Men proposing is another gender role stereotype we need to squash

If you were an avid watcher of The CW (formerly The WB) between 1993-2000, you probably remember the heart-stopping episode of Boy Meets World when Topanga proposed to Corey in the middle of their high school graduation.

This was arguably the most monumental episode of the series for two reasons: A) because finally and B) because it was the ’90s, and a woman asking her man to get hitched was definitely not the norm. In 2015, we’ve learned a thing or two about relationships from Topanga Lawrence.

Relationships are not what they used to be, and that is because women are finding little reason to not take the initiative when it comes to love. We know what we want and are willing to put in the groundwork to get it, which sometimes means taking that leap of faith and giving our man a fairy tale ever after.

Twenty-seven-year-old Harmony Sage Lawrence sat down with Zahra Barnes to tell Women’s Health about her decision to deviate from the traditional route and propose to her now-fiancé Sean Parker.

More: The empowering new way couples are getting engaged

“We started to talk more about marriage plans and got into discussing whether we would have a formal engagement. Even if the actual proposal was going to be a surprise, we thought it was important to discuss specifics, like whether we’d each feel comfortable with a public proposal and who should do the asking. Around fall or winter of 2013, Sean was like, ‘What if you proposed to me?’ I wasn’t surprised when he suggested it. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do proposal-wise, and we both figured I could come up with something special. We saw it as a fun way to mix it up.”

It is fantastic to think about just how far women have progressed in recent years in terms of romance. In middle school, I had a huge crush on one of the new guys in town. I knew he liked me, but was too shy to act on his emotions. I plucked up the courage to ask him to be my boyfriend, which only insinuated that we walk to classes together and he get me a rose for Valentine’s Day, but I can remember my friends thinking it was so odd that I had to be the one to ask him to pursue a relationship. As if men were incapable of feeling intimidated by their feelings, or by a woman herself.

Lawrence’s sweet proposal explores the answer to a question that is rarely ever asked: How would a man like to be proposed to?

More: 8 Questions you simply have to ask before the proposal

“I was trying to figure out beforehand precisely what I’d say to him,” she told Women’s Health. “Still, I knew when I got to that moment, I’d just tell him whatever came out of my mouth. I was really nervous, and I ended up just going for it and talking about how much I loved him. He totally wasn’t expecting it! He was so happy.”

Underneath all their testosterone and tough-guy barriers, men are just as human as women. They are people who want to know that they are loved, and when it comes to deciding your partner is the one you see yourself spending your life with, you have to decide what is more important: whether or not the man asks the woman, or if the question is asked at all.