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Will We Indian Women Ever Be Able To Shrug Off Marriage As A ‘Necessity’?

Posted: September 3, 2020

Whether marriage is a union of hearts or a union of families, it is considered inevitable if you are a woman. The ‘shaadi talk’ will be the only serious talk you will have with your parents.

Even our smallest achievements will somehow be linked to marriage, why? If we take good care of our pets and cater to all their needs, our mothers say, “You’re going to be the best mother in the world”. Does taking care of pets or looking after our siblings suggest that we’re interested in being a mother? When are people going to realise it is out of sheer love and a sense of responsibility that we do these things? What makes them think that a woman’s only purpose in life is to get married and have offspring?

If we refrain from doing household chores, our mothers say, “I don’t know what you’re going to do at your husband’s place, I pity him”. I’m sure your mothers would have asked all you singles to learn cooking in this lockdown period and if you say you have better things to do, they would have exclaimed, “Better marry a cook, I wonder what you will cook for me when I visit you”.

Learn to cook, Eat less…all this ‘advice’…

As homo sapiens we must all know cooking, especially as we all live to eat and not eat to live! However, why is it always considered mandatory only for women to know how to cook and in addition also expected of them to be cooks par excellence? Why not inspire both men and women to share their chores?

It’s a disaster if a woman eats a lot or if she doesn’t eat at all. The ensuing reaction from your mother will be, “Look at yourself in the mirror, who will marry you?” How do looks even matter when character is what’s going to stay forever? Isn’t it rational to choose a partner who accepts you the way you are?

If you have a brother, you would have noticed your parents always asking your brother to run all the outdoor errands, such as getting medicines or buying vegetables especially if it’s far from your locality and it’s dark outside. And when asked they would claim, “You are our responsibility until your marriage”.

Do parents even consider marital rape as a problem? Do daughters even count as members of the family? Are daughters considered only a burden? Are they mere ebullient figurines that are going to be bought or sold by families? I understand it’s not very safe for women to loiter outside after dark, but does that guarantee that the world will be free of harm in the morning? When will we learn to deal with our quandary if we are always asked to play it safe?

Why does society not teach us to elude it when in danger rather than advice us not to face it at all? Does the latter look practicable at all? How can each of us guarantee our safety all the times?

27, the magic age for marriage

It’s only lately that we see women being allowed to go out for educational purposes. They are allowed to study but only upto a particular age because in India, women are supposed to get married before they turn 27 max.

How is age even a factor for something that’s purely based on the decision of the heart? Should getting engaged or a wedding ceremony take precedence over knowledge building? Education is not only about getting a job, it’s also about realising your purpose in life. It makes you aware of all that happens and also warns you of things that are likely to affect you as an individual. What will an uneducated, economically dependent woman along with her kids do to make both ends meet if she gets divorced? Forget monetary needs, how will a woman who doesn’t know the world even learn about leading a good life?

It’s really ironic to see mothers making these sexist interjections. They have undergone all these phases in life and they keep repeating the same mistakes all over again. It’s highly disheartening to see women treating other women in such a gendered manner.

Most of the time it comes out as a joke while sometimes it’s intentional. Nevertheless, these sordid commentates strike women right in their minds. They mentally start preparing themselves for marriage as if it were their only purpose in life. They subliminally learn from their surroundings of how to be the best daughters-in-law, wives and for that matter, well behaved women. Why can’t society accept women the way they are? Why should they change to meet others’ expectations, be it with regard to marriage or so called ‘etiquette’?

Singlehood is perfectly okay too!

What exactly is marriage? Why do we marry at all? Is it because it has to happen in our life that it happens? Or is it because we truly are interested in it that we marry? Actually, most of the time people aren’t mentally as well as financially prepared for marriage.

Why can’t we avoid marriage if we really want to stay single? Just because we are alive because of our parents, doesn’t mean we completely surrender ourselves to them no matter what decision they take. It’s going to be only us at the end of the day who’s going to live our life, so any decision made on our behalf especially in aspects like marriage and education is going to affect us, whether good or bad.

What’s wrong if women disregards this very concept of marriage? Does a family really consider a man/woman’s sexuality when they deliberate about marriage? If the only objective of a wedding is to have a companion and progeny, these can very well be achieved without marrying someone. The man or woman might decide to simply adopt a kid or enter into a live-in relationship. I absolutely agree with the fact that the latter has a lot of inherent problems, but is marriage alone a safe thing to do?

The biggest incongruity is even if individuals divorce, we persuade them to do the whole thing again. What’s wrong with us? The problem with us is that we all assume that marriage is symbolic of a happy, well-lived life. This is why we look down upon divorcees and spouseless people. How does this status of theirs make us take for granted that they all live wretched, doleful lives?

We must acknowledge that unwedded men and women are not always in an existential crisis; in most cases, it’s the surrounding environment that makes them feel so. Moreover, it’s not marriage that results in bliss, it’s the nature of the relationship that you have with your companion, irrespective of whether you have formally registered your marriage or you’re in a long distance relationship that gives you an ecstatic life.

Society must cease from encouraging this baleful trend. Women must be stimulated to become financially independent. They should be inspired to acquire knowledge. They should be made aware that their life is something more than a mere wedding ceremony.

Photo by Farddin Protik from Pexels

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