The “You’re next” syndrome
People in India go through what’s called a “You’re next” syndrome, where at most events they attend, they are told they are the ones next in line to get married, have a baby, or perform their child’s wedding.
As much as it sounds like a joke, it is true. There is this big emphasis on pleasing what society expects of you over your own happiness. And this happens more to women than men. As medieval as it sounds, women are oppressed in many ways, to this day. And I’m not talking about the well-known kind of oppression like not having the right to education or work, or being a victim of child marriage. Because MOST societal groups here in India are past that. They understand the importance of education for children and they honor it (for the most part). But a lot of parents don’t really care about their daughters’ education as much as their sons’. Because a daughter is anyway going to get married and reproduce. So it doesn’t matter. This makes educating their daughters, again, something they HAVE to do, by law and by societal standards, so they just work to honor that. But it doesn’t really carry any importance to them.
A friend of mine was once told by her mother, to finish studying “whatever she wants to study” by the age of 25, so she can be married “off”. Because the mother has an obligation in her life to fulfill, i.e. get her daughter married, so she can live peacefully. How on earth can a parent put a deadline on their child’s education is beyond my understanding. A child that they are supposed to love and nurture should NOT be expected to fit their little bubble of expectations and aspirations.
And once, at a wedding, a girl was constantly asked about her age so people could know if she was ready to be married. But only a few seemed to care about the Ivy league she got into.
Where did the notion that being married is the ultimate happiness one can achieve, come from? Is everyone that is married, happy? I don’t even need statistics to prove that they’re not. You can see it all around you. Parents who are in an unhappy marriage themselves, force their kids to get in one as well. Creating a cycle of suffering. That’s the power of society telling you what to do. Free will is a joke!
And this kind of brainwashing is done from a very young age. I once heard an 11-year-old boy say (funnily) that he needs to get “settled” by 25. Why on earth is an 11-year-old even thinking about marriage, when he should be thinking about games and his studies? Parents need to be cautious about what they talk to their children.
Women are not commodities that are traded between families. The bride’s father should NOT be expected to bear the expenses of the wedding. The woman should NOT be expected to play by the “rules and regulations” of the boy’s family after the wedding. Parents should NOT worry about saving money for their daughter’s extravagant wedding over their child’s education. These are some of the simplest things that no one seems to understand. We have become the most progressive yet regressive people to ever exist.
All this goes to show that we, as Indians, need to re-think our values and reconsider what we think is “accepted”. Next time you see a young girl or boy, maybe don’t ask or joke with them about their wedding plans. It goes a long way for them to not be asked that. Parents need to understand that they are not in any kind of obligation to marry off their kids. Children are more than capable to decide for themselves. The only thing a parent needs to worry about is instilling the right value in their kids, so the kid can make good decisions, for themselves.