In the movies, we see grand proposals where the man asks the woman for her hand and they’re both ready. The reality, in a lot of traditional societies, is quite different. Marriage is a negotiation between the family and the girl.
The argument? Her time is ‘running out’.
Bridal magazines hung on the walls of news agents; they were a dime a dozen and all featured the same formulaic grinning face of a woman with porcelain skin and a white dress, holding a bouquet of flowers that will eventually make its miserable journey to the trashcan, covered in lace and ribbon.
I then peered around the shop to see if I could locate the grooms’ magazines. These were nowhere to be found, because these were too small a niche to be stocked.
After all, it’s the woman who spends her entire life pining to be a bride, desperately wishing for a man – any man – to throw a ring at her and make her his own. Men, on the other hand, cannot possibly be dreaming of their wedding day. No, the day a man is married, it’s all over for him.
In fact, let us take a 25-year-old man and 25-year-old woman.
The woman is told her time is running out. She needs to seriously find someone to marry before it’s too late.
On the other hand, the man is told to build a career and aim for the stars. He is told he has all the time in the world, and that his dutiful wife will be found without hassle – like buying eggs from the store. Easy-peasy. Men are socially conditioned to believe they’ll have it all when they find themselves ready – whether that’s at 27 or 35.
Women, at an early age, are told that that’s what they should want and aim for – even if it isn’t a choice they would normally make. What if their first goal is not a man, but a career, and her parents act like she’ll go past her ‘expiration date’ and go bad like old milk? Imagine what that does to a girl’s self esteem.
Why are women asked to get their nails done more than their degrees? Why are they trained in household tasks and men are asked never to enter the kitchen?
I think it’s important for people to have basic life skills, such as being able to do your own laundry and cook a basic egg. However, trust me, even if you cannot do it, there’s Google at hand to help out. These basic life skills are not in any way linked with gender and, in my opinion, they shouldn’t be.
The revolutionary way in which girls are raised in many families now is worth applauding. They get educated, get a Master’s degree, but when it comes to marriage and the ideal age for marriage, the progressive attitude vanishes.
Is this what we want to drum into young women from the moment they can put one foot in front of the other?
In a world that surrounds us with rigid gender roles even to this day [especially in traditional societies], it is important for human beings to be free thinkers, who first and foremost see marriage as a partnership of equals.
Personally, I do not think it is one of those things that has to happen, like death, rather, it is a choice – and making that choice is what makes us human.
What’s your take on the subject – should we stop pressurising women to look for love/ a partner? Tell us in the comments below.
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