I put up a post on Facebook a few days ago challenging society against putting pressure on women to get married. It took me a while to consider even writing that, because I knew it could be easily taken out of context. However, I also felt in my heart that I needed to speak up. Being the self-proclaimed older sister (got chu fam!), I had to say something for those who couldn’t speak up themselves.
I am 27 years old, which means I have 3 years to go before I hit the big THREE ZERO. What that means to me is that I have so much time to fulfill my dreams! The world is my oyster, and everyday I wake up with new ideas to create and inspire. What that means to many others though is:
- I need to have babies before 30, which means pregnant by 29.
- I need to have at least 2 years to settle in my marriage without kids, which means, marriage by 27.
- I need to have a year gap between marriage and engagement, which means, engagement by 26.
To them, I am a year past my expiration date. And the pats on the shoulder and mournful eyebrows start coming. “I am worried about you!” “You really need to start thinking about settling down.”
They mean well, but how can they have it so wrong? I absolutely LOVE my life right now. I’m not saying I’m not ready to settle down, nor am I saying I want to. I am saying with what I have accomplished, with who I have in my life, with all the drive I still have in me- a year past my “expiration date” doesn’t even make sense. Marriage is not the end all and be all of my purpose in life.
Men’s prime age is defined as “when they have achieved a good career” (54%) while women “when they are most physically attractive” (59%) across respondents.
-SKII expiration date survey
Is the happiness of a woman soley dependent on her ability to find a husband and make a family? Why are single men encouraged to succeed in their careers while single women are encouraged to take it slow and have a family? Shouldn’t we be the most equipped to determine our own deadline based on our physical, financial, emotional and spiritual capacity?
Among single men and women, 45% of women feel pressured to get married as compared to only 28% of men.
This is more pronounced in China and Japan where in China more than 6 out of 10 single Chinese women under 30 and 7 out of 10 Japanese women under 30 feel that finding a suitable partner for marriage is their biggest cause for concern about getting older.
So many of my friends are feeling social anxiety because of this pressure. The judgment and expectations of others make them feel inadequate and most horrifying of all, unhappy- no matter how successful they are. They don’t want to go out anymore. They don’t want to excel anymore. They feel unwanted and undesirable- even when they’re absolutely beautiful.
We live in a world where we are made to fit in a mold- even if that mold is old and broken. We live in a world where even when we’re contented, we’re told we shouldn’t be. Even when we’re happy, we’re told we’re not quite.
Let’s start the conversation and challenge the norms. Encourage each other to marry on our own terms- because we want to, and not because we have to. To live our own lives, as best we can, and not feel the need to judge lives different from ours. Take a stand, and be proud of it!