Baity Almandily | Why Marriage Is a Matter of Choice
Have you attended a family gathering or a reunion and the only question that people asked was “Who are you dating now?” or “When are you getting married?” Yup! The same question that we as a woman always get asked over and over again. But, you’re not alone! In fact, women in Indonesia face enormous pressure from both their parents and society to marry young. There is this stigma, if they are not married by the age of 30, they are labeled as “Perawan Tua.” But really, is there a certain age when a woman should get married?
Baity Almandily, the 30 years old English Lecturer, has decided to stand up to break the rule and won’t let pressure dictate her future. In her interview, she has bravely raised her opinion that marriage is a matter of choice. Let’s dig into the interview!
We know being 30 is not easy, especially when you are still single. What kind of stigma or judgment have you received from people around you?
I’m turning 30 this year, and I have two choices; getting married or continuing my study. I chose the latter, Because of that, everyone in my circle questioned my decision and gave their personal opinion. In short, I was being pressured. Stereotypically, people still think that women with a higher degree & achievement will have difficulty finding a partner because a man will feel inferior. So, you see, an educated woman will always be seen as superior, and that’s not entirely true! It depends on each individual and how she interacts with her future husband.
How do you feel when you receive those judgments? We know some of them sometimes are so mean to you...
I know how they think about me, but I don’t think that much! I have my own expectations, have my own goals, and they don’t have the right to give any expectations to me because I’m the one who drives in the front seat of my life. Besides, single or married, there will always be people who judge you no matter what. So, there’s no difference. Both have their own pains & struggles! But gladly, I found another inner circle that suits me best.
It’s a good thing that you finally found people that support you. Besides that, is there anything else that you do to overcome their judgment?
I’m trying to make friends with myself to overcome all of that and focus on my self-growth. Because no matter what happens, I have to grow for my own well-being before caring about people’s judgment. Everyone has their own timeline and we have a choice whether we want to start a family or focus on our careers.
We live in a very judgmental society. Why do you think people still judge a woman who is not married at the age of 30?
In a social construction, they only focus on gender and sexuality from a biological perspective. When we talk about reproduction, yes.. A woman has a certain ideal period for childbirth. But women may choose not to bear children but still want to get married. So, it depends on their mindset. In the end, women should be given a choice!
Some women's dreams are becoming financially independent and carving out a bigger role in society than being only someone’s wife, while others enjoy the role of being a mother. This month, it's time to appreciate every woman's decision & choice.
Everyone has their own struggle. Let's be kind by not giving judgment to our close ones. Watch and share this #whatsHERstory video on social media to support each other.