Ladies taking the leap

So, did you take the leap?
On one single day every four years, women across the land are told: it’s time ladies, you’re allowed to propose.
That day, February 29, has graced us once again, and tremendously mundane day time TV was inundated with women shocking their husbands on national television by proposing to them somewhere random in central London.

Photo: Fikra / flickr

But, in this age of presupposed sexual equality, why must we wait? It seems completely nonsensical that a woman would have to sit in an ivory tower for four, long years; waiting to either be proposed to or have her joyous opportunity arrive.
If a woman wants to propose to a man, for romance, for the sheer want of being married to him, then surely we don’t still reside in a society, which, despite being assumed to be modern and emancipatory, could chastise this?

Further to this Victorian-era suppression of women’s choice, is the argument expressed by a disturbing number – that it is not a woman’s ‘place’ to propose, and that the very act itself would emasculate the man and leave them with about as much use as a makeshift condom made from fishnet tights.
If my boyfriend felt emasculated by my proposing to him, he would soon find many more problems when it came to being married to me. I don’t cook anything particularly outstanding and I’ve been known to leave underwear in rather strange places about my house.

Far from becoming the perfect housewife whose hand was asked for by her prince and given from her father, he would find himself living with someone who refuses to do the majority of housework, has strong career aspirations and whose mum firmly held her hand as she was walked into a registry office.
Presumably, I’m not alone in this thinking. Many women in the 21st century have desires and ambitions that go far beyond marital life, yet a strong woman is still expected to wait for her knight in shining armour to pluck up the courage to pop the question.
Kelly Bowerbank of The Guardian wrote of her strong, feminist prowess when she proposed to her boyfriend on Tuesday. What a revolutionary.
But, having stated that she was “practically dared” by her boyfriend, wouldn’t it have been a lot stronger, and boundary breaking, to just do it in August? Some random day when the poor man wasn’t expecting such a breakthrough in women’s social emancipation.

If anything, proposing on February 29 is not a statement of feminist strength and unwillingness to condone the patriarchal marriage practices that have been thrust upon us since forever; it is, in fact, contracting you into the whole sham.
We can propose on one day in four years; affording men 1,460 other opportunities to do just the same. How very liberating.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. is published by Sheffield Students’ Union. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the University, the Union or the editorial team. In the first instance all complaints should be addressed to the Managing Editor, although a formal procedure exists.

All comments on are moderated before publication (or rejection). When you post a comment, it is held in a queue until we approve or reject it.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but personal attacks and defamatory comments are not acceptable.

Any complaints should be directed to the Managing Editor. Upon recieving a complaint we will remove the comment in question from view as soon as possible, so the complaint can be investigated. If a basis for complaint can be established, the comment will be permanently removed.