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Another Graduate Woman — Let’s Get Her Married

The idea that a graduate woman make a better wife is largely at play here. The general assumption is that when both the partners are working outside the house, their “family unit” is neglected.

It was my final year in college. One fine late evening, while I was checking out of the library, I received a call from my best friend. She sounded pretty excited on the other end. Why? Because she just discovered that one of our batch mates, another graduate woman — got married. 

This was the third, “They got married!” news I was receiving that month. Mind you, both of them were love marriages.

As and when time progressed, more news of friends’ friends getting married started coming in, and it amused me every time. To think of marriage at this age, is it an independent personal choice? Or forces of the society, at large, were at work here?

This brings us back to the question of importance — who wins: Education or Marriage?

Though the internet would love to tell you otherwise, a silent custom among young women choosing to get married after their graduation is re-surfacing.

In a very statistics-oriented report, it was reported that nearly 12.4 million girls are enrolled in undergraduate courses. However, the number dwindles down to 1.9 million for post-graduation courses. This social practice is brought about by multiple forces of the society that we live in.

It is said that a woman with a graduate degree makes a better wife

Educated wives are preferred over financially independent wives.

The idea of a working wife still raises eyebrows, yet most households “prefer” brides that hold a graduate degree. A few decades back, for a girl, a class 12th certificate was a big deal; today it is just a graduate degree. Can we really say, “We have come a long way”? 

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The idea that educated women make better wives is largely at play here. The general assumption is that when both the partners are working outside the house, their “family unit” is neglected.

“You cannot have it all”; hence, it is better if the female focuses on managing andarmahal – the inner courtyard. Citing smart household management as the reason, education is merely a bonus that adds an extra layer of gloat to their brandishing of their newly acquired trophy wife.

As if our great-grandmothers and their mothers were not smart home-makers!

Apparently, a graduate woman prefers household hustle over corporate hustle.

Young women of our generation are buying into the idea. Putting aside the gender-gap payment debate, they are rejecting the corporate hustle, little realizing that home-making involves a greater (unpaid) responsibility.

That being said, I don’t mean that working women have an excuse to escape the basic household chores. While taking on housewife responsibilities, the harm accompanies the outlook that the chores are their “duties”. It is automatically assumed that they are beyond recognition.

My grandmom’s sister was accepted into an airline company as a cabin crew member, while my grandmom got into NDA. However, my great-grandparents did not allow them to venture into those respective fields, primarily because they were not so common at those times.

In the present era, so many avenues have opened up for women. They are being provided so many opportunities; yet there is a regression in female employment. Workplace conditions have improved, yet amusingly, the population to avail such benefits have decreased.

Patriarchy, are you winning again?

Lack of ambition in a graduated woman is often cited to support the marriage agenda

Just the other day, while speaking to my sister, I found her worried about her friend. Who was never really into building a professional career, or “ambitious” as we know it by.

Recently this friend, who too is a graduate woman, got married into an upper-class business family. And now few months after the wedding, she is in a very unhappy situation which is also affecting her marital life.

Neither did she want to work, now on the other side, nor is she happy building a family of her own. 

Housework done by a housewife is unpaid labour!

What escapes them is the fact that housework is also unpaid labour. A never-ending, thankless one even. And when you are the only one managing the entire household, the expectation to do so for the rest of your life remains.

The others’ responsibilities also become yours. It might be all glitter and flowery up to a certain point. But, what comes next? No one is irreplaceable. No one can grow to be irreplaceable. 

Society believes educated women make better mothers.

It is globally accepted that educated mothers bring up a better next generation. It is put across as a necessity. They can understand their children better, their needs, and encourage them in the right direction. Moreover, it is crucial for a healthy environment of the house.

Most often it backfires. Educated housewives, who have been restricted to housework, often bring up their daughters with the same idea. If not the mothers, then most definitely the household that they grow up in shapes them.

At this point, I am reminded of the experience that the author shared in an article, where almost all her young female students of around 18-19 years of age saw marriage and family as their most important future goal.

Educated girls enrolled in a class that teaches employability skills are certain that marriage and kids are the end words. I am not sure what to feel about it.

“It is their personal choice”

Can be. 

Not everyone is the same. They can be, and have the right to be, more marital or family-oriented. The desire to have a fairytale wedding, have a family of their own, to fulfil the promise of love can be extremely strong driving factors to settle down early in life. 

Settling down early also means turning old together. 

But there are a lot of repercussions that go unnoticed when an educated woman decides not to pursue a career. Years of overlooked overworking, and hustle takes a toll on the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the housewife.

Lacking financial independence makes them dependent on the husband to provide for their needs, and at some point it starts affecting their self-esteem. More so since home-makers’ efforts, or existence, are hardly recognized at any point.

Overlooking the home-maker moms’ pain and lack of opportunities

In the same fashion, young women growing up tend to overlook the pain or desolation of their home-maker moms. Their mothers were denied the option to earn a livelihood despite their qualifications!

Many young women, having been brought up in a comfortable environment, their perception of home-making is shrouded by rose-coloured glasses that shatter when they face reality.

They imagine the same comfort in the house of their in-laws, unaware of the expectations that accompany the holy alliance of matrimony. 

The glorification of the superhuman-housewife who can have it all

An honest conversation with one of my seniors that started with weddings led to an insightful discussion as to how our generation grew up in a lacuna of the right kind of inspiring content.

You tune into any daily soap that are televised these days, and all you find is under the garb of pseudo-feminism, the hyper-glorification of female capabilities.

 “Women can do it all.”

 No, we really can’t, and we don’t have to. 

A young graduate woman, who is freshly out of college, still has a very impressionable mind. And it is these “have it all” rosy pictures that lead them into believing that even they can.

Do I really need to mention the very evident role of social media here? And of course, the wedding industry?

We’ll deal with it some other time, maybe.

Image Source: Still from Hum Do Hamare Do, edited on Canva Pro 

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About the Author

Akankha Basu Roy

The author is a Gen-Z kid who resorts to writing to vent out about the problematic ways of the world. Having majored in Theatre, English, and Psychology, I take a guilty pleasure in complex read more...

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