When a woman marries a rich man, she is criticised for being a gold digger who values money over a person’s personality and values. But when a woman decides to earn her own living, she becomes a threat to the patriarchal system, on basis of which our society functions. So what is society trying to prove here? Do women have no right to have money? Do they have no right to buy or own things? Is financial support and independence a masculine domain?
Our society is riddled with double standards that suffocate women and deprive them of their basic rights. No matter what a woman does, she always finds her decisions under scrutiny. The definition of womanhood has been carved in stone and if a woman tries to stray away from it, she is punished for crossing her limits. And if she remains within the limit, she is reduced to a puppet with no life and choice of her own. And even within these constraints, society finds more ways to stifle a woman and police her life, reminding her that the oppression she is enduring isn’t about morality or choices, it is just about her gender.
We all know that money gives a person a lot of power and agency in our society. While men can earn it via inheritance or work, for women, things are more complicated. A woman is expected to devout her life to caring for her family and let money matter be handled by her husband. But even if a woman believes in this mindset, that has been dispensed to her by the patriarchal society she lives in, she is labelled a gold digger, if she seeks a well-off groom. When a woman is raised with the belief that she should marry a man who can provide her with happiness and financial support, then why is she criticised for digging into her husband’s wallet? Is it not her right to have an equal share in her husband’s fund?
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Okay, if digging into a husband’s purse is not acceptable, then why doesn’t society approve of women who want to earn their own living? Why are women labelled selfish for prioritising their career?
The problem is, society wants women to just serve their families and husbands. They are deprived of the right to have a life of their own where they can earn, thrive and own. It is assumed that women do not need anything and are rather there in our homes to just fulfil the needs of other family members.
But is this fair? Should women be objectified as unpaid service providers? Should women be criticised for seeking money either via marrying off well or by earning it on their own? When money is the basic need of every person, then why are women labelled as greedy and immoral if they demand for it?
It is high time now that society makes up its mind. Let a woman earn if you do not approve of them seeking financial stability via marriage. Stop hounding women who do not have career ambitions and thus seek a life partner who earns for the family instead. And guess what, let men make the same choices.
Who gets to work, who stays at home and cares for the family- these issues should be decided by a couple on basis of their priorities not based on the stereotypes that society wants them to fit in.
Views expressed are the author’s own.