Getting Married Is Not An Achievement

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I might bare the front of a backlash for releasing this home truth that, getting married is not an achievement. It’s a celebration, something wonderful that two people willingly do, but it is by no means the proudest thing a woman can do. I’m bored of witnessing this everlasting hype over how getting married is the ultimate goal and something all women should aim towards. I’m no bitter spinster, not that it would even matters if I was, but even in my happy long-term relationship, I can clearly see that this obsession in society to frame getting married as an achievement for women is toxic. 

In the past women were primed to be housewives and nothing more. With this being the case then it makes a lot of sense that society had a mindset that perceived getting married as the ultimate achievement. This is not the world we live in any longer, we need to adjust out thinking. Women are not defined by their eligibility, we have so much more to offer and achieve and I think there needs to be greater recognition for this.

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My frustration stems from the fact that even in 2017 were are all still far more excited to celebrate when a woman is proposed to than when she achieves in academics or her profession. Of course, everyone is happy about women’s achievements in academia, careers, life goals, but these genuine achievements that have come from nothing less than years of hard work are not greeted with even close to the same level of enthusiasm and happiness compared to the announcement of marriage – generally speaking.  Maybe your relationship has taken years of hard work as well but does it realistically fall on the same or even higher level of achievements as that of gaining degrees, PHD, an impressive job promotion, completing life goals and so forth.

My frustration also stems from the fact that almost every interview with a female celebrity reverts back to the topic of her love life and marriage as if those are the defining factors of what she has to offer. Most recent to annoy me is an interview with human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney. Even in the space of a minute whilst addressing the important topic of her work to help ISIS victims, the second question was about her marriage and how that helps her cause – basically undermining all that this brilliant woman does in her career.

Woman are changing the world, we are taking dominant roles in work places, we are expanding our horizons, we are business owners, politicians and world leaders, we are competing at the Olympic level – we are doing incredible things and we deserve to have more recognition and celebration given to the real achievements that we have worked hard for and trained our minds and bodies to accomplish.

All I ask is we put getting married on the back burner of things to achieve, it’s a great thing, but it’s not an achievement. Realistically, what makes getting married an achievement is actually the hard part that follows – the marriage part. Sticking together and working to make it last in a time of such high divorce rates is what is genuinely impressive, not planning and spending a fortune on a single day – that’s just the nice extra.

Be happy for your women friends if they get engaged, of course that is fantastic, but be even happier for them when they succeed in something they worked incredibly hard to achieve, because that’s the perspective and message we should be passing on to the next generation. That women have more to offer than a finger to wear a ring.

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Former English Student | Travel Editor 2016-17 |Current MSc. International Politics | Editor at Wessex Scene for 2017-18.

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