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Why marriage is seen as an achievement for women?

- By: Monika Dohare -

Can you imagine that a woman is 25 and still unmarried? I can. But I think the whole society cannot and is constantly worried about her, including her own family. And that's my story. However, I have not been forced to get married but I know the day I go back home I will be asked to say yes.

I have never experienced patriarchy since childhood would be a lame statement to make. My father may not support conventional notions like women have to wear long saree and ornaments or forced us to follow some traditional rituals. But patriarchy is still practised in a subtle way and is visible in the daily lifestyle of my family. My father has always maintained the position as the head of the family and also the breadwinner. My mother carries out her daily duties of what a woman is supposed to do, like taking care of household chores, nurturing us and most specifically to keep dinner ready before 9 at night so that she can avoid my father’s fury. My father is very particular about timings. If things are not done on time, it is possible that my father might get angry.

When I was hitting puberty, my neighbours began to nag me and insult my mother because of my aggressive behaviour which included an inappropriate way of speaking and short temper. Neighbourhood aunties became so anxious and told my mother, "She is becoming a girl and you should teach her not to shout". Since then my mother began to teach me ways to conduct myself and also how to behave like a girl.

I have never condemned my mother because I know it would be difficult for her to stay away with such notions as it's deeply rooted in her psyche. I cannot uproot that thinking within a year or a month, it will take time to deconstruct such mindset. Mainly because girls getting married at an early age has become heredity in my family. Both my mother and grandmother were married at a young age. As my father is getting retired in July, my family wants me to get married so that there is someone whom I can be dependent on and will look after me.

Why should marriage become a big achievement for girls? How does getting married to someone and living with his family make me settled in life? My decision of not getting married sounds immature to my family. So now, marriage is the only option I have if I fail to attain a government job.

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