Did you miss me?
It’s been a while since my last post… Lots has been happening, lots of changes and developments.
The biggest new development is: I am now engaged to the aforementioned lovely gamer geek boyfriend of mine!!
Very excited, very happy, very interested at the overall reactions from people. Lots of congratulations and celebrations, but some very unnerving responses too – and it’s made me realize how much things have changed since my parents or grandparents were my age… It used to be that a young woman was expected to be betrothed before her twentieth birthday. Twenty-two and unmarried was dreadfully embarrassing, such a shame to the family, blah blah blah patriarchy patriarchy patriarchy etc.
Nowadays young women in this society have so many more freedoms. As a young, Western woman I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to have been raised in the environment I was raised in – I was sent to school, I was encouraged to continue on in higher education, I can apply for any job that I want to, my parents never made me feel like the inferior child because I was the girl, I can drive and vote and not plan my life around being a stay at home housewife mother of five.
Is it possible that we have gone too far? Not too far in the sense of equal opportunities and equal treatment, I personally think that while we may applaud our progress we still have a long way to go before we reach total equilibrium (For example, Canadian parliament has under 25% female representation… What’s up with that?). I mean too far in the sense that expectations and ideas that are socially acceptable for women may have changed, but are these new ideas simply a replacement for another way to control how we live our lives?
Since becoming engaged I have received several messages of concern from various friends and family members, all revolving around the theme of “Why on Earth are you getting married when you could be doing so much else with your life?”
From what I have experienced, it seems to be assumed that nowadays a young woman would only become engaged at such an early age if she was giving up on everything else and “settling” for marriage as a replacement for other things. Maybe this attitude originates from centuries of women being trapped in early marriages, of spouses stomping on their wives’ dreams and ideas in order to squash any desire for female autonomy, of young girls being pawned off to husbands in order to cement them into the societal uniform of wife and mother. To a certain extent I understand – if that was what marriage was like then believe me, I wouldn’t be going near it with a 5 foot pole.
But – and this is my great issue – while there have been many many many changes in the quality of life and opportunities that women can expect, there has also been a change in the mental attitude towards “the roles of the spouses”. Marriage is no longer a relationship of dominance where the man is the breadwinner and the woman stays at home knitting – not for everyone. If that’s what works for you then fine, you go ahead and do that, but in many cases marriage is a partnership, with both parties working hard both inside and outside of the home in order to keep up the life that they build together.
I am engaged to my best friend – he is my ultimate partner in crime and everything else and I cannot wait to build my life with him. And for me, that is the greatest opportunity – to do everything else that I can in this world, with an amazing man standing by my side, ready and waiting to offer help if I need it, and offering admiration and applause for the hard work that I do by and for myself.
The reactions I have seen from some people have really shown me the twist of this modern day age. Engaged at twenty-two? Oh how embarrassing, how shameful, your parents must be so disappointed, I’m sure they wanted so much more for you, etc. etc. People seem to believe that as a young woman who has completed a university degree, I am selling myself short by getting engaged – but none of them ever stopped to ask me what my plans were next. I didn’t realize that by saying yes to K’s proposal, I was also saying yes to a life of boredom – no one ever told me there was fine print saying that I had to give up on all my other dreams and ambitions… You know why no one told me that? Because it’s not true.
I am just as capable of travelling and building a career and finding new and wonderful adventures with or without a ring on my finger. I just happen to have found a man who will do all of that alongside me, and in these days of serial dating and casual flings, I am honestly honoured to have found someone who is willing to hold onto me as tightly as I will hold onto him.