Society attitude towards Single Women
“I feel like young girls are told that they have to be a princess and fragile. It’s bullshit. I identify much more with being a warrior – a fighter. If I was going to be a princess, I’d be a warrior princess” -Emma Watson
Sushmita Sen once said, “I love my father. He once told someone “Please look at my daughter. Do you think I’ve raised her in a way that her only identity is to be someone’s wife?” But most of the girls of Indian society do not have a father with such big, progressive and modern mind-set. On the contrary, the fate of women is decided in terms of marriage. Look at the jewellery commercials, 80% of them shows a bride with a very happy face who is wearing a very heavy necklace and seeking acceptance and appreciation from the husband. I have rarely seen such a happy face of a girl on her convocation day in any commercial. Although it feels good to see that nowadays some jewellery brands are thinking and designing jewellery for working women. But the number of such instances are surely very few.
For women, marriage is a compulsion and not a rationally taken decision. After a certain age they are left with no other options than marrying. The force of society is surely strong enough. No, I am not talking against marriage. I want to talk about those who decide to go against this social force and control and dare to stay single.
The struggle they face
- When are you getting married?
If you are a girl, your age is more than 20, and you live in India, no matter you are studying law or engineering, you are preparing for IAS or GRE you are surely going to face this question at least twice a week if not more than that from your parents, relatives and sometimes may be from your age mates. The single women who are resistant to these questions and have passed years facing all these are often given with an extra offer from the patriarchal society. They are permitted by their conventional, orthodox parents to marry any guy they want. Sometimes even they extend the offer to that limit that she can marry from other castes as well. Wow! What a big offer for a girl! Just imagine!
- Do you stay alone?
Another pinching question often asked to the single woman, how are you going to stay alone the entire life? It’s not safe for women. As if when someone is married she takes her husband all the time with her while in an elevator or in a crowded metro. Men who stay alone are not all Jacky Chan. If they are protected by the guards of the apartment and police of the nation then girls are also safe. And no one can deny that the safety of women in this nation is not dependent on her marital status. Rapists don’t show any special consideration for a woman who has ‘sindur’ on her ‘maang’.
- You are ‘Characterless’
If they can’t mould you in a way they want, they will attack you. They will attack the most vulnerable part of you. They will question your character. They will monitor each and every behaviour of you, gossip behind you, stare at you with all the negative judgements, and obviously interpret all your behaviour on the basis of their rudimentary template. They will consider your cousin as your boyfriend, count the number of your guy friends as number of your boyfriends, they will have a constant eye on your house and minute notes regarding who comes to your house and how long they do stay. When you will get promotion in your office after working hard all day long you better know how they will interpret your growth. They will question your sexual life, sexual orientation as well as your upbringing. Your entire fault is that you have decided to live a single, happy life rather than knotting yourself with someone you don’t want to.
- You can’t be a mother:
To attack a more sensitive part single women are often reminded about their motherhood. Motherhood is seen as the sole purpose of a woman’s life. Firstly, women are really blessed that they can give birth to a new life. But a woman is complete even without being a mother. And, marrying someone for the sole purpose of motherhood is like treating a male body like a sperm bank. This is highly disrespectful for men as well. A single woman can go for motherhood like Sushmita Sen. Society may say that a single mother cannot provide complete parenting. But I argue that single moms are better than fighting parents. Adopting a baby or going to sperm banks is a good plan.
- Who will take care of you?
Another lame logic used by the parents along with emotional overflow. They feel worried about who will take care of you when you will grow old. A family is surely important for support and companionship. But no one can guarantee that your husband will be alive when you will suffer in your death bed. Your adopted child can take care of you and most importantly the nurses and doctors who are there to take health care can help you out.
I really appreciate those women who have ignored all these questions of the society and decided to follow their own path. It takes a lot of courage not to conform to the norms. Marriage is beautiful only when it is considered to be required from both the parts and marriage should not become a necessity because everyone does it and it gives you the certificate to have a sexual life and give birth to a baby. These type of forced marriages, when someone does it reluctantly, is surely one of the causes behind marital discords. Society needs to change its perception regarding marriage. Scope for openness and freedom of taking decision regarding whom to marry, when to marry as well as whether to marry or not; will surely reduce the incidence of divorce, marital conflicts as well as domestic violence.
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