When my aunt saw me after a couple of years, she was surprised by the way I looked. She said, “You look so cute and beautiful now.” I blushed at her compliment only to be amused when she quickly added, “It is a good time for you to get married.” I was shocked at her perspective which clearly pointed out that marriage is all about looks. That a woman should marry now she is looking good and has a better chance of finding a good groom, and not because she wants to.
A similar idea is pedalled to single women who choose not to marry. Many single women get to hear how can a woman like them be unmarried. Some women take it as a compliment, but it is not. It just portrays society’s misconception that just because a woman looks good she should marry as she can get a good groom. It is assumed that a woman’s beauty is not something to be appreciated and embraced by the woman herself. Its real value is in using it as a weapon to ensure a secure future.
Marriage is considered a women’s ultimate goal in life. So whatever she achieves or has been gifted with is used to enhance her status as a prospective bride. Especially when it comes to beauty, society always puts a value on women's appearance and encourages them to see it as a commodity.
But shouldn’t marriage be about choice and understanding between two partners? Just as it is wrong to establish a man's worth based on his paycheck, isn't it wrong to establish a hierarchy among women based on their appearance? Also, aren't we setting couples up for a dysfunctional marriage if their choice in alliance is based on earnings and appearance, and not compatibility?
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Moreover, it is also problematic that women are judged on the basis of their beauty. Considering the fact that marriage is the prize that defines women’s values, it is unjust to discriminate against and shame women who don’t look beautiful enough to get married soon. Society doesn’t care much about the achievements of women and how it is an essential part of their individuality. In our society, a beautiful woman is celebrated more than a woman who has achieved a lot in her career. In fact, the beautiful women who are the apples of society’s eyes are also undermined when it comes to their careers. Their beauty is made to define their worth, not their achievements.
Why should women’s value rest in their looks? Why should a woman be valued just for her beauty? Why can’t society take a woman’s success seriously? Why does a woman lose her worth if she doesn’t fit into the standard definition of beauty?
It is important for us to understand that the choices that a woman makes must define her life, not her&t=3s"> marriage prospects. Every woman, no matter how she looks, has the right to choose whether she wants to marry or not, and when. Afterall, there is more to our lives than marriage and appearance and it is these other aspects of our life that shape us as individuals.
So let's stop our obsession with beauty and look at women as individuals who have more to offer to their partners than their looks. It is certain that we will find many hidden gems that have never been explored. Moreover, as far as marriage is concerned, isn't it touted to be a lifelong bond? Then how can it survive that long when it is based on ephemeral beauty?
Views expressed are the author's own.