How great is that, as women, we are lucky enough to have one day every four years to convert traditional relationship structures? Today is Feburary 29th, which makes 2016 a leap year. But more importantly, today is the only day that women are allowed to propose to men. But actually, thinking about, one day every four years seems a bit greedy. Wouldn’t want the patriarchy to get the wrong idea, now would we?
All over my Facebook I have seen articles and screen-shots of the below “warning”. Fair play to the Guards putting their time to good use like writing status’ like these. Not like there’s any real criminals out to there to catch!
Oh wait, there are. They apparently come in the form of two legs, two eyes, two breasts and one engagement ring.
This image has been shared throughout Ireland, with countless comments praising the hilarity of it all. I, however, cannot see the humour in it. (But I am on my period, so maybe I’m just being emotionally irrational?). Equating women who want to propose to their partners to “attackers”, trying to trap their men into the hell that is marriage, is so backwards I almost don’t even know where to start.
But let’s begin with the very simple fact that women can’t, or rather, have been taught not to propose to their partners. This, of course, is evidently linked to the traditional roles men and women play in a heterosexual romantic relationship. Men are the active in the relationship, and women the submissive. Men go out and work, women stay in the home. Etc etc. We’ve heard it all before. But what can sometimes be overlooked is the fact that woman are expected to be submissive and passive in the relationship itself, forgetting about all that goes on outside it. Never mind that women are expected to stay at home and look after the kiddies, we must remember that the woman would not have gotten as far in the relationship if she were not asked to. To this day, women still have to be encouraged to “make the first move”. Yet, a lot of the time we don’t. We don’t want to seem too forward, which for some reason I cannot see right now, is a bad thing. So instead we sit staring at our phones hoping and praying that it will light up with the illustrious text from bae. We wait. We wait for the relationship to start. We wait for the conversation to happen that will cement the relationship. We wait for the relationship to progress to its final destination: marriage. Sure, there are things we can do to maybe speed up the process, but for the majority of relationship, we are the ones left waiting for him to pop the question.
The reason that women who propose today (and if you do, fair fucks to you girl GO YOU) are labelled “attackers” is because women are moving beyond their designated role, and to be blunt, I think that scares men. Because if women propose, and by doing so invert the traditional relationship roles for men and women, what are the men supposed to do? What are they to bring to the table, if they have lost the power to control the relationship? What will be their role in a relationship of equals?
“Warning” men against women today is not funny. Nor is it helpful, or progressive. In fact, it sets us back a couple centuries. The idea of a woman proposing goes far beyond the actual four words. What these men are actually being warned against is a modern day woman. One who does not subscribe to the prescribed life path society has laid out for her. She is a woman who is grabbing our one chance every four years to be in charge.
Let’s do a close reading of said status. The women described in the status may approach men in “a sinister fashion”. Add that to the fact they are approaching “single men”, not men they are in relationships with and you’ve pretty much got the standard relationship-crazed-wedding-obsessed-clingy-girlfriend image. The women that the Naas Gardaí are describing do not even wait to be in a relationship. No, no, no. They must catch whatever man, as soon as they can to fulfill the ultimate goal of a woman; marriage. They must try hide their evil plan of caging them in a relationship with a woman, and so are labelled “sinister”. To make matters worse, lock your doors boys, “the unfortunate male victims” of previous proposals have yet to recover. To this day, they hold the scars from said attack four years ago, most likely in the shape of a child. These poor, unsuspecting men were cornered, and enslaved into the crippling institution of marriage.
I would like to propose a question (heh) to the (presumably) men who wrote this post, and the subsequent people who liked, commented, and shared the image. Why are you afraid? It is not women with an engagement ring who should be feared. It is not marriage that should scare you. It is you, you who created this image and publicised it, in 2016, who are scarier. You, who are so embedded in the patriarchy, traditional gender roles and stereotypical images of relationships, are what I’m afraid of. I fear these people who cannot see beyond what has been deemed normal for so many years. Society is a funny thing. The written laws that are put in place to protect and civilise society are so often disregarded and violated. The unwritten laws that govern us are the ones people are more cautious about. The unwritten laws like only men can propose, or that women shouldn’t really sleep with more than one person. They are the true laws of society.
So thank you, men of the past, for granting us one day, every four years, that allow us to revert the centuries old tradition of women waiting for a letter, an arrangement, a text, a Facebook message, a question, a ring. It’s very much appreciated, I swear. However, it’s a pity that your modern day counter-parts are not suitably prepared. Maybe in another four years, eh?