If you’re a kid of the ‘80s you’d remember the newspaper advertisements ‘looking for a match for our fair and handsome boy’. If you’re a kid of the ‘90s you’d be more aware of a father running behind his daughter with a turban and a laptop screening grooms online. Today while reading those advertisements I came across an ad saying ‘boy looking for a fair, tall and a ‘homely’ girl to marry’. To be honest, it wasn’t the ad that ticked me off but the word ‘homely’ that rattled me.
Why is it that even today women are expected to be ‘homely’? Have the dinner table ready by the time the husband gets home or keep the house clean or learn how to cook from a young age. Why is it that even today a woman is looked down upon when she’s more successful than her husband?
Why is it that a guy has the right to ask a girl about her working hours but a girl should be okay with whatever time she gets from him?
Today women’s equality and women’s development are trending topics of discussion. Ironically, rules change when you decide to get married. All of a sudden a girl should be okay answering questions about her working hours and her commitment to the family, all of a sudden she should be ‘okay’ with everything happening around her because she has to learn to adjust to the new atmosphere. Every relationship needs adjustments, but I don’t remember the last time I heard a man or the so-called ‘in-laws’ adjusting more than a ‘girl’ would or would be expected to. And what’s more, she should be ‘okay’ with that too.
Today I successfully run a couple of start-ups, I’m in the middle of having a patent filed and yet I have a list of things I’m not supposed to talk about to the guy! Now if I reverse the situation where I’m meeting a guy who has, without any help from his father, started a company, is successfully running it and is independent enough to take care of all his needs and his family’s too, should I still question his suitability to be allowed in my family?
Should I get upset when he has to work long hours because of his commitment to his work? Should I get upset that he won’t have time to cook dinner when I get back?
Should I get upset he isn’t standing with a tray in hand when I get back home? I believe I would be expected to just feel ‘lucky’ that I found a guy like that!
All my life I wanted to see my parents proud of me, I worked day in and day out because I wanted to be their ‘son’ (yeah, as hypocritical it may sound, I did live that way). I guess I broke that stereotyped mentality the day my parents proudly said ‘she’s my ‘daughter’ not my ‘son’’; that was the day I experienced ‘luck’ and ‘blessing’ in its true sense. Unfortunately, these days I also see a sense of fear that makes them question themselves if they gave too much freedom by encouraging our (my sister’s and mine) development. A fear that surfaced from the time I came of age. A fear that grew with every achievement that did them proud.
Today when I see an unshed tear in my mother’s eyes when a guy ‘rejects’ me after branding me ‘forward’, it angers me, not because I treat it as a failure but because I know somewhere inside my mother treats it as hers. It angers me when I hear all the unspoken words from my father when he asks me to ‘adjust’ and how every time it breaks his heart when he asks me to ‘change’ a little.
Related reading: ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ – You Need Not Be Ashamed Of Your Desires
I am addressing all those proud parents who brought their daughters up to be strong, sensible, humble and independent young women, here’s what you’re offering when you’re giving your daughter away: a strong value system for their generations to come, a person who doesn’t want to marry the guy for his money (a rarity in today’s world), an entire family to accept them the way they are without pointing out their shortcomings, a lifetime support system willing to adjust and mould herself just to be with them.
And to all those people who thought it was ‘okay’ to have an opinion and brand these girls ‘too independent’ or ‘too forward’, I have one question for you.
WHAT WILL YOU OFFER US?