While discussing the stigma of being single on Meghan Markle’s podcast, Archetypes, Mindy Kaling said: “When you’re a certain age and you’re a single woman, and if you go to a party, it bums people out.” An unexpected laugh leaped out, not at the absurdity but at the bluntness of the reality.
In a society where marriage is imposed on women almost as a service sector job or rather unpaid volunteer work, it's not surprising that consciously choosing to be single brings in its share of discomfort and calls for the panic button.
A recent survey by Bumble of 2000 Indian women revealed that 81% of women surveyed in India are more comfortable being single and on their own. In fact, 83% of women surveyed claim they are happy to wait until they meet someone they want to be with.
Last month, about 32 lakh weddings were said to have taken place in India. This also means a considerable number of single women have had to take deep breaths and dodge the unchanging questions on marriage that have become utterly boring and tiring. Among the single women surveyed, 39% said they feel pressured when asked about their marriage plans and when families impose traditional matchmaking during the wedding season.
Society and pop culture shoving down the idea of romantic love as the pinnacle of women’s existence makes singlehood a matter of shame that needs to be dealt with quickly, aided by the loyal threats of ‘what will people say’. However, more women are consciously choosing to be single and unwilling to bow down to the age-old toxic advice of ‘compromise’.
Recent dating trends surveyed by Bumble and QuackQuack showed a significant shift toward people being more thoughtful about their emotional needs and boundaries and putting themselves first. As men seem to be understanding modern masculinity, more women are rejecting societal expectations regarding marriage.
In an interview in 2019, when British actor, Emma Watson said she is “self-partnered”, many single women who had also consciously chosen to be single, vigorously nodded along and took to the Internet to celebrate the word, the idea, and the choice.
For many women, being single is about having the freedom of choice, of living their life on their terms, of having the space and time to focus on their ambitions and desires, and not being willing to get into sexist relationships where men are looking for someone to mother them. This is everything that a society built on patriarchal mindsets is terrified of, so they won’t make it easy.
But women have been through four waves of feminism to get to where they are today, so easy was never really an option. Nonetheless, here are some tips to rattle the people with unsolicited questions that might come your way at social events. If people bring you anxiety, you give back discomfort.