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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Culture Box: Leave us alone!


The Scene
Stabroek News

Is there a prescribed age by which a woman must be wed? And is there a prescribed age by when she has to have children?

If there is, would someone please say what age that is and who prescribed it?

Where did those questions come from? Well I am forced to ask the questions because I am tired of being told, "You wasting time." It appears that I am committing some cardinal sin because I am unmarried, have, as we say in Guyana, "neither chick nor child" and I am over 25.

People who, I guess, feel they have my best interests at heart, have taken it upon themselves to advise me to "start a family."

I guess all of this pressure comes from the way society sees things; a woman of a certain age should be hitched and pushing a baby carriage, though not necessarily in that order these days. Some folks are willing to overlook the hitching once a woman can show she is not barren. What an ugly word!

But I have been told this over and over again until my ears hurt.

Just recently, one 'gentleman' very kindly told me that I don't have to be married to have children, when he asked the question and I reminded him that I am not married.

"That system is outdated," he said, warning that a woman having her first child at any age over 30, faced all sorts of dire consequences.

Thanks bro, but you did not scare me. Nor have you made my biological clock tick any faster. As a matter of fact I think what you said is utter crap, but that is just my opinion.

Though there are a few who advise me to ignore the many negative sentiments expressed about my unmarried status and the fact that I have no children. But I would be dishonest if I said the comments don't get to me from time to time. That's putting it mildly: they make me very angry. And I sometimes also stupidly question whether I may be wrong, but then I would sensibly remind myself that I am the captain of my life and should be the only one piloting the course.

But what angers me more is the fact that no one considers that some women, like men, don't want to be married or to have children.

Why is quite alright for a man to remain unmarried for as long as he likes and also not have children without any pressure being exerted on him?

Would it be such a terrible thing if a woman dated for the rest of her life? What about if I don't want a man to take up every aspect of my life as has happen in many marriages?

While none of the above statements are true about me, the fact is I don't feel ready to be married with children. Don't I have a right to choose when and if it happens?

Another aspect that no one seems to take into consideration is that many of us - male and female -- are financially ill-equipped to start a family.

So should we bring children into the world to starve them? Are there not enough of those already?

There are many reasons why a woman may not want to be married and have children and I think it is wrong for society to exert pressure on us to go in those directions.

Allow us to decide when and if we want to do those things. I know so many women who regret having gotten in "the family's way" too soon. At some stage in their lives they feel cheated as they were unable to do some of the things their peers did.

Many of my schoolmates have as many as four children and I can tell you I don't envy them one bit. Don't get me wrong, I adore children and I feel one day I would make a wonderful mother, but please allow me to decide when I am ready.

Leave us single, motherless and fatherless people alone.

Allow us to live our lives they way we choose. I am sure none of us ever told you that you have too many children or that you married too early.

We congratulate you and wish you well, so leave us alone. Please!


Posted by jebratt :: Saturday, April 08, 2006 :: 0 comments

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