A couple of days ago, when I entered my favorite online forum, I was puzzled to see a topic headline that said literally: "Women, Don't Get Married!". What is this, I asked myself? I knew many of the ladies who participated in the forum were happily married, others were still in search… needless to say, I was surprised, but decided to see what it really was about.
The author of that topic (a young woman, by the way), started with a description of what – in her opinion – was a typical housewife: a tired, ill-dressed, frustrated, uninteresting woman. Having children, she argued, doesn't leave enough free time so that a woman can take proper care of herself – and that includes daily visits to beauty salons, restaurants and shopping centers (without which, of course, no happiness can exist!). Later, she referred to the well-known TV series "Sex and the City" as her ideal of a carefree, liberated lifestyle that suits a modern woman.
The rest of her arguments went like this –
1. If your career doesn't leave you quality time with your children, what's the point of having children (the assumption career is a top priority wasn't even discussed)?
2. A housewife suffers an inevitable process of mental and intellectual degradation.
3. Knowing only one man – one's husband – limits a woman's horizons. And anyway, since a woman can earn enough money to enjoy the previously mentioned lifestyle, a husband is nowadays useless.
I wasn't planning to enter the discussion at all, because that woman's post seemed so radical, so primitive and shallow, and I thought – why waste my breath? What stopped me from walking by was, sadly, the tremendous amount of positive feedback she received from other surfers ("Bravo!", "Every word is truth", "I just got a divorce and I'm so happy"). The last straw was a comment that said: "A woman should get married while she's young, have a baby, give the baby to her parents or in-laws, develop a career while being supported by her husband, and when he runs out of finances, divorce him. Then she can meet other men, enjoy life, and sometimes spend a vacation with her child. This way, a woman has EVERYTHING!". The forum exploded with cheers.
I decided to post a reply. I wrote about the true values that were going to stay with us for as long as we live, unlike momentary pleasures. I wrote about children, who needed a real, loving family to grow up in. About God's will, who chose to make us, women, loving and compassionate, so we can give love and care to our family. I said that the desire to take without giving anything in return, and objectifying men by looking at them as a source of cash was an insult to a woman's dignity. And good looks, I concluded, would count for nothing when a woman grows old and finds out she's all alone, unloved, unsatisfied, bitter.
The feeble voice of support I received was drowned in waves of replies that accused me of being old-fashioned, idealistic, unintelligent, "desperate to get married" and even "too young to understand what true happiness is about". Others called me to "taste the world's goods" before disregarding them.
This didn't make me angry, but I was bewildered. I went offline, but was left with a lot of questions – how could it happen that grown women, with a supposedly mature point of view, aspire for a lifetime of superficial pleasures, vanity, submitting to their bodies' desires and neglecting spiritual growth? How can a woman be so self-centered, instead of giving love and support to others? How can anybody substitute the true love, companionship and care that can be found in marriage, by simply using other people and moving on? Is this what women truly want?
I hope not. I hope I just came across a group of frustrated women who had unhappy personal lives. I chose not to say that in my opinion, it was them – not the previously mentioned housewives! -who suffered from degradation, emotional and spiritual. That it was them who had a distorted view on womanhood, family and happiness. But it still makes me sad that these days a young woman receives a wave of vehemence when she dares to declare family is her top priority. It is sad that wanting to give unconditional love makes people smirk and say – "you don't know what life is about".
(*Originally published on LAF)