For many couples, a proposal marks a milestone in their relationship and begins the path to marriage. The story will be told countless times, so the pressure is on to get the proposal right. However, when Edgaras Averbuchas proposed to his girlfriend, Agne Banuskeviciute, at her graduation ceremony, he received serious backlash after the public viewed the video online.
An article published by The Telegraph outlines some of the key comments that were made against the proposal by those who say that Edgaras overshadowed Agne’s special moment and made it about himself due to his own insecurities surrounding her success.
When it comes to any sort of romantic gesture everyone has their opinions concerning what is romantic, what is too much, and what would suit them. Whilst a proposal in front of a large audience of people may fall within some people’s ideas of a perfect romantic gesture, just the thought of it terrifies me, demonstrating that everyone has their own opinion about what makes an event special. However, can a gesture, such as a proposal, simply be done wrong? And does this story warrant the backlash it has received?
Imagine being a man and feeling so threatened by a woman's intellectual success that you *have* to force her to frame her identity/agency in relation to *you* on the very day she is being celebrated for her intellect
Oh wait, that's, like, 99.9% men https://t.co/04eyMNX3wv
— 🦄 Jana Bacevic 🦄 (@jana_bacevic) July 21, 2019
When reading about the backlash received over this proposal, it appears that there are two main issues: the grand scale of the proposal and overshadowing the graduation.
Beginning with the scale of the proposal, I think that this is down to personal taste. It was raised that such a public proposal forced Agne to say yes, but the couple had been together for 9 years prior to this event, which demonstrates a committed relationship and means that Edgaras felt confident enough of a positive response. The length of their relationship also highlights that they know each other well and I am sure he would have known whether a grand proposal, on the day of an important occasion, would be what she wanted. Considering this, opinions surrounding the scale of the proposal are purely subjective and do not take the two individuals into consideration.
The biggest issue with this particular proposal is drawing attention to the engagement instead of to the celebration of Agne graduating. I understand that this is a complicated issue; for me, I would want my graduation to be about celebrating my achievement and would not want something, even my engagement, to retract from that celebration. So, in one sense, I do agree that this was perhaps not an appropriate occasion to propose, being a day which should have been purely about celebrating an amazing achievement. However, I am speaking from personal opinion and cannot speak on behalf of anyone else; what would make a proposal special to me would not necessarily be considered special to someone else, and vice versa. Agne has expressed her joy with the proposal which shows that everyone is different, and that Edgaras got it spot on. Although I do not want to speak for her, perhaps becoming engaged to her partner made her day even more special, rather than retracting from it. Being able to celebrate an academic achievement and a big step for your relationship on the same day must be amazing. Although I can see that the proposal can be construed as retracting attention from the important event of the day, we must remember that everyone is different and respect what is meaningful to them. If getting her degree and a fiancé on the same day made Agne happy then our personal feelings do not matter and we should certainly not force them upon her.
As for criticism saying that Edgaras felt insecure and purposely wanted to overshadow his girlfriend’s big day, these comments lack foundation. The situation has been viewed from an outsider’s perspective and the people involved have been judged, all with no concrete evidence. Maybe Edgaras has wanted to propose for a long time and knew Agne would love this, or maybe he felt so proud of her that he wanted to declare his love to her to show his pride. To be honest, we will never know the truth of the situation because we do not know the couple, but to judge her choice of partner, and more to the point, to judge him when he is unknown to his critics, is not right. The tastes and opinions of people should be respected on both sides of this case and the ways in which people express their opinions should be reflective of this. Many of the comments made against this proposal were conveyed in a harsh and judgemental manner, especially considering that the couple involved are happy and perfectly within their rights to be.
Rather than an issue with the proposal in question, what has been raised to me is that too often people let their personal opinion take priority over other people’s desires and, sadly, the voice of judgement is loud.
There should not be a scale of what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to romance. What happens between a couple and how they choose to express their love is between them. Even when the gesture is public, it is still between those two people. So long as the people involved are safe and happy and no one else is getting harmed in the process, who is to say what is acceptable? Love is one of the most amazing, but also immensely personal, things in life and to put parameters on it and to judge and restrict people is ridiculous. Let people be happy and find a way to be happy for them, even if what makes them happy would not do the same for you.