When it comes to graduation for many of us Asian girls it’s both a blessing and a curse. Our three-six years of hard work and labour are finally paying off, we no longer have to write another exam, we can finally find a job and start earning money instead of waiting every semester for our loans to drops. But, it also means that we are to brace ourselves for the inevitable: our parent’s trying to get us married.
I was rather fortunate in this sense; questions of my marriage did not come forth until I actually had a job. Some of my friends were not so fortunate; some were getting pressured to accept or consider proposals before they even finished their final year. Girls seem to reach a particular age after which they are constantly bombarded with questions from aunties about the absence of a Thaali around their neck/ ring on their fingers.
I understand that for some people the next step after education is getting married and that’s fine. It’s what they want. But, I finished university when I was 23 years and I already felt that I was ‘behind’ with my ambitions. Marriage wasn’t really on my list. Even now, I’m not ready: I am not financially secure, I can barely cook and I love food (so that’s a problem).
Truthfully though the proposals and questions about getting married aren’t really what make me angry. It is this: as an Asian girl I am often told that I have to get married because I can’t live alone. I feel that as a women I am undermined. I am told that I am unable to be happy or secure on my own. I am told that marriage is a necessity. But what I fail to understand is why?
Is it because marriage provides financial security?
Yes, perhaps when my parents were younger women were dependent on others and a marriage provided them with security as many of them didn’t work. But now things have changed, we are educated to be independent. We are encouraged to learn to support ourselves and stand on our own feet.
Is it to have children?
There’s adoptions and even IVF, you no longer need a partner to have a child.
What exactly is the reason that I must get married? We need to stop forcing the idea of marriage as a necessity. We need to stop pressuring people to get married like they have an expiry date to get hitched and be happy.
One day I would like to get married, for love. I mean I’ve been planning my wedding since I was 13 – I’m not really against it. I’ll get married because I want to, not because I have to, and I’m sure that most of Asian girls who are often pressured with married feel the same.