank

[AK] Criticisms Against Marriage Proposals

This note will discuss how marriage proposals is a bad way to move forward with a relationship. Source:

Responsible decisions aren’t made at the moment. They’re the product of dialogue and careful, measured consideration. In the context of marriage, There are important questions to ask: How will finances work? Would you move across the country for a job? Will we have children, and if we do, will you change the diapers?

The problem is that oftentimes women are forced to not think of these questions thoroughly because of the marriage proposal culture, where supposedly how a marriage begins is when the women are suddenly proposed by men. When he’s down on one knee, with friends hiding in the bushes, there is no time to get answers or air doubts.

Why does this happen? Two reasons.

1. Symbolic rendering. Now that we expect women to be equal to men, women are looking for ways to distinguish gender in their lives. Within heterosexual romantic relationships, there is still a strong sense that women and men want different things and, by extension, should behave in different ways. As more women assume traditionally male roles at work, the traits that distinguish men and women in relationships become harder to see. A symbolic act, like a proposal, is a way to reenact those differences.

2. Several recent studies show that men, particularly young men, feel intense pressure to hide how they’re feeling. According to Judy Chu, a sociologist at Stanford who studies gender, young men today are so fixated on “being a man” that they “end up missing…what they each really want, which is just that closeness.” A proposal is an occasion when it’s socially acceptable, even encouraged, for men to be emotional—to lay it all on the line, and show their partner how much she means to them.

What solidifies this? Two things.

1. Social media. In proposing, Facebook or Instagram post is an essential part of the process. “Women want that perfect picture—him down on one knee; her, hand on cheek, surprised”. Herd mentality becomes apparent here.

2. American pop culture. There are hundreds of memorable proposal scenes in modern TV and movies, most of which follow a familiar script. Bruno Mars’ “I do”, Sweet Home Alabama, etc.

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