The creation of woman birthed from the rib of man, has instilled within her a sense of softness and gentleness. Despite these innate qualities, she is constantly subjected to the pressures of societal and cultural expectations. These pressures often neglect her dreams and aspirations, instead forcing her to devote herself to laboriously fulfilling the wishes and aspirations of others. From a young age, women are taught to prioritize the needs of others above their own, further emphasizing the societal belief that their purpose is to serve and cater to the desires of others. This cultural pressure can suffocate the potential and individuality of women, hindering their personal growth and self-actualization. It is a cycle that perpetuates the subservience of women, robbing them of the opportunity to manifest their true desires and ambitions. It is time for society to recognize and celebrate the strength and individuality of women, freeing them from oppressive expectations and allowing them to carve their paths in life.
The pressure to get married is just one example of the many societal and cultural norms that women are subjected to every day. The pressure on women to get married begins long before they are even ready for marriage. From a young age, girls are constantly reminded that they must find a suitable spouse and settle down as soon as possible. But it’s not just their desires that they must consider. The expectations and opinions of their family and relatives also play a huge role in the decision to get married. Often, the family of a girl is blitzed with questions, comments, and even criticism from their neighbours and extended family members about when their daughter will get married. This creates a sense of urgency and anxiety within the family, who then passes this pressure onto the girl. As a result, many women find themselves feeling trapped and obligated to fulfil this societal expectation, regardless of their readiness and desires. The idea of marriage has been romanticized and celebrated for centuries, yet it remains a harsh reality for many young girls and their families. The tradition of displaying the girl for potential suitors to scrutinize and reject is still prevalent. This dehumanizing practice reduces a girl to an item up for sale, subject to the whims and preferences of the buyers. It can be emotionally and psychologically devastating for the girl who is constantly rejected based on trivial reasons such as her skin tone, personality, or even her family’s economic status. The constant fear of rejection and the pressure to conform to social standards take a toll on these girls, breaking them down mentally and emotionally. Sadly, these girls are forced to endure this humiliating process until they are deemed acceptable by someone, often on conditional terms. It is a heartbreaking reality that highlights the unequal power dynamics and limited autonomy that many girls face when it comes to marriage. It is supposed to be a joyous occasion, a union of two souls who choose to spend their lives together. However, for many women, the promise of happiness slowly fades away once they enter their new family. The pressure and harassment from their in-laws become a dark cloud looming over them, slowly suffocating any sense of joy.
“With unwavering grit and resilience, women have always found the courage to uproot themselves from situations that no longer serve them, and bravely plant themselves in new territories where they can thrive. Despite the pain of leaving behind the familiar and facing uncertainty, they choose to turn towards the sun and nurture their wounded hearts in a new light. It takes immense strength to let go of what once was and embrace the unknown with open arms. But these women, they do so with determination and grace, paving the way for a brighter future for themselves and those around them.”
Countless incidents have been reported of women who have become victims of violent and abusive behaviour from their in-laws, with some even losing their lives. It’s a harrowing reality for many women, who are often targeted for reasons as trivial as not bringing enough dowry or not being able to conceive a child. In many cases, women are treated as nothing more than labourers, expected to fulfill any and every demand of their in-laws without showing any signs of exhaustion. It’s an emotionally and physically exhausting reality, one that robs these women of their agency and dignity. As a society, we often overlook the immense sacrifice that comes with motherhood. The role of a mother is a challenging one, requiring countless sleepless nights, endless selfless acts, and unconditional love. Yet, when it comes to raising children, a mother’s dreams and ambitions can often be put on hold, if not completely lost. Whether she has the support of family or not, a mother’s main focus becomes the well-being and development of her children. The sacrifices she makes in this journey are immeasurable, and yet, they are not always recognized or appreciated. But despite the challenges and setbacks, mothers persevere with unwavering strength and determination. They are the heart and soul of the family, and they deserve to be celebrated and honoured for their selfless devotion to their children. With unwavering grit and resilience, women have always found the courage to uproot themselves from situations that no longer serve them, and bravely plant themselves in new territories where they can thrive. Despite the pain of leaving behind the familiar and facing uncertainty, they choose to turn towards the sun and nurture their wounded hearts in a new light. It takes immense strength to let go of what once was and embrace the unknown with open arms. But these women, they do so with determination and grace, paving the way for a brighter future for themselves and those around them. Their actions inspire us all to trust in our abilities and take bold leaps towards growth and fulfillment. Here’s to the women who refuse to be held back by their past, and instead, choose to bloom beautifully in the face of change. We raise our glasses to their courage, resilience, and unwavering spirit. Cheers to the women who never give up on themselves” It’s time for us to break free from these narrow expectations and allow women the freedom to choose their paths in life without feeling judged or pressured. It’s time for society to take a stand and put an end to this toxic behaviour towards women in the name of tradition and expectations.
(The author is a Research Scholar in the Department of Education University of Kashmir. .The views, opinions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the author and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)