Sexism brings on the red mist – in 2012 sexist stereotypes are still as prevalent as ever

I’m not the angriest person out there. I tend to let a lot of things wash over me. But there’s something not right in the air today folks and I need to get it off my chest.

So this morning (and partially last night) virtually every social media channel I’m signed up to was clogged up with questions about women proposing to their partners. Yes, it’s a leap year today. I get it, it’s tradition. But hasn’t society moved on from the notion that women have to grab this once-in-a-four-year chance to actually take any initiative in their relationships? OK so I expect people to take something topical and use it for their business. It makes sense.

So this wasn’t shocking. It was boring, but not shocking. But what shocked me is this: people – clever people – respected media channels, actually debating the question as to whether or not a woman should propose. Suddenly the Internet was poisoned with cries of “it’s not proper” and “don’t women have any self respect” and “if he wanted you he would have proposed by now.”

Image taken from the movie The Proposal (I don't own this image)

So I’ll tell you why this makes me so angry I could scream. The inherent and unchallenged assumption that a man gets to set the pace of a relationship – that it’s his opinion and his alone that matters. You know what? Nobody challenges a man proposing telling him that the woman might not be ready to receive his proposal – nobody takes away his right to ask a question about moving the relationship along – and people certainly don’t think it’s an ambush or inappropriate.

So what we’re being told today is that a woman proposing = pathetic, a man proposing = romantic. What we’re being told today is that men and women are not equal partners in their relationships. What we’re being told is that society is still inherently sexist.

And, here comes the controversy, I find it just as sexist that people are cheering women on in their proposals. I find it just as sexist that a woman who proposes is suddenly “brave”, “pioneering”, “out there”. What is it about a woman asking for a commitment that’s so disgusting to you, Britain, that anyone who dares to do so is a hero?

So today I’m boycotting this whole notion of women proposing to men being a novelty – something to happen once every four years if you’re brave enough. If you’re in love, if you’re committed, how dare anyone tell you you’re not allowed to be the one to make the grand gesture because that makes you somehow inferior.

Love is love is love people. And you can’t put a gender on that.

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