A girl’s dreams shouldn’t end with marriage. I learnt it the hard way.
I fell in love with my husband for being an egalitarian. Yes, my husband’s dream is to make me live a life I have always wanted to. Right from childhood, I was often asked by many people I met if I had any brother apart from the two sisters. I always felt anxious about this question but it never bothered me much because my parents “never wanted us to”.
My father has always given keen importance to education, being unbiased to any gender. As I grew up, I many times used to hear my relatives asking my parents, not to spend much after the eduction of we three sisters as they won’t get anything “in- return” when they will get old. I could never get this but it always left me numb with a question in my mind- “Are I and my sisters unwanted ?” I belonged to a joint family and I have grown up seeing my mother/ grandmother working hard to keep the house going and in doing so, they have many times forgot to take care of themselves. Their only goal in life has been to be a good wife and a daughter-in-law- yes because they were always ‘supposed to’ have this as their “dream life”.
Like them and many other women, I had also thought of giving up my profession after marriage so that I would not “hurt” the expectations of both my family in any circumstances. We had an inter-caste marriage, where the expectations were naturally and “mandatorily” high from me as I was not coming from the same society.
I have always wanted to work but simultaneously, I had already started to convince myself that I ‘ll have to change my habits, religion, lifestyle, and so on in order to match the expectations and keep everyone happy. Many times I could not understand how to react and manage the things out. I have always got his support at each and every stage of life. It was my husband who wanted me to live the life I have always wanted to and also work professionally instead of being a housewife.
He told me that “You are not supposed to live your life on the basis or others expectations”, I continued my work, and today, he and both my families are proud of me.
Our society showcases a culture where we as girls are always taught and expected to look after and have no “personal” goals or dreams after marriage. In fact, marriage is projected as a goal for us. The system has become so strong that it has yelled our society to believe that every woman want’s to be a housewife and has no expectations from her own life. And in cases, when she wants to be a working woman, the household stuff becomes mandatory for her. I understand that in prior times, this was followed because the girls were not educated and were dependent- first on their families and then on their in-laws, but it is not so in current times, because females are also getting educated nowadays. However, the rise in education ratio has not yet knocked changes in the discussed picture due to the existence of many patriarchal beliefs.
Girls are never taught to have career dreams after marriage.
We are expected to be team players and do stuff that is in accordance with the entire family’s wish. “If you don’t learn to cook, what will your in-laws say? or “Learn to be courteous because when you grow up you cannot hurt the feelings of in-laws.” I feel that this guidance should also be for our boys because when we talk about marriage, it is about the relationship between two people. This means that we should train both the person for future relations and not only a girl.
So when I made my choices, I decided these were the things I did not want to get along with. I am an independent architect and a successful working woman, with a proud husband. Doubtless, all that I have achieved has been possible out of his constant support and my capability. I believe, that for a wife to be successful, there is always a need for an “open-minded” and an “understanding” husband. It is his appreciation that has always made me accomplish my goals. I believe, that mothers play an important role in revising the future. So, if we teach our boys that work has no gender tags on it, we can have more relations where there will be equal respect and understanding. In fact, I think that this concept would redefine the term “marriage” and we would have more successful and pleasing relationships then.
I agree that career option is always subjective from person to person. And in maximum cases, a woman chooses to be a housewife as it becomes difficult to manage the house and work simultaneously. But does that mean that every girl needs to opt for being a housewife? Why don’t we teach our sons to show equal support in household work? So a single person does not get burdened. I am very pleased to have a gentleman who cooks with me, eats with me, and works with me. He comes and stays at his in-law’s place as I do at my in-law’s place. He feels proud of me when I attain accomplishments in my work and motivates me to work more! I mean what more do you need then?! My husband and I belong to the same profession but, I do not remember any phase of my life where we had any competitive arguments, instead I do not remember any time when we have not helped each other out with work or relations.
I feel good to see the time changing and the elder generation accepting this progress slowly. My education and work has made me feel worthy and has given me the courage to write my own story. In the end, I understand that it takes courage to be limitless but a strong woman is the one who accepts the compliments and criticism graciously, as a stone needs to be polished to call itself a diamond.
Feminism is not a race with any specific gender. It is a process of recognition of equality among men and women. The term “gender equality” cannot be based on a single-gender. We rather need to spread consciousness for “equality as humans”. I just expect every woman to “celebrate herself” and explore the limitless potential to live a life she has dreamt of.
“You are worthy enough to live the life of your choice”