Nudraat Nawer Khan
“That’s what you think now, but wait till you see all the presents you can get for your wedding.”
“You won’t feel the same once you see a Sabyasachi lehenga.”
“Ah! After one age, you must do it. Every girl does it.”
“A family is the sole best thing that can happen to you. Saying otherwise only makes you weird and nonsensical.”
These were all the reactions I got whenever I told someone I don’t see myself getting married, at least not for a very long time in the future. The typical raised eyebrows, the scoff as if you made a joke, the eye rolls to subtly (not so much) imply how stupid you must be to be a girl and not want to settle down.
I have nothing against marriage personally. In fact, I enjoy the festivities associated with the celebration of the promise people make about spending the rest of their lives together. What I can’t get on board with is the idea that this should be the primary goal of someone’s life, mostly females.
“Allah! Meye manush hoye biye korben na, abar boltesen baccha kaccha bhalo lagena! Eta kemon kotha?!” This was what I got from one of the student’s guardians when I brought up the fact that I don’t have any desire to tie the knot or have children. When I was staring at her with disbelief, I realized one thing; this wasn’t exactly her fault. It was our fault- society as a whole. We have created an intricate meshwork of rules and standards that apply to women if they want to “be socially acceptable and normal”; and also managed to pass down those twisted ideas through all the generations.
We, as a civilization, from the begging of time have internalized the concept of females making their family the center of their lives, and that even if a girl is much ambitious, even if she makes a plan to be an astronaut or the president of the state one day, they must put that as their second priority, as nothing can be more important than getting hitched, making some cute babies and dedicating your whole life to them before anything else. I would like to make a point that by saying this, I mean no disrespect to the house-makers doing it on a daily basis, and I tip my hat to them out of admiration. Bringing up a family is extremely difficult, and these women make it seem so effortless that they really are the true heroes in this world.
But what is noteworthy is that this isn’t for everyone. And that if a girl ever says that she isn’t marriage material, or she doesn’t want to think about it for a very long time, we shouldn’t be taking it as a sign to force our opinions on her. And it is in no way okay to shame her for it. Isn’t it purely cruel and downright unjust to expect every girl to react ecstatically to the word of marriage and have a slight blush creep onto her cheeks as she runs into her room from embarrassment?
I know I seem to like the biggest misogamist now, but I can assure you, that’s only half true. I wasn’t this ironclad about my disinterest towards marriage till a major portion of the society decided to badger me about my indifference or prove a point that “As a girl, it is absolutely crucial, even more, pivotal than social distancing at a time like this, is for me to fantasize about settling down and making a beautiful family one day.” It’s 2020, the world is playing the biggest UNO reverse card on humans right now. So, it is now the girls’ time to shine; to play a UNO reverse on all those annoying family members and friends who keep pestering you with their sermons on the necessity of nuptials, and also those incessant aunties who keep bringing new “One-in-a-million” proposals to your house every other day.
Just because you are a girl, doesn’t mean you dreamt about having a destination wedding from 8th grade.
Just because she is a girl, doesn’t mean she should be confined within the 4 walls of her house in the name of a prosperous “union”.
Just because they are girls, doesn’t give anyone the right to shame them about not wanting to have children at any stage of their life.
And as Rachel rightfully said in the very first episode of FRIENDS like the true intellectual she was, “All my life, everyone has told me I am a shoe. You’re a shoe! You’re a shoe! You’re a shoe! And then today, I just stopped and said, what if I don’t want to be a shoe? What is I want to be- a purse! Or you know, a hat!” She summarized what I have been ranting about for the past few paragraphs.
You can be a girl and have the liberty to choose what you want to do with your life. You can have big aspirations that don’t let you sleep at night, you can lay back and not plan out your whole life or even have a goal, or you can go ahead and get married at 18 if you really want to. You can be a shoe or a hat, or a purse; anything that you want to do, anything you want is and no one has the right to put their labels on you because you don’t fit their molds. This orthodox society’s urge to dictate every step of your life is infuriating and tiresome.
Thus, it is high time we stop associating womanhood to only being someone’s wife or mother. Because we girls are so much more than that, and we deserve so much more than being defined by age-old beliefs and illogical social demands.
So, say it with me; louder for the thick-headed ones in the back: Girls must only do what makes them happy! And marriage isn’t the only thing that makes us whole! We are all complete and amazing in our own ways. Let no one state otherwise!