According to data, only 11 per cent of women in India have never been married. Around 21 per cent consists of single women including divorced, unmarried, widowed, or separated women. The number has increased over the years but the struggles of single women in a country like India cannot be covered.
Single women are always under society’s scrutiny and are judged merely over their choices. And if they are single and living alone that makes the case worst for them.
“Single? Oh too bad! You’ll get someone.” “Beta, how will you manage to live alone? Everyone needs a companion especially the man of the house.” The moment a woman says she is single she is bombarded with such comments and questions. Being a single woman is seen in such a bad light that oh no one is marrying her.
But what if the woman is single by choice? What is living alone is her choice? Aren’t we all entitled to make our choices?
Here Are Five Stigmas Single Women Living Alone Face
The most common stigma around single women living alone is that they are characterless or morally loose. This is seen as one of the reasons behind their singledom. Single women are not recognised as a valid or accepted category of individuals. They are not seen as individuals with autonomy. Each and every action of single women living alone is under scrutiny and is judged badly. In our society being single or mingling decides our character and intentions.
Unhappy and Depressed
Another stigma around single women living alone is that they are unhappy and depressed. The fact that it is assumed that a woman cannot be single and happy at the same time is so deeply flawed. A single woman automatically becomes a bad influence and other women should be kept away from them. It is automatically assumed that something is wrong with her if she has decided not to marry. She’s probably depressed out of loneliness.
Single women living alone are for no reason assumed to be rude and self-centred. But studies have shown quite the opposite that single people are actually more likely than married people to encourage, help and socialize with their friends and neighbours. They are also more likely to visit, support, advise and stay in touch with their siblings and parents. Single women are literally ridiculed for no reason.
Indian aunties and uncles are too worried about other people’s daughters putting emotional baggage and pressure on them for no reason. Single women are told how will they face society as if they are answerable to it. ‘Bechari’ is the word used for them as if singledom is a curse and the worst thing that could happen to them. Single women living alone are thought of as needier, sadder, and unhappier women seeking a life partner. But that’s not the case. Many women are living their best lives working, travelling, and enjoying their lives.
Single not out of choice but out of Helplessness
A single woman is so harshly judged for her ‘choice’ to stay single and live alone. ‘Shadi Nahi ho Rahi hogi is the first thought. What if she doesn’t want to? What if she wants to live alone? The fact that staying single and living alone can actually be ‘choices’ is totally overruled. It is predominantly assumed that women cannot stay single out of choice but they are single out of helplessness.
The social stigma around being a single woman living alone is too much that women sometimes end up making wrong or hurried choices that they regret later. It’s a woman’s choice whether she wants to marry, whether she wants to remain single, she wants to stay in a live-in or she wants to live alone. It’s totally their choice and all choices made are right. You don’t need a man to survive. The last I checked men were not there on the list of essentials. So, single or married all you need to be is happy in your choices!
Views expressed are the author’s own
Suggested Reading: Single By Choice? Why Indian Women Are Opting To Be On Their Own