I’ve always been of the opinion that women should have the free will to exercise their rights and be as they please. I feel that the Pakistani (desi) society puts too much pressure on us women to be a certain way and act a certain way. Why is it a woman’s responsibility to follow social norms and be the way others want her to be? Nobody has the right to make anyone feel that way, absolutely no one can force you practice something you don’t believe in.
The irony of the matter is that although I’ve constantly spoken/written about social issues and how inequality on emotional/physical level gets in the way of women in this society, I myself have gotten tangled in it. I’m not saying it’s unpleasant to be married, it’s a wonderful transition, but the laws and unwritten, unsaid bylaws that come attached to it are heavy, and I’m afraid that if you’re not prepared to accept them and (sacrifice) literally sacrifice all your free will, you shouldn’t even consider the idea of marriage.
It can get suffocating to say the least. You shouldn’t be expected to follow another set of religious beliefs and leave the ones you’ve had for the past twenty something years. Although, no one ever says that you have to leave your prior religious beliefs it is implied that you have to carry them forth in the family and extended family gatherings. It’s just a confusing and sad state to be in. It also tends to take a toll on your health at times because you probably didn’t expect any of this and were extremely misinformed by your kith and kin.
You were probably one of those laid back easy going women who had her life chalked out, you were excelling academically, you had a job, and wanted to pursue it later on. You had no intentions of settling down, but your father or mother emotionally blackmailed your vulnerable confused fresh out college self into getting committed by saying “shaadi k baad ker lena” (Do everything you’ve ever wanted after marriage). That my friends is a huge lie in your face and never ever fall for that. You were so messed up and confused in the head that you actually believed that you were weak and fragile enough to settle down for less and depend on someone for the rest of your life. As soon as you’re married, you’re going to be pestered about when you’re going to have children. Things will keep getting more and more messed up. Before you get engaged or married, please make sure the person involved in the whole process hasn’t lied to you about the boy/girl or their families and mindsets, because believe me, going into a different mindset can be painful and upsetting on both ends. You can’t live liberally in a conservative mindset, and don’t expect these partriarchal societal norms to change for one mere woman, they won’t. A woman in this society is just made to be objectified or made the target of the entire family’s mockery/grudgery if she doesn’t match up to their closeminded standards of chastity (read sharafat). If she even sneezes like a man or God forbid has opinions like a man she has no place in a family like that, and of course, the whole stigma of divorce lingers on in minds and lives carry on, unhappy and discontent…