Recently, I have had a discussion with my colleague about being 30 years old. It’s difficult for a female reaching 30 but not having a family. Or a kid for that matter. She shared that she has a group of female friends being in the same situation. None of them have a serious relationship, not even a fling to casually hang out. And none has a kid either. They have been thinking about saving money for rainy days. This also includes setting aside money to freeze their eggs if they remain single by the time they are 30.
This is an actual concern of Asian women reaching the 30 years old mark. We are considered “left-over” women of society. There is potentially nothing wrong about us (I would hope) except that we are not taken, having a beautiful family somewhere with a husband and 2 kids.
It seems that wherever it is in the world, women are pretty much defined by having a family and kids. It is not just in the East, Western countries are plagued by this perception, despite being more relaxed about how old a woman should marry or have kids. However, ultimately, people will still ask us “When are you getting married?”
Imagining a family gathering during holiday. The first question is always whether one has a relationship. The second will be when we are getting married. And subsequently, when is the first kid coming out. If you think that is the end when you have already answers to above questions, the next one will bombard with the potential to have 2nd kid. It’s hardly that one is curious about professional career. Even if there is one, the question seem shallow and not properly follow up.
So many people have raved about “oh you don’t know how it feels like once you have one”. Of course, one cannot know. But I cannot know the liberating feeling of being an individual in the world, surrounded by things I love, without having to worry about another living body waiting to be fed at home.
But this piece is not about criticizing having kids. It is to challenge the very essence of world perception of women being incomplete without being married and having kids. Probably, only few men have been asked if they are going to be handsome groom one day with 2 kids on the way. Scandinavian countries have been rather forthcoming with the equalization of man and woman. They are more progressive in giving acceptance to women in achieving career success while not pressurizing too much about personal choices.
But I am an Asian, living in an Asian country. It is hard to not escape and break away from the mold of what is expected in the society. Would Magareth Thatcher be able to achieve her position in politics if her parents and everyone surround asking when is she gonna get married. Many of the great women in society has to complete that task of getting married first before being able to substantially achieve career success. Can there be a world dictator who is a woman? Do women have that dream big enough to weed out all the men along the way? It seems that even in this modern age, there are still so many headlines of “The first woman to…” No doubt, it is an achievement nonetheless in equalizing the playground between men and women. and yet it feels that the society still condescends over women that it has to celebrate and glorify those achievement.
I am entirely not a feminist. I believe in each gender is born with a gift so one must use it to their advantage. If I want to achieve the things that men have, I would be a man anyway. That is why all the strong women figures always been criticized for being tough and a bitch. It is the fault of biology that women are born with more emotional grasp and an uterus in a paternal world. Probably I would thrive back in time where matriarch was in style.