Humans are social animals and most of the humans generally tend to live in societies. And as we all know there are certain unsaid norms that one has to comply with if one chooses to be a part of any form of the society. Perhaps we have not given much thought to many of these unsaid norms, because we are raised as children with certain notions about the adult life, especially that once you grow up you will get married; that usually we do not find anything unusual about them.
But when changes being to happen, and as societies are developing, more and more people are finding it normal to live alone, unmarried and single, and this is when we tend to raise a brow, especially when it comes to women who are unmarried, and women who choose to remain unmarried.
Now there is a subtle difference between the women of the two categories. Women who have done a fair amount of groom-hunting and have still not landed a husband, for whatsoever reasons, lie in the former category. It goes without saying that these women have submitted to the dreams they were shown as children, dreams of a prince charming and a happily ever after, I really do not mean to sound too harsh, but these are the women who think that having a man in their lives is a prerequisite for happiness and other things. The harsh societal response to an unmarried woman hardly helps their cause and they find it difficult to lead a happy unmarried life.
I really do not know what happens with women who are not able to get grooms for themselves, though I have seen a few who will stalk any guy that talks with them on Facebook, and yes, in real life I have seen great heights of desperation of some unmarried women. Leaving that aside, I came acrossthis very interesting article, which states the results of a survey conducted in the 60’s on unmarried and single women in the United States, and to the question of what happens to the above women, it does provide a few insights. Feminists will find this article revolting and personally, even I am glad that we have moved on from those times.
Before I move on to the next category of women who choose to remain unmarried, there are a few things I should mention. We, as women have been brought up in a society where it is normal to be married and have kids. Even though most of the women today are educated, even after these women have landed up with high paying jobs, they still want to get married. And why is that normal? Because, marriage is an immensely popular topic.
From our cinema, to the prime time Ekta Kapoor productions which largely run on the family dramas, the reality TV-shows (remember ‘Rakhi ka Swayamwar’) to famous books and songs , the idea of marriage or being in a relationship and being committed is hyped so much that we do not even notice the hype and often take it for granted. As soon as the hormones kick in, and even before that, we have always wanted to be with the opposite sex because that is how it is supposed to be. So intricately woven is this idea of couples and marriages in our everyday lives, politics, religion and media that if anyone tries to break the norm we end up asking: “Can they really live like that?”
There is so much more to life that just husbands, households and kids. There is her career and then there is her, her own person, her own life, her own dreams which need not be centred on a man.
The women in the latter – the women who choose to remain single or unmarried – again for whatsoever reason have had their lives being made hell by the constant prodding, suggesting, recommending, taunting and nagging of their relatives, friends and the society at large for their decision. The social structures that we live in are such that if any one wishes to divulge, just a little, they are unacceptable by the rest and may even seem a bit strange.
So can a woman really live life unmarried?
Yes, she can.
There is so much more to life that just husbands, households and kids. There is her career and then there is her, her own person, her own life, her own dreams which need not be centred on a man. Women have a right to remain single, a fulfilling life of dreams and ambitions just as normally as men do. There is ‘Singles Revolution’ going on in the West (or that’s what they like to call it) where more and more people are choosing to stay single and focus on themselves and their personal growth. There even exists in Stockholm, a habitation of sorts, where single people live together in a building and carry on with their normal activities, just because they are fed up of being ridiculed by the other committed part of the world. These sorts of concept buildings are bound to hit other nations which are moving up on the divorce ladder or the staying happily singles ladder.
But coming back to our part of the world, you are bound to argue what about the rural women and women with no means to sustain themselves? These women have been covered in the first category; financial dependency is also one of the whatsoever reasons for wanting to get married.
A woman can spend her life without a man. In the modern world, she has the gadgets, she has her friends, she has her career, she has her family and more than them, she has herself. Marriage more often than not becomes a liability for women who want to focus on something else. That does depend a lot on how well the marriage is working out to be. But then, being women, we tend to put our families first and give ourselves no priority at all.
What happens to our dreams and our wishes? What happens to all those changes that we wanted to bring about in the world? What happens to all those nights we had stayed awake in our beds dreaming of making it happen and making it really big life? What happens to those dreams of being a doctor, a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, a dancer, a singer, an actress or something which gives us a distinct identity? What happens to us, why do we stop caring for ourselves once we settle down?
So the question that should actually be asked is: “Can a woman live being married?”