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―Will you marry me?

These few words sound magical when a boy utters them to propose the love of his life. For the time being the girl seems to be on cloud nine as she was waiting to hear those magical words from her man eagerly. There’s nothing wrong with this, if a girl wants her man to propose to her in a romantic way because that’s how it works. She grew up watching these types of scenarios in Bollywood and Hollywood movies, where a hero deals with every obstacle to marry his love. It’s natural for her to have such kind of dreams in her mind as this has been practiced for ages and it has also turned into a tradition.

Tradition? Yes, you read it right. Surprisingly, this is a generation where western women are debatably at their most independence – we as a society still don’t feel comfortable with women being the ones to propose for marriage. Especially, in a country which has a male- dominant society, for instance in Bangladesh, be it a rural area or an urban area in most of the places women are being chained to the kitchen sink.

Have we ever thought why a girl herself doesn’t want to express her feelings to her lover? Regardless, of living in the era where women work equally as men to make money and don’t even mind letting the man cook, yet some of them still find it difficult to approach a man first. So many thoughts run through their mind and so many ―what – ifs pop up in their head which stops them from taking the first step.

The biggest fear of all is rejection. ―What if he says no?

The researchers surveyed 277 heterosexual undergraduate students at UC Santa Cruz on their own attitudes regarding this issue. Two-thirds of the students, both male and female, said they would ―”definitely want the man to propose marriage in their relationship”. Only 2.8 percent of women said they would “kind of” want to propose, but not a single man indicated he would prefer that arrangement. Remarkably, not a single student, male or female, “definitely” wanted the woman to propose. The students were also asked to state the reasons behind their feedbacks. 41 percent of women and 57 percent of men — directly referenced gender roles in their explanations. One man, for example, said that if he did not propose, he would “feel emasculated.” A woman responded that female proposals would just be “very awkward since women tend to be more emotional.”

However, not everyone sees the matter in a negative way. Some of them believe that there’s nothing wrong if a girl or her family sends a marriage proposal to the potential groom. It’s alright, if we let tradition be a choice and not a mandate. The world won’t end if the guy makes a first move. But anything that says a woman shouldn’t have the choice (or else they’re weird or lame or desperate) is an issue. There’s a saying that, ―old habits die hard. Maybe one day, the roles will officially switch, maybe not now but in the near future

Chowdhury Aniqua Maimuna

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