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It’s Hard to Be a Single Lady in India

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All the single ladies, put your hands up.

Unless you are from India.

While women choosing to fly solo are ostracized everywhere, those from India are looked down upon even more. If they are not married with children by their 20s, they have failed, according to the BBC article linked above. As children, most Indian women are taught that they need to find the “right” partner and marry into a nice family, even if the marriage is arranged. Imagine a world that revolves around one thing; becoming a good wife, daughter-in-law, and mother. Nothing. Else. Matters.

It is expected that these women are well-educated, become successful business women, and have a “pretty face”. But at the end of the day, these epitomes are put to the side for the “right” guy.

(The “right” guy doesn’t exist, by the way.)

India has a skewed view of women finding the “right” guy. Women don’t need to find the guy they are meant for, that is the guy’s calling. India’s definition of “right” is a guy who they think suits their daughter even if the daughter and guy have never met. In fact, the “right” guy might be the wrong guy for her. He may beat, sexualize, and abuse her into submission. What father and mother would want that for their daughter? If the daughter and guy have met, how can it be love if it is arranged? There is no love in that equation. Yes, she may grow to love the “right” guy but he will not be her right guy; the one she knew she needed to wait for but didn’t have the chance to.

Some will argue that arranged marriages are advantageous to women. Others make the point that I have a Western bias. I am arguing for women’s autonomy, not arranged marriage versus romantic marriage. If a woman chooses to enter an arranged marriage, that’s her decision. Not having a choice in the matter is the problem. What if she wants to be single?

Single does not mean you live any less of a normal lifestyle than married people. And for all those Indian parents who support their daughter’s decision to stay true to herself, cheers! Pressure from relatives and self-doubt are heavy burdens to carry. But not settling for the “right” guy is a blessing.

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