I’ve heard some people suggest that most women would have accepted the marriage proposal that a man who abandoned a woman (and their baby) to die during the Aurora theatre shooting, offered her after the fact.
Not every woman worships marriage and a ring beyond anything else. True…single women are stigmatized and disrespected, while heteronormative coupling is worshiped as the gold standard. I don’t deny this. At the same time, the notion of a being happy about a wedding proposal by any means necessary escapes me. I don’t worship marriage. I don’t even worship dating/coupling.
Some suggest that we would have to be in the situation before making a judgment on whether or not such a proposal would be acceptable. I disagree. This is a values dilemma over an experience one (though values impact experiences and experiences shape values).
An experience dilemma arises when various idiots suggest that if everyone at the theatre had guns, the terrorist could have been stopped. This makes the assumption that having a gun makes one an effective sniper, that everyone there wouldn’t start shooting everyone else—-hitting innocent people along the way, and worse, that the perception of bravery matches actual bravery. Playing Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty is not experience as far as how to handle a terrorist act as it is occurring. Body armor, gas, automatic weapons and the sheer element of surprise gave the terrorist James Holmes the advantage. So did chaos and mass panic. White privilege is why he was not seen as a threat at any point in his life until the attack itself. The illusion that everyone there could go into battle mode and eliminate the terrorist without harm to themselves and others is inaccurate and reveals an experience dilemma.
Accepting marriage by any means necessary is a values dilemma. And, every woman doesn’t put marriage on a pedestal to the point that even when a man doesn’t care if she dies, he’s still a worthy partner.
This is not saying that this woman is a “bad” person. Not…at…all. Many women endure a lifetime of abuse by men who don’t care if they die AND these men are the ones inflicting the threats daily. That physical abuse and psychological warfare is bad as well.
However, I find the assumption that all women would run after this kind of proposal problematic. This man abandoned her. Conversely, three other men died trying to help their partners. Strangers helped each other. A stranger helped her. Thus, the possibility of help existed in that situation.
If I have ended relationships and denied proposals for much less by men who did care if I live, I’m aware of my values regarding marriage. I don’t have to be abandoned and left to die and then receive a proposal in order to know that’s not acceptable to me. Again, I don’t worship marriage, so a proposal by any means necessary is not an honor, wish or desire for me. (To be fair, differing values and experiences means that even the possibility of such a proposal being offered to me is fairly small. But, the context of the proposal can be examined. I’m interested in the context of this proposal itself, more so than anything against this woman specifically/personally.)
This doesn’t make me “better” than this woman. I don’t know what shaped her values prior and I don’t know what experiences she had prior. We all have our choices to make in life, and we have the right to make them.
I simply reject the notion that a shared negative event produces the same desires and wants in victims since the differing and divergent values and experiences individuals had prior still impact their perceptions and decisions afterward. Her ideas and values regarding marriage were shaped before that night.