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Should Women Propose Marriage?

Popularity 18Viewed 5720 times 2015-7-12 15:00 |System category:Life

“Of course not! That's just not the way it's done! Men are the ones to propose. A woman proposing doesn't fulfill her romantic need!”

Often mistaken for a traditionalist and sentimentalist, some might think that would me my answer to the title question. Others, who know me better, know that I'm much more of a history student, cultural anthropologist and champion of women's rights.

To understand why, traditionally, it has been men to propose marriage, let's take a look toward the past. Historically, women had very few rights and little to no social power. Except for a few isolated tribes around the world - a few of them in China, societies are patriarchal – led and driven by men. Men could own property and have money; women could not. Men could work for income. Women's work (mostly) centered around home and family. Men received the benefit of education. Until relatively recently, women were not allowed education. In some parts of the world, they still aren't.

It stands to reason that women, barren of rights and resources, couldn't propose marriage. Not only did they have nothing material to offer, they had no voice in society. Thus it was males that sought and arranged marriages: bartering a bride price with the prospect's father and establishing the conditions of marriage.

How romantic is that?

Romance had nothing to do with the traditional wedding. Usually, marriages were a matter of business – merging land or business concerns, with the bride the sacrificial offer to seal the deal. The 'bride price' was usually an amount of money that her father would stand to gain if the girl had stayed in his domain to work the fields or around the house. Otherwise, if the business merger would be lucrative, the bride price would be lower in anticipation of all that the bride's family stood to gain.

Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert is what defined marriage as a romantic ideal. Her great love for her cousin was the stuff of legend. Indeed, she followed his academic career avidly and, when he made appearances at Windsor Castle, she couldn't help but feel a deep attraction to him. The feeling was mutual, and she proposed marriage to him upon his second visit to Windsor.

Wait a minute!!! Queen Victoria, the ideal of romantic love, is the one that proposed?

In that case, why shouldn't women propose marriage!  

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Recent comments

  • 2014-04-01 2017-9-24 17:21

    wonderful depiction

  • The 'Face' Effect 2017-8-17 16:51

    In the USA blacks demand all people of other races to call them "African American" Yet they call each other the"N" word everyday.Maybe they should folllow the law. Respect is earned and can not be foreced on you by any law.

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