Monday, 20 May 2013

Let women decide their own futures.....

I am tired of a compromised liberal space where women and marriage are seen as synonymous. I am tired of the same old story of conservatism about marriage being camouflaged as concerned parenting that propagates the typical as the norm.  I am tired of parents wanting their female children to address the issue of marriage even before their post graduate certificates are inked and stamped. I am tired of hearing retrogressive arguments about how young women only realise their sense of completion by being wives, and of course therefore in the logical progression of this sequence, fulfilling their destinies as mothers. I am tired of the voice of patriarchy attempting to undermine the voice of the girl child on issues of equality and equal opportunities. I am tired of emotional blackmail and coercion from parents to "persuade" young women to toe the line and fit into the mould of predetermined futures laid out by elders. I am tired of repairing the damage that these suffocating  spaces of insistence create,  where guilt and desperation slowly weigh heavy on the formative minds of children, and where I have to spend hours erasing the hurt that such conformity creates in their lives.  I am tired of the hypocrisy of those parents who educate their female children but do little to encourage them to focus on a career as an essential priority . Perhaps above all I am  most tired of seeing the light dim in the eyes of these young women who are all achievers, desperate to be allowed to grapple with life on their own terms and who seek to find the joy of defining their uniqueness from this challenge,  unfettered by the manipulation of conservative mindsets. 

Marriage....marriage....marriage.....This word seems imprinted onto the brains of most Indian parents, especially for their female off-springs. The arranged marriage orchestrated by parents or other family members, when opposed by the child concerned, is viewed as rebellion. Resistance on the issue of marriage is combated by the elders by making it a topic of conversation at all times privately and publicly despite the discomfort of the child, and which becomes akin to mental torture and harassment as far as I am concerned. This harassment  is offensive to my ideals of freedom because it is demeaning to the fundamental principles of free thinking in which people ( both men & women equally) should be able to make choices about their lives  for themselves, and need not have to wage wars with their families to live an independent life for themselves. The idea that a woman may desire to choose her partner, male or female; or to have a live in relationship, or to stay single,  is completely her choice alone and must remain so without the melodramas of family interference.

When obliged to fight with their families to uphold these basic rights of personal choice and self governance,  family ties often become strained as these children look else where to be nurtured and guided. None of them in my experience have ever shirk the disciplines of hard work nor desired freebees. What they look for is to be respected and taken seriously within their chosen field. The sense of duty that asian children have towards their families should not be abused by parents in ways that go against the norms of  decency and human rights.  I am always deeply saddened that Indian parents think it is perfectly alright to discuss their "anxieties" about the marriage issues of their female children with these children's  teachers, instead of desiring to speak about their work, their academic achievements or their future as artists. But the alter we women must all gallop before our shelf life expires. 

I have intervened in many of my own friends lives when pushy parents were pressing the marriage button in panic as their off springs were not "hooked-up" to wedded bliss. One of my girl friends living in the US in desperation gave her number to an Indian taxi driver (who was on the look out for a green card wife ) in whose cab she was traveling in,  who couldn't speak English (!) and who was uneducated beyond the 9th grade (!!), and merely because the daily droning of her mothers marriage lectures had caused a melt down. Another friend more recently was ready to walk down the aisle with a guy who was clearly dubious in character and absolutely incompatible with her in every possible aspect. When I reasoned with her it became apparent to me that the pressures of a mother who wanted her married at all cost had clouded her better judgement because the topic was wearing her down mentally. She allowed for intervention to guide her back on track. However  a large percentage of women succumb to the wearing down that finally gnaws at their self respect and humiliates them into acceptance.

Leave women alone please. Let us live without interference with our freedom that amounts to mental torture and criminal harassment.  We have skewered the ratio of our female population by aborting female fetuses for decades in our national craze to bear only male progenies. It is a blatant disregard to the issues of  life and liberty that our constitution is supposed to uphold, but few are reprimanded and no legal action is taken for those thousands of female babies whose lives were stilled knowingly before their eyes could even open.

Enough is enough.....I am tired of the farce of pseudo-liberal posturing by parents whose conservatism should be questioned and not swept under the carpet. Let us address the dignity of all women appropriately. Pro-choice and self-governance is the bedrock of all feminist empowerment and no one can undermine these basic and fundamental factors of our freedom. So be forewarned as my patience has clearly worn down. I have no political correctness I wish to muster in situations of social engagement when I am faced with retrogressive parenting. I just call a spade a spade and brook no long drawn out explanations about the whys and hows of the relevance of the institution of marriage being necessary  for  women. So walk along buddies because I'm through with this debate forever! It's old and boring and redundant .....and I'm indignant and outraged that we are going on like broken records about women = marriage. Enough is enough....move on please!


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