Evolving Women : Questioning the Sanctity of Marriage in India
If a time traveler was visiting us from the early 20th century or before, he/she would be surprised to see the intellectual (r)evolution that has taken place among women across the globe. We have tons and tons of single working women, divorced working women, single moms, women living in with their partners (male/female); same-sex married women…We are now rejecting the ‘Holy’ Institution of Marriage and choosing to live outside of it !!
Most of us falling in Middle-Class generation Y were brought up with 2 distinct values: Firstly, girls should be career-oriented and hence financially independent Second: A career-oriented woman should be timely married to a suitable partner and lead a perfect balance of domestic and working life.
What was not understood by the generation that brought us up was that once you start educating your daughters and send them out in the big bad world to fend for themselves, they will develop thinking of their own ---- one that will not be pretty according to present day societal norms developed maybe hundreds of years ago and now on the brink of being obsolete.
The definitive shift in the thought process can be seen in the way even married women of generation Y and the ones after us question the importance of getting hitched and the concept of happily ever after…
So what is it that the liberated women of the 21st century are questioning/rejecting???
- Marriage results in financial security for women: Yes, it does in cases where she is not working but not when a woman is financially independent and able to take care of herself.
- Marriage enables us to enjoy parental bliss: Historically women were reduced to the status of child-bearing machines…The biggest example to be cited is that of Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to her 15th child (What a fool we are to call the Tajmahal a monument of Love). More and more women ( and men ) now believe that having a child out of wedlock is perfectly fine !! Women are ready to become single mothers, adopt children, and opt for surrogacy as and when they feel comfortable with it. A lot of Women and Couples are now also absolutely fine with not having children….it is now a choice and not a social obligation.
- Human beings are monogamous and hence Marriage is the perfect social apparatus to tie two individuals in a relationship that lasts for a lifetime: No one believes in this anymore. Women have been more forthcoming in accepting that Human Beings are polyamorous in nature and there is no point in denying the same. I have heard married women talk about how they are absolutely fine with their respective other halves having one-night stands or anything else on the same lines. The crumbling belief in the sanctity of marriages has led to Couples opting for Open marriages, Partner Swapping, Live ins, and so on….Happily Single at 30 / 40 / 50 has become the new norm !!
- Traditionally Women have played the role of homemakers and they were expected to take on the same role 100% in addition to their professional life. During the initial stages of evolution, women took on both roles forgetting to take care of themselves in the process. A big house, multiple children, multiple cars, servants, and family holidays were symbols of social status. Off late, more and more women are rejecting these notions and moving toward the belief system that taking care of themselves is more important. We want to live independently, date when we want, a holiday when we want, marry or not when we want, stay in small/medium adobes which are easy to maintain and don’t occupy too much space in our mind.
- Married Couples are great companions to each other in old age: During a conversation, the Mother of a single friend of mine was worried that her daughter will miss the ‘traditional’ companionship with a life partner during her old age. My response to her was quick and simple !! I said, “Don’t worry Auntie !! All of us are here for her.” Companionship during Old age can now be very well provided by like-minded friends. Why get married for it???
To conclude, I would like to quote Star, the managing editor of Patheos’ Pagan Portal: “I can’t support the Institution of Marriage with its crumbling and cracked foundations. I do support the Evolution of Marriage as a vibrant, honest way to build community and honor the oaths humans make to each other: male to female, male to male, female to female, for all time, as long as love lasts, in polygyny, in polyandry, in polyamory, in young adulthood, in old age, between every race, exclusive, open and in glorious diversity.”
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