I have reached an age where my friends are starting to get engaged, some of them even have one or two kids. I have reached an age where other people start expecting certain things from me.
Whenever I open my Facebook or Instagram news feeds, all I can see are pictures of hands with gorgeous diamond rings, and everyone is so thrilled by the news that the comments sections keep refreshing by the minute. As I observe the reactions towards this, I begin wondering why there are so few pictures posted online about promotions at work, or other huge life milestones like buying a first home or graduating from a Master’s Degree?
Why it is that getting married and having kids are still considered to be the epitomes of success for women?
Are they accomplishments? Yes.
Are they the only accomplishment worth celebrating? Definitely not.
Whenever I catch up with old friends or people I haven’t seen for a while, it seems the only relevant question to ask me is when I am tying the knot. Does the same thing happens to my brother or my boyfriend? I am pretty sure it doesn’t, at least not this often.
It seems outrageous to me that given the time we live in, getting married is still more respected than any other professional, academic or entrepreneurial achievement for women. For the record, I am not undermining the idea of marriage – it is a beautiful commitment. I am simply stressing how important it is to celebrate other accomplishments as well.
I can see why this was once considered the milestone in life, since not so long ago this was all women were allowed to aspire to. Let’s be frank, though, this changed many years ago and yet we are still defined above all else as someone’s wife, mother or girlfriend.
I want to be able to share and celebrate my job promotion, my future master’s degree, the launch of my own business, and the amazing trips I plan to make with my friends and loved ones. I want these milestones to be received with the same enthusiasm and acknowledgment as an engagement announcement.
The marriage pressure women are under is still huge, and it has got to stop. Specially in Mexico – an often sexist country – it is still hard to believe a woman can be full or truly happy without a man.
I want to stress how important this is. It is important for all of us who have ever felt there is something wrong with us if we are single, and for all of us who have worried that it’s strange to feel truly happy and blessed without being in a relationship. It’s important for all of us who have been in an abusive relationship but were too scared to walk away due to social stigma, and for all women who feel attracted to other women but cannot say so because society works so hard to make us think that the best answer is always having a man by our side.
It’s okay if you are single, it’s okay if you don’t want to have children, it’s okay to live your life in any way that makes you happy. It’s ok to live life on your own terms. Go and do what you love, there is no such thing as a ticking clock. Let’s work together to change this perception and help society move towards being more equal.
I encourage you to share this thought with the women in your life and discuss it with them.