THE WEDDING GUEST II
Last year, I talked about being a wedding guest in this post here, but as the wedding season comes by again, I’ve decided to explore the narrative of being a wedding guest as a “single-of-age” young woman, especially in the Nigerian society.
You’ve heard the conversation time and time again, be it as banter on our Twitter timelines or via funny videos on Instagram, the dreaded annoyingly familiar questions:
“When will you marry?, When would we meet him?, Your own is next, isn’t it?”
Marriage being the subject matter here, is a beautiful thing that I would love to experience someday. However, the keyword is “someday” and not today. The societal pressure on young women to be wives and mothers even before we begin living our lives or discovering who we are as women is a topic that shouldn’t be discussed in hushed tones.
Now the pressure might not be as direct as “you must get married”, but even the gentlest nudge is enough to create an internal countdown with an invisible age clock.
I struggle to reconcile with the idea that marriage is the ultimate end goal for a woman. I’d like to believe that it’s possible for a woman to attain different levels of career success, be completely happy and content with life, without marriage being thrown at her face as a factor of credibility.
The amazing Chimamanda put it simply in her well acclaimed we should all be feminists speech:
“Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life’s choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important”.
Everyday, I dream of a time where the script will be flipped, imagine the same pressure put on young women to find the perfect partner in due time was channeled into encouraging them to find themselves, set goals and aspirations. Just imagine the wave of culture it would inspire. I particularly love this post by Fisayo Longe called “No Expiry Date”, where the importance of letting young women enjoy life at their own pace was highlighted a great deal.
I’m at that age where a good number of my friends are tying the knot and I’ve never been happier. Being able to celebrate love in all forms is what I’m here for, all I ask is that I do it in peace. I’d like to enjoy the sweet sound of fuji music while dancing to the floor without someone asking me “when will we come for yours?” You’ll come when you come. Next!
It’s unfortunate that as a society that should be empowering women to be everything we can be, new ways are found to belittle our achievements and make them secondary to finding a husband. It also worries me that no one bothers to ask if this is what we want. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I want to be a wife or that because I’m able to biologically, I should aspire to be a mother to children. These are discussions we should be open to having and not shamed to silence.
We’re made for way more and I believe if left to experience life, discover ourselves, take more risks and be more daring, without being reminded of how important it is to achieve certain milestones by a certain age, our capabilities would be endless.
I’d love for us to continue this conversation in the comment section below, in what ways have you been pressured to aspire to societal expectations and how have you coped it with it? Let’s talk! <3
Till next time,