Why Leap Year Is A Reminder Of Lack Of Female Progress
5:54 pm, February 29th | by Hillary Reinsberg
Remember that awful movie Leap Year in which Amy Adams flies to Dublin to propose to her boyfriend on February 29, because apparently that’s the only day women are allowed to propose to men? Yeah, neither do we. And is that even a real thing? On this rare “leap day,” we investigate.
First things first. Here’s the trailer for that movie. Beware: unrealistic looking airplane turbulence and cheesy “pretend to be surprised” faces are included:
Is this a real thing? It was! As Mental Floss explains, “because it wasn’t a “real” day and normal societal rules did not apply, February 29th was the only acceptable day for women to propose.”
But still, it wasn’t all that common. They continue, “Despite the claim that the tradition goes back 1,600 years, no mention of actual gender-reversed proposals on that day show up until the 1700s; their occurrences peaked in the early 1900s. The popular postcards of the day poked fun at the practice with images of harridan women who dared propose, and emasculated men who said yes (sometimes only under pain of death.)”
And let’s be honest here: it’s not too common in 2012 either. It’s not entirely unheard of, but nuptial practices are still pretty shockingly old-fashioned, aren’t they? As we reported this week, more women than ever in many parts of the country are choosing to take their husbands’ last names. And though Hollywood romantic comedies don’t do much to break gender roles, it’s jarring, in a way, to think about the fact that the idea of a woman proposing to a man on one specific day of the year was novel enough to warrant a major motion picture on the topic just over a year ago.
2012 isn’t as modern as it sounds, is it?