6 Questions Engaged Women Get Asked That Men Just Don't
So you’re engaged. Congrats! You’ve decided at some point in the near future you are going to enter into the covenant of marriage, and that’s an exciting adventure indeed. Of course, like most things in life, gendered tropes tend to dictate how the experience of getting engaged plays out differently for women and men — according to our culture, engaged women must answer myriad questions that men just don't. In fact, the immediate aftermath of getting engaged for a women looks a lot like a never-ending Q&A. Seriously, head's up: you'll be fielding questions for awhile.
While it's all well and good for the people you care about to be interested in this next phase of your life, it’s OK to feel a bit vexed by just how gender biased some of these questions can be. You know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions — sometimes people simply don’t understand that what they are asking is sexist and, in that respect, offensive. That’s why it’s important that we make these things of conversations an ongoing dialogue. When faced with the fact they’ve been being inadvertently offensive, many people (hopefully most) want to re-direct their behavior.
Here are some of the questions engaged women hear all the time that their engaged male counterparts don’t have to deal with.
1. "What Are You Wearing?"
While a man could likely walk down the aisle in a button-up shirt and khakis without so much as a sideways glance, the rules are different for women. From the moment they become engaged, the expectation about some grand "say yes to the dress" moment is set. But, like, what if you don't plan on wearing a dress at all? What if you choose to wear a tux? What if you're not wearing white? What if you've only been engaged for five seconds and just want to revel in your happiness before succumbing to societal pressure? Sheesh.
2. "How Did He Pop the Question?"
Like, what — a woman can't pop the question? This gender trope is played out, y'all. Nowadays, more women than ever are reclaiming their power to propose. When someone immediately assumes that the man is the one who asked, it sets us back a hot minute. And when someone infers there is something wrong with the woman asking (i.e. he must not have really been ready, etc), it goes beyond a clueless line of questioning and moves into overt sexist territory. And this doesn't even begin to address the fact that there doesn't have to be a man in the relationship, anyway.
3. "Are You Pregnant?"
You might think this question is lobbed solely at young brides, but the truth is women across many age demographics hear this query. It's perplexing, right? The last time I checked, getting knocked up wasn't a primary motivator when it came to getting married. Besides, whether someone plans to get married with or without a baby on board is really no one else's business. You never see anyone grillin' the groom about whether or not he impregnated his wife-to-be, so yeah ... double standard.
4. "How Soon Do You Plan to Start a Family?"
If you answer no, the aforementioned question — or otherwise strike the question-asker as someone who doesn't need to have a shotgun wedding — you might hear this little gem. In which case, you probably want to yell, "Yo, pump the brakes." You just got engaged! But, also, this question assumes a lot. What if you don't intend to have kids? What if you can't have kids? Head's up, y'all: this question could be a mine field. Since men never seem to hear this, the inference is that part of a woman's role as a wife is to produce offspring. FYI, you can be a family without having kids — and again, there are more kinds of families in this world than heterosexual ones.
5. "Are You Going to Take His Name?"
Can someone please start asking guys if they are going to take their wives' names? I think it's about time. Although history has traditionally dictated that women take their husband's name, this is rooted in sexism and the belief that women are property. If you do choose to take your husband's name (no judgment; I totally did), there's nothing wrong with that. It's your choice. This question, then, isn't the problem — the problem lies in the fact that most people who ask this are going to judge you no matter which way you answer.
6. "Can I See the Ring?"
Ugh, this is one of my least favorite wedding traditions. Given that I am not a very materialistic person, I've never really understood the idea that you need a huge honkin' ring to symbolize your love. You know what symbolizes the depth of my love with my husband? My frickin' love with my husband. It speaks for itself. So if you're going to ask someone to flash a ring, you better be prepared to A) hear a tirade like mine, or B) be completely non-reactive when they say they don't have one or when it doesn't measure up to your expectations. Not to mention the fact that men don't even have engagement rings because, historically, they've been the ones handing 'em out to signal ownership over their soon-to-be wives.