When you reach a certain age, your Facebook feed essentially becomes a Tiffany’s catalogue of friends’ engagement announcements. But amongst the deluge of posts barely stopping short of listing cut, clarity, and carat, one woman's response to wedding ring shaming on Facebook went viral. Rachel Pendersen, a 27-year-old mother of two, was tired of her friends asking when she was going to upgrade from her “tiny” quarter-carat pavé diamond engagement ring. She wrote a post (complete with proud ring picture) three months ago, sharing both her touching love story and her frustration over people seeing engagement rings as symbols of success and status. She wrote that it’s not the size of the diamond but the depth of your love that counts — and the response from the online community was enormous.
Pendersen’s ring-size positivity post quickly racked up 200,000 likes, and nearly 50,000 shares, tapping into a huge number of women annoyed by the many judgements made after glancing at their left hand. Though the majority of the 17,000 comments were supportive and encouraging, it also became a platform for users to voice their vitriolic criticism of big diamonds as materialistic and unattractive. As one commenter wrote, "To all the girls who want a big ring good luck finding true happiness!!”
The onslaught of negativity was shocking, Pendersen told Today. "I knew there would be some negative ones, so I avoided even reading them for a long time," she shared. "When I did, I was saddened to see women bashing other women who had large diamonds. It happened over and over again in different words." It was ironic but not wholly surprising that her post which spoke out against unfair judgements would spark more judgements and attacks.
Pendersen took the opportunity to write an essay for Huffington Post further clarifying her stance, titled "My Response To Women With Big Diamonds." In the second essay she stressed inclusivity and positivity. "To women with big diamonds: I don't think you're shallow. I don't assume you're insecure. I don't expect that your marriage is unhappy or doomed. I think your ring is beautiful. I believe that your love is bigger than your ring. And I'm happy for you," Pendersen wrote in her essay. “My original point remains. Ring size doesn’t matter. Your love is all that matters.” You go, girl!
We need to actively stop the shame cycle. Big ring, small ring, no ring, it literally doesn’t matter. We need to stop asking first thing after hearing that a friend is engaged to see the ring. Historically, we only see engagement rings as status symbols because of a brilliant ad campaign run by De Beers starting in the 1940s. Yes, diamonds are beautiful and sparkly, but they also depreciate in resale value as soon as they're mounted and purchased. A diamond engagement ring is only worth as much as the love and promise that it symbolizes.
So seriously, how is this even still a thing?