Last April, Katy Miller took part in that most classic of American traditions — a marraige proposal. But this time around there was no giddy groom-to-be on bended knee. No, this time it was Katy who proposed to her boyfriend Tim. Celebrating their shared passion for beer, Katy had a pint glass etched with the following message: "Tim, after you've finished this pint, I'm going to ask you a question." The bottom of the glass read, "…Will you marry me?"
Not surprisingly, Tim said yes. But, as Katy wrote in the Huffington Post, her engagement was met with skepticism from others: "...April Fools?" "Is this for real?" "I'm going to be disappointed if you're kidding." Everyone, it seemed, found the notion of a woman proposing marriage to her boyfriend hilarious, if not ridiculous.
Image Credit: Andy Poplar
Adhering to the traditional man-asks-woman marriage proposal seems to be the overwhelmingly popular choice among Americans. According to a 2012 study conducted by the University of California Santa Cruz, two-thirds of heterosexual undergraduate students — both male and female — said they would "definitely" want the man to propose. Conversely, not a single student replied that they "definitely" wanted the woman to propose.
Why the reluctance to embrace a female-led marriage proposal? According to the study’s researcher Rachael Robnett, "a really commonly cited [explanation] was a desire to adhere to gender-role traditions."
Perhaps that's why only 5% of current marriages were proposed by women. Women who buck tradition and propose to their boyfriends often face criticism for their boldness and perceived desperation. They also run the risk of making their boyfriends feel embarrassed and emasculated.
But for those women who take the reins in demonstrating their commitment, it can be empowering. As our society becomes more progressive and traditions surrounding marriage shift — people are marrying older, it's common to live together first, more brides are keeping their maiden names — the stigma behind woman-asks-man may very well fade.
These eight videos of women proposing to their boyfriends prove that feel-good proposal stories don't always have a male protagonist. Whether it's at a wrestling match, on the beach, at a campfire or on stage, girls are having fun — and wracking up creativity points — by taking back the power of the proposal.