Amidst the rumours of their engagement, people are age-shaming Priyanka Chopra for being 11 years older than Nick Jonas. Only yesterday, a leading news channel was flashing this piece of unconfirmed news, while pointing out to their reverse age difference. But it isn’t the news, many on social media are also playing spoilsport, and couldn’t help but shame the Quantico actor for allegedly choosing a man 11 years younger to her.

Even today, for us Indians, a husband must always be older than his wife in an ideal match. Be it even by a millisecond. This tradition of wedding brides to grooms elder to them is so routine, that we frown and fret if people choose partners with reverse age-difference. While the tradition may have had valid logic behind it till a century ago, this is 2018. So can we please start focusing on other important aspects of a matrimonial match, than the “ideal” age difference?

Does age difference even matter, if two people are compatible or in love?

People don’t have much qualms about male actors who marry or court women with similar age gap or even more, as Chopra and Jonas.

The society frowns upon men who marry much younger women, yes. But such a liaison is still more socially acceptable than when the genders are reversed in this equation. Why do we find it acceptable for a much older man to court a younger woman, but not otherwise? What is it that makes an older male partner “mature” “understanding” and “worthy”, but a female one “cougar” or “ill-matched”.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Priyanka Chopra is being trolled for being 11 years older than her alleged beau Nick Jonas.
  • Men who court much younger women do face criticism. But women courting much younger men is almost unacceptable.
  • In times when marriage is no longer about mature men shouldering “naïve” young brides for life, does the age gap even matter?

This roots from our patriarchal mindset which sees women as a burden. It is considered to be a husband’s duty to take care of her and support her in every way. Male members also enjoy the privilege of being the dominant partner in our households. A groom older than his wife is perceived to be more mature, patient, authoritative and financially secure. In other words, more capable of commanding the ship that is his matrimonial life.

But this mindset needs to update itself to the modern sensibilities. Women are no longer a burden which needs to be passed off as a responsibility from one mature man’s shoulders to another.

They are striving to be independent and commanding. They are educated, practical and very much capable and deserving of marrying as equals. Besides, why should it matter who earns more or who is older, these are not the things which make a marriage smooth?

Today, marriage and courtship are no longer about obedience and just tolerating each other as a responsibility. It is about companionship and compatibility – two factors where personalities and mutual affection, play a bigger role than the traditional criterion of an ideal age difference. Hence, if Chopra and Jonas are indeed compatible then nothing else matters much. Not their paychecks or the said age difference.

As for those who are trolling her, Chopra has been in public scrutiny for decades now. Such criticism or trolling doesn’t bother her much. There are so many couples like Chopra and Jonas who give up on their relationships because they are wary of the social critique. It is disheartening that our medieval notions about courtship form a barrier between suitable companions. Isn’t it time to focus on other aspects of matrimony, which have been ignored for so long, hence leading to unhappy marriages, than such outdated beliefs?

Photo Credit: Hindustan Times

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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