Freedom after marriage? Recently, an Advocate named Swati took Twitter by storm with her reply to her father’s “freedom comes after marriage” text. While her father was bent on convincing her that she would be free only after she is married, she succeeded in explaining him why he was wrong.
There are many Indian parents who still think their of their daughters as “paraya dhan” and that they belong to a different family. They are raised to believe that true freedom comes only after they have successfully accomplished the ‘milestone’ of marriage.’
But why should women still have to believe that they need to be “married” to be “free”? Why can’t they have their freedom independent of marriage?
“You get freedom after marriage.” 5 reasons why Indian parents should stop saying this
1. Freedom is our birth right
Freedom is something everyone is entitled to. It exists even if one chooses not to marry. We are deprived of our basic right if it is delegated to the institution of marriage. Why should we wait for a partner to pursue our goals or travel? Even after years 73 years of independence from the British rule, India’s women are not free from the bondage of patriarchy. They are made to believe that what is rightfully theirs will come to them only after they step into their “own house” after marriage.
2. We are individuals, not a man’s property
By saying, “Freedom comes after marriage,” parents make their daughters feel inferior about themselves. Women start believing as though their entire existence depends upon a man. Parents should instead boost their daughters’ confidence. They should inspire them to carry out ventures all by themselves without waiting for man. Women aren’t properties for men to possess and dictate. They are individuals and deserve a better treatment.
3. We aren’t born as ‘wives’
Women are not born with partners. Nor do all of them wish to have one. They come into the world as independent beings. Why should we then want them to first get married and then earn their share of freedom? Husband or no husband, women should not have to get into a debate with their parents demanding what they deserve. Reducing their identity to mere wives is sheer disrespect.
4. Our marital status does not define us
Dear desi parents, stop looking at your daughters as ‘marriage material’. They are not born just to become wives. Accept them for the people that they are. Their success does not come with marriage. All they need is your support and encouragement to achieve their aspirations. Trust me, seeing your daughters fulfil their dreams will make you proud parents. Don’t clip their wings just to make them ‘homely wives’.
5. Marriage and freedom are two independent elements
Marriage and freedom can never go hand in hand. They are two separate entities and should not be merged. We have come a long way from the times when women would have to get married to exercise their free will. Today, women are succeeding in all fields of work. Day by day, they are moving one step closer to bridging the gender gap. At this point, we can come together to support them instead of asking them to first “settle down” and then do what they like.
Views expressed are author’s own