The marriage pressure in the lives of Indian women is real. No sooner do they reach their twenties than their parents start groom hunting for them. Starting from creating profiles on matrimonial websites to asking all their acquaintances if they know of some “suitable boy”, they do everything to arrange a groom for their daughters.
Whether or not their children are interested in getting married hardly matters to them. Indians tend to give so much importance to marriage that they often forget the troubles an early marriage can cause. When parents pressurise their daughters to “settle down”, they pass a whole lot of illogical and irrational comments, which we are tired of hearing.
Marriage pressure: 10 things Indian parents should stop telling their daughters
1. If not now, when?
Dear brown parents, can you just let your daughter decide when she is ready to get married? Pressuring her to marry early when she is barely aware about the responsibilities a marriage brings doesn’t mean you truly care about her. You just look at her as a ‘burden’ that you want to shed off. The ‘right age’ to marry comes only when your daughter herself declares it to be and not when you place the marriage pressure on her.
2. You will not find a man like him
What if they just don’t want to? Do parents have the right pick up strangers for their daughters and expect them to get hitched? Don’t women have the liberty to choose their own partners at their own comfort? Getting married just for the sake of it results in no good. In order for a woman to be happy, she must have a compatible relationship with her partner. This cannot happen if parents simply look at a man’s bank balance and decide him to be ‘the best one’ fir their daughter.
3. Who will look after you when we are gone?
Parents use this dialogue to manipulate their daughters into getting married. Why do they think that their daughters need someone to ‘look after’ them? Shouldn’t they instead raise them in a way that they can take care of themselves, both financially and emotionally? Instead of teaching your daughter to depend on someone else for her needs, teach her to be on her own. Teach her to accept her individuality and lead a respectful life with or without a partner.
4. You will miss out the joy of motherhood if you remain unmarried
First of all, not every woman dreams of embracing motherhood. They might not be willing to accept the painful bodily alterations pregnancy brings with itself and that’s okay. Under no circumstances should we force women to become mothers against their desire. Secondly, why should marriage be a compulsion to become a mother? Can’t an unmarried woman be a good mother? A woman’s marital status doesn’t decide the love she can bestow on her child.
Moreover, is giving birth necessary to become a parent? Why don’t we normalise adopting homeless children and giving them a new life? Also, this doen’t apply just to married couples but everyone who would love to raise children.
5. No one would want to marry an “overaged” girl!
Does this concept of “overage” apply only to woman? No one ever asks for a man’s age in the context of marriage. Why is then the obsession with “young” brides so high in our culture? Is it because women ‘lose’ their beauty and elegance after a certain age or is it simply because once a woman is matured enough to make the right choice, she will not allow anyone to exploit her?
6. You will not find a groom if you don’t mend your ways
The marriage pressure reaches a new level when women are asked to “mend their ways” (read be subjugated) to tick off all points on the checklist of an “ideal bride”. Why are women made to feel that the only purpose they are expected to serve is make a ‘good wife’? There are far more important things that we need to worry about. Waiting for men to marry an adulterated version of ourselves is simply not our aim in life.
7. You can continue your studies after marriage…
Indian parents think their daughter’s marriage is way more essential than her studies. That’s why they pile up savings for their girl’s ‘big day’ but not for her education. They even feed into her mind that she may continue her education once she is in her “own house”. This of course comes with a rulebook that says a woman is free to study only after her husband and in laws have ‘allowed’ her. Can’t parents focus on first empowering their children by providing them with an education? If their daughters are well educated and established, they can choose a partner they truly deserve and can be happy with.
8. You should get married at the ‘right age’ to avoid pregnancy complications
Dear Indian parents, stop looking at your daughter as a child bearing machine. She knows when her “right age” to get married is and she definitely won’t marry just to become a mother. A woman can take up the role of a mother whenever she is mentally and physically prepared. Stop teaching her that early motherhood is a better choice.
9. Marriage is the norm. Why don’t you just follow it?
The society should not get to decide what is ‘normal’ for others. We can take our own life decisions very well. When women are emancipated enough to reject the norm of marriage, the male-dominated society looks at them as ‘evil’ and ‘fallen’. An independent woman capable of living without a partner scares the patriarchal set up. Thus, the social construct seeks to put an end to her freedom by getting her married.
10. Your marriage is our responsibility
Our marriage is our responsibility alone. We get to choose whether or not we want to take the step. As parents, all you can do is guide us to make the right choice. Stop making marriage the centre of our lives. The marriage pressure you put on us does more harm than good. If you truly want us to live a ‘happily married’ life, just let us take the decision ourselves.
What else do you think Indian parents say when pestering their daughters with marriage pressure?