The Culture of Ring-Shaming

Proposing is undoubtedly one of the most nerve-racking and dubious tasks of an adult’s life. With the popularity of social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit, there are more reasons to be anxious in this digital age. There are various feeds on Reddit and groups on Facebook that are dedicated to shaming the rings of perfect strangers. However, the line between comical and disparaging has been crossed.

On November 5, 2018 an article was published by Susanna Heller on the Insider titled, “A woman 'ring-shamed' herself after finding an engagement ring in her boyfriend's nightstand — and people are perplexed.” The article displayed the new fiancée’s distaste at the ring that her then-boyfriend picked out for her. Her ill-mannered and condescending display turned ugly when she asked Facebook’s ‘ring-shamers’ how to say no to the ring - and as a result her fiancé. Many came to the defense of her fiancé saying, “I hope the guy sees this and breaks up [with her]. Seriously, if that’s the type of person she is, nobody should marry her until she fixes her attitude.” Others who came to the defense of the woman noted, “I think she’s justifiably asking for advice. ‘How do I tactfully say no, you need to get and get something different?’” To my surprise there were many articles like this. Whatever side you fall on this issue, I think we can all agree public forums that express a lack of delight in one's ring is a resounding NO.

Photo via Reddit

Today’s culture is inherently materialistic, and grossly flamboyant at times. We have such high standards and expectations as the whole coupling process has become hugely glamorized. Engagement rings have become a symbol of wealth and pride instead of symbols of love and commitment. Where have we gone so wrong? Rings are being used as a necessary means to prove and show ones love, but this comes with its own set of baggage. People who place such high expectations and price tags on their rings effectively signal a lack of love to their significant other. In the instance of this Facebook post, the woman’s love and future are reduced to a material object. She is literally saying no to spending her life with the person she is supposed to love over a ring.

Photo by Mean Shadows

As women, a lot of us dream about the day a beautiful ring graces our ring fingers. Perhaps, you already have a vision of what it will look like, and to others it may not be as important. Some would rather invest the money into their wedding day, or even a house...but, back to that ‘beautiful’ ring. Much like the old saying goes, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. We know that beauty is very subjective. Along these lines, jewelry is a very personal thing to give someone. Understandably, most women want to look down at their rings and love what they see, instead of overlooking this one special ring that is not to their taste. There should be no reason why this woman doesn't feel like she can’t talk to her partner; after all, this is the person she is supposed to be spending the rest of her life with.

Making a public decree of distaste is tacky and inconsiderate. It is an outrage and an embarrassment to your fiancé. Why would anyone want to make the person they love feel like that? If your fiance has clearly taken time to pick something he thought you would like to wear, do not make them feel bad if you imagined something slightly different. It is important to have these conversations with your fiancé before marriage to try to avoid delicate situations such as these. It is crucial that couples have these open dialogues, as well as good communication, before they prepare to marry. The appearance of a ring should not tarnish or dictate the love you have for each other (but, the way you handle a situation like this can speak a lot to your love and character.)

At the end of the day, to have a healthy relationship and marriage, you must be kind and considerate to your significant other. Showing off and asking for sympathy from others comes off as greedy and offensive. Intimate moments require discussion in intimate settings; airing your dirty laundry to the world is one of the most tactless and hurtful ways of dealing with the mere issue of preference. Think before you act and don’t place conditions on the one you love - that would be a terrible way start to any marriage.