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Not so Perfect Woman

by Akshita Choudhary
(New Delhi, India)



Yours not-so-perfect nearing 30 Woman!



In India, according to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation 2019 report, the average age of women's marriage is 22.1 years. I was a clueless graduate at the age of 22 with no sense of responsibility. I consider myself plenty responsible now, but that isn’t enough. Our society doesn’t really consider people mature until they get married and make babies.

‘Why did I make such a statement?’

Well, for instance, I am pretty sure your progressive parents still don’t consider your adult but single ass’s opinions in the family matter. A person is tagged as immature and irresponsible until the marital status is unmarried. Our society believes in the absurdity that seven rounds around the fire, somehow, force the universe to put some sense into the two people coming together in the presence of their immediate and not-so immediate families.

I am 27 years old, unmarried and a research student who lives on a scholarship. To top all that, I am in JNU. The struggle is real and the insecurities creep in now and then. Every alternate day, I watch someone getting married, getting engaged, and bringing babies into the world. I, on the other hand, am worried about my research deadlines and a small bookstagram account. I am subjected to criticism because I decided to pursue my dreams and live independently before becoming a part of a marriage institution.

Every two out of three people are interested in my plans to settle down and have babies than doing great research. Most of my female colleagues choose a man to settle down with, faster than finding a job before they submit their PhDs. If it’s really a modern and progressive world as we say it is, why are we still being pressured into age-old gender-defined roles? Why are young and independent women still seeking financial securities in a man? I think I know why!

In the so-called twenty-first century, women are still burdened with all the household responsibilities. We are quicker to judge anyone who prioritizes career over the home. We cannot be too much involved in our career and we are often looked down upon if we do not meet the ideal criteria of a wife. A new term has been introduced to undermine the insecurities of women; they refer to themselves as ‘home makers’. A term imposed on us by society to excel at our household chores, raise kids, look after pets, become an interior designer, host
parties and cook various delicacies on the account of not sharing the financial burden. The pressure is substantial to meet these criteria of being a woman of the modern world. All the eyes are set on you, waiting for you to take a step in a different direction and watch all the eyes rolling together in disapproval. I have nothing against marriage but the ridiculous expectations of patriarchy from men and women are keeping me from asking my man to take me as his wife. I am petrified to be responsible for his needs, his family’s socio-cultural norms, and my career altogether. I am sure he must feel the same way. He is burdened by patriarchy too.

However, I often hear men complaining that women have a choice, they can decide not to earn a living and depend on their spouse without any criticism. I understand from where it comes, patriarchy has a defined set of gender roles. Men go out to work; women raise children and look after their homes. Men are still afraid to choose otherwise. I do not even want to get into other genders, since as per patriarchy, there are none. I appreciate all the men feeding their families and taking all the financial burdens, but the majority of men do not worry about serving dinner to wife after having a hectic day at work. I need to know, why only women are responsible for all the household duties? Why women are considered as default homemakers? Is it really a choice or an imposition? An imposition to do better at both inside and outside the house. Choosing either one makes you less of a twenty-first-century woman.

Until I figure it out, I don’t want to be a part of this rat race. I would get married when I can be sure I am ready to take up my man’s burden to support our family and he feels ready to take half of our household responsibilities. For now, I politely ask my own gender to stop fulfilling these bizarre expectations in the name of being a strong and modern woman because an ordinary woman like ‘yours not so perfect nearing 30 woman’ might not want to do it at the right age and time. So, ladies, let’s provide some space for each other to mess it up a little. You do you and let me do mine.

“Let’s start celebrating her diverse life choices rather than pointing out her ticking biological clock.”

*****

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