By Motlagae Konyana
Most women grow up dreaming about the big day, the white dress with the Cinderella shoes, the beautiful, blossoming bouquet and, of course, the person at the end of the aisle. Women grow up with this fairytale, way into their adult life but what was once an idyllic dream eventually turns sour because of the pressures of the society. As society has laid out the structure for us, go to school, go to varsity, get a job, get married and have children, it’s difficult for those who deviate from the structure – “the norm”. As they are then seen as women that are not whole, and make women feel incomplete. Society also puts a time frame to this structural way of life. By the age of 30 a woman one should have ticked all the boxes and have the white picked fence, a family and a husband.
Here are some of the societal pressures women who are 30 are faced with:
1) You should have a great Job with a chance of a promotion
2) You should have made or making enough money to afford childcare so that you can keep on working post-baby
3) Have someone to have baby with – someone to parent with
4) You should have figured out if you to be a parent – and if not there must be something wrong with you because you are not following the societal structures that are laid out for you
5) You should have fulfilled all your big dreams that can’t be done because one you have kids and bondit can get difficult to fullfill your major dreams.
Women face a societal pressure of having it all by the age of 30 because society expects you to get married and to do so before the age of 30. This belief system – “Structure” puts significant pressure on couples and creating “the marriage trap”. This belief also makes you believe that you are not enough if you don’t have a man, making women panic as they are nearing the age of 30.
Yes – Doctors do recommend that women should have children at an earlier stage in life but that shouldn’t put women under pressure to have a family.
Social media has also added to the pressures and expectation to be married and have kids. Looking at family Instagram images can make anyone want to be married and have that perfect family for those Instagram optics. Fomo much?
Some women may not be married and others might be married – while others don’t want to be married. The structure set before us all is flawed because our paths are not the same.
Moreover marriage is a big responsibility and brings a lot of changes to one’s life. In my view, people should marry when they think they are ready and not because all of their friends are getting married or their parents want them to get married and, specially, not merely because of their age and societal pressures.