Marriage is a widely accepted social norm the world over, with millions of couples getting married every year.
Regardless of its internationally recognized positive connotation, it might come off as an irritating topic of discussion to some people.
While tying the knot is optional in most countries, it is often regarded as a requirement in more conservative countries, the Arab world included. For Arab women, specifically, marriage is an obligatory milestone, one that in many cases may require setting all goals and dreams aside.
According to UNICEF, 1 out of 5 girls in the MENA region are married before they reach the age of 18. Marriage is something that's pressured onto Arab youths, especially women; and if they dare disobey, the backlash is immediate.
Here are 10 reasons why society pressures young women into marrying, and why such myths have to be busted - and quick!
1. So she can start a family
A young woman in her 20's is still completing her education or launching her career. Even better, a young woman in her 20's is still evolving as an independent person from her parental guards.
Starting a family before experiencing life and all the mistakes you ought to make should not be an imposed requirement to bear so early on in life.
2. So she can have a secure future
A woman can secure her future through quality education, a prosperous career, and productive relationships.
Should anyone throw all that away for a chance of a hasty unhealthy marriage? I see no security and stability in such decisions if you ask me.
3. "It's the way of life"
Marriage can represent an honest connection between two individuals through which they can lead a fuller and happier life. But it can also result in an unproductive and destructive relationship.
Therefore, I conclude that marriage should not happen because it's a "necessary" part of the cycle of life, but because it's desired.
I shall call this "the power of choice."
4. "If you wait till you're older you wont find a husband"
Marriage doesn't have an optimum timing to happen; it shouldn't be dictated by a time span. If anything, it should be done consciously.
Most women need at least 20 to 30 minutes to pick an outfit a day; that's an average of 2-3 hours a week. You honestly believe choosing a life partner would be any easier?
5. "But what else are you gonna do if you don't get married?"
There is so much a woman can do in the world; the possibilities are endless.
*sprinkles magic dust*
I mean besides working, getting a proper education, discovering your talents, traveling the world, and meeting new people, what could you possibly do instead of getting married? One can wonder for ages without finding an answer.
6. So you can be a mother
Again, we do realize how marvelous it is to be a mother and have children.
But it's not for everyone and some women - believe it or not - do not want to have children, and they shouldn't be shamed for it!
Besides, there are way too many of us on this Earth as it is.
7. "They'll think something's wrong with you"
What society thinks of you as a person is highly revered in any Arab country, even if their opinions are completely judgmental and invasive of your privacy.
It's totally logical for people to think abstaining from marriage for some time means there is something physically or mentally wrong with you.
What others around you think weighs more than a decision that would shape the rest of your life, right? WRONG!!!
8. "All your friends are getting married"
It's not a trend to catch up on. Thank you for your valuable advice though.
9. So, your parents can be reassured regarding your future
A majority of Arab parents have it in mind that a young woman is finally safe and sound once she has a husband. They are less fearful regarding the uncertainties she might face later on in life.
How else would a "fragile" woman secure her future other than in the loving arms of a man she barely knows?
Hint: Being confident, financially independent, well surrounded, and educated. These are just *some* suggestions.
10. "But he's the perfect husband!"
The definition of a perfect husband in many Arab countries usually means a man with a stable job, a house for himself, and a car.
Did anyone mention kind-hearted, caring, loving, and selfless? No? Fine, I'll just find myself a rich man who can *buy* me all the respect and attention I need.
On a less sarcastic, more serious note, it's high time we stop embarrassing ourselves with such archaic notions and evolve past the obligations that do not put the rights of women first.