So you’ve completed an impressive degree, got work experience that makes your graduate CV glow and have landed a great starter job that has the most incredible prospects. When it comes to life, you’re totally winning. At least that’s what you think.
The pressure that is placed on Asians to find a suitable husband/wife from an early age is ridiculous. It’s also quite conflicting. In Asian culture having a boyfriend or girlfriend can result in so much hassle with family and people in the wider community deeming it unacceptable. Yet there’s an urgency to get married relatively young as well. It’s such a fine balance and the reality is it takes time to establish a meaningful relationship with someone. However even this has an age limit and if you find yourself over that threshold and single, then you could be in for some harsh judgement.
To me, I think this is outdated and has no logic, but to the older generation it’s a matter of being able to hold their head up in public or being badgered with questions that can be embarrassing. It’s such an archaic idea and yet it is still allowed to foster and thrive in some families within this day and age.
I remember my extended family saying that as soon as I graduate, I need to think about finding a husband and settling down. What about establishing a career, enjoying work and being able to do all the things I’ve ever wanted to do?
Women have long advocated for the right to work and break away from the role of a housewife – so why on earth would you want to take ten steps back?
Despite having the freedom to do as we please, the Asian mentality hasn’t caught up with time. The idea of family is still at the heart of many East and West Asian cultures, and that is absolutely fine – it’s just not the be all and end all of what it means to be a woman.
I’ve had people use religion as a way to try and dupe me into thinking of finding a husband, which is quite sad. I see so many girls in their early twenties getting married without having really tasted life and if this is what they want then that’s absolutely fine, but what’s not okay is the judgement girls who have other priorities get for not conforming to this cultural rule.
To an extent I can understand why my parents want me to get married. They’re concerned about me going through life alone and want to ensure that I have someone by my side.
I can appreciate this sentiment and completely understand. However in some Asian families the pressure to get married and have children isn’t for stability in later life, it’s to appease expectations from the wider community. It’s to conform to what a particular religious verse says. It’s for everyone else except themselves and that’s not okay.
Parents need to realise they are raising a completely different generation – particularly where girls are concerned. They’re not growing up in a world where they are expected to learn how to cook and clean by the time they’re 10. They are encouraged to get an education and go out into the big wide world and work. This is how it should be.
I’m lucky that my parents understand that I’m a different breed from girls that grew up in their generation. I still have my core values at heart but I also have other dreams and desires that I want to work towards.
There is no doubt this is the reality for a number of Asian girls worldwide and attitudes have to change. We’ve come leaps and bounds away from the rigidity of the past and it’s time we realise that the home isn’t and shouldn’t be the only place women can make their mark.