How singlehood has finally emerged as the new cool for women
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao, writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section/
Veteran Actor Asha Parekh has revealed that she chose to stay single because she was completely put off by the “whole premise of marriage.” In an interview with Verve Magazine, the 77-year-old actor who has starred in superhit films like Kati Patang, Caravan, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Aya Sawan Jhoom Ke and Teesri Manzil said, “Marriage is not all rainbows and butterflies; you have to give in to your partner’s whims every now and then, and that’s a two-way street.” Last month, British actor Emma Watson was also in news for saying that she was happily “self-partnered.” These two women, separated by decades, but very much enjoying their singlehood, are the poster girls of a new era for women, where being single is finally seen as a better option than being stuck in an unhappy life-long marriage, out of social pressure. At the top of her game, Parekh surely may have had many suitors in her youth, and even if you are a superstar the pressure to “settle down” always finds its way to a woman. But even in the seventies, Parekh saw through the gig of marriage, just like many women have begun to now. Our patriarchal society sells us this lure of a happy marriage, a perfect fairytale ending. It conditions girls into believing that marriage is the only possible way we can have a happy and secure life. It prepares us for some of the adjustments that’ll come our way in the name of gendered duty, all the while conveniently managing not to mention those factors that may act as deterrents to our intent to marry.
No one tells us that marriage is just one of the many possible options by which we can choose to live our lives. No one mentions that it is possible for women to have fulfilling lives sans having a husband or a child by their life. That it is okay to wait for the right person and right time, even if it means forgoing the right age. And that if you never find the person or time that suits your sensibilities, it is wiser to stay single than enter an alliance which is riddled with such compromises that it is bound to make you unhappy.
But finally, women have called out the patriarchal ploy to get them settled down. They don’t think of being single as a dreary and pathetic prospect, infact it is just the opposite. A single woman is no longer a subject of sympathy. She is a symbol of women’s agency; their right to live their lives on their terms.
With “self-partnering”, spinsterhood or sologamy, women have finally broken the stereotyping of their kind as a tragic and unhappy lot, meant to be looked at with concern and pity. No thanks, she doesn’t need you to worry about her future, or her biological clock, or how she has aged rapidly because she is still single. And she doesn’t care if you think she is unhappy, frustrated or self-centred, because she isn’t.
She is simply a woman who has prioritised herself and her happiness over social stigma.