Should men be the only ones to pro­pose mar­riage?

Hong Kong Tatler - - The Great Debate -

Of course I still be­lieve that men should be the ones to pro­pose—I grew up in a very tra­di­tional In­dian house­hold and my val­ues were set like this from the start. I know that per­haps I should be pro­gress­ing with the times since I run my own business, but I still be­lieve that men should be the providers and the care­tak­ers of the fam­ily.

And I don’t think it’s just me. I feel all men would agree that they take pride in their mas­culin­ity, in be­ing able to pro­tect and take care of their woman. There­fore, I do be­lieve that men should be the ones to make the pro­posal of mar­riage, as they are the ones look­ing to take on the re­spon­si­bil­ity of look­ing after their woman for the rest of their lives. Call it chivalry, if you will.

Even though the times have pro­gressed, it’s still an in­nate need from both sexes that the man steps in as the dom­i­nat­ing sex to say to a woman, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you; I am emotionally and fi­nan­cially pre­pared to start a fam­ily.” And let’s face it—as women, we say that we’re ready for mar­riage all the time be­cause we just can’t con­tain our emo­tions!

Har­ilela is the co- founder of PR firm Bon­vi­vant and Bellavita, which she started with her sis­ter Shirley A woman should cer­tainly be able to pop the ques­tion, in­stead of wait­ing to be asked. We have fought long and hard for gen­der equal­ity. Th­ese days, cou­ples in com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ships have prob­a­bly al­ready dis­cussed mar­riage as equal part­ners. What dif­fer­ence does it make who de­cides to make the for­mal pro­posal? A woman shouldn’t feel be­holden to cul­tural stereo­types, and a man should feel se­cure enough in him­self and the re­la­tion­ship not to feel threat­ened if a woman pro­poses.

Women are strong, in­de­pen­dent and more fi­nan­cially au­ton­o­mous than our moth­ers and grand­moth­ers were. Why should a woman have power over all the other ar­eas of her life, such as ca­reer, mate, friend­ships, body and fi­nances, and not over the decision to ask for some­one’s hand in mar­riage? A woman should be able to pro­pose with­out so­ci­ety see­ing her as ag­gres­sive or des­per­ate. Also, it seems silly that a woman can ter­mi­nate a union but doesn’t feel com­fort­able propos­ing a union. Many peo­ple ar­gue that when a man pro­poses it’s a ro­man­tic ges­ture and the cul­tural norm. But I think a woman can be equally if not more ro­man­tic—and prob­a­bly bet­ter or­gan­ised.

Tung- Chou is a lux­ury brand con­sul­tant and a guild mem­ber of the Hong Kong Bal­let

REYNA HAR­ILELA

LEIGH TUNG-CHOU

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