保守上讲，女性正在闰年能够背本人的心上人供婚， Even today, women who propose are the exception, Parkin said,pointing to the example of pop star Britney Spears proposing tothen-boyfriend Kevin Federline. "Very few women have the wealth andpower of someone like Spears, and her short, troubled marriage, aswell as her struggles with her mental health, only make it lesslikely that other women would want to emulate her," Parkinsaid.
Her research showed that women who propose seem to lose a bit oftheir femininity, in the traditional way it is viewed, and likewisemen who accept a proposal lose a bit of their masculinity.
In fact, Parkin said she was surprised by the "incrediblenastiness" toward women in postcards created in the early 20thcentury. Sending postcards was the craze back then, and leapyear postcards depicted women —usually unattractive older women — holding guns to men's head inefforts to extract a promise of marriage. "They really disparagedwomen in ways that are cruel and heartbreaking," Parkin said.
The custom has really been only a "safety valve" for women'sfrustrations at being dependent on men, Parkin said. The traditiongives women a supposedly "acceptable" chance to propose, but thischance is given only once every four years, and even then, theirright to ask a man to marry has not been taken very seriously.
The evidence she found suggests that the proposals have alwaysbeen fairly unusual, and their rarity and the attention given tothem has only underscored the idea that in society's view, menshould be the ones to initiate marriage. Leap year proposals arethe exception that proves the rule.
In her research, Parkin pored over references to leap yearproposals in postcards, advertisements and news*** columns datingback to 1904.
Parkin's article was publishedin the January issue of the journal FamilyHistory.
"Women have made tremendous advances in many aspects of theirlives, but in courtship, this penultimate act is still not valuedor respected," said researcher Katherine Parkin, a professor atMonmouth University in New Jersey.
And after examining a century'sworth of evidence of societal views ofwomen who propose marriage, the research concludes that we're notlikely to see greater acceptance of these proposals anytimesoon.
Leap year marriage proposals — where, by custom, women aregranted the once-in-four-years privilege of proposing to theirbeaus — hold the promise of giving women real power in theirrelationships, but ultimately, they actually undermine women andreinforce long-standing stereotypes about traditional roles, a new*** concludes.