I have been thinking about posting this article few weeks ago, but I thought it would be a brilliant idea to post it on the celebration of Kartini Day.
Growing up, I did not have many female friends. I did not have enough social skill to put up with their gossips and whines, and their constant reminder that every teenage girls need make up and diet. It was not easy sometimes, but then I began to have some female friends. Of course, it was never easy to have female friends, I still do not have the extra patience to the gossips and whines, and their constant reminder that every adult women need marriage and children. But I got better at ignoring these remarks.
Up until few weeks ago, when two of my female friends, who seemed to be coming from two different planets, talked about one same thing. Marriage.
One of them, was my childhood friends. It was one rare occasion that I maintained friendship for so long. Just call her Minnie Mouse, not because of her having a squeaky voice, and definitely not because she looks like a rat, but because of her disney crush to Mickey Mouse. Minnie Mouse, was about to get engaged when she told me that she finally broke up with her boyfriend. Well, he was a tw*t, so I did not feel sorry that she broke up with him. I felt sorry because she was sad and broken hearted as she did not want to break up with the dickhead.
She has been in the quest, of finding a husband, because she believes her clock is ticking and she wanted to have a family, and children. She is a typical traditional Asian woman, whose — despite her bright future in her career, her financial stability, her high profile family background, and also her promising degree in engineering– sole lifetime objective is to get married and breed. She has told me again and again that she is not getting younger, and all of our friends have already had kids (she forgot about me), and some of them has even had their third. And she wants it.
Too bad she ended up with wrong guys every time.
While the other friend, is someone coming from a closer planet than mine. I have known her for few years, never actually met her in person. She is a blogger too, and if she read this she will know that I am talking about her (or so I hope). Like me, she left Indonesia for study — but while I went north, my friend went down south. Let’s call her the Aussie Badass Chick.
Yes, she might be a couple of years younger than I am, and she kind of reminded me of what I wanted to be when I was her age. Independent, tough, badass. And she posted about marriage too, but from a completely different point of view: she said she does not want to get married. And I believe her.
This is the thing.
I did not want to get married either. I never thought that marriage institution is as important as what is perceived by many people. It is probably promoted in the first place as a population control, and helped with the gene pool. But when people are more educated like now, it is not more than tradition. If you just want to live with the person that you love for the rest of your life, just do it… you can live together in a house, sign the house certificate together if you want to protect yourself from being screwed around, and so on and so forth.
Well, logically speaking, there are some benefits of being married; and they are totally unromantic. First one is social standings. Especially in Asian family, being married means you are given so much more trust as a person, and finally considered as an adult by your parents. You are no longer the child — the lower rank member of the family, but you are the queen of your own sovereign. Your parents would be seen as successful for being able to marry you off, not only congratulated for being able to get rid of you. Your opinion would started to be considered in the family meetings, and you suddenly have the rights, and even encouraged to be a bitch.
The next one is the more important one for me: the legal status. Not for your children, but for you. It does not only mean that you can sue the shit of them if they are cheating on you. It is not only about the financial security either. It is about how the law in the country see you as a family. If one of you are in the hospital, they cannot visit, or take decision for you if they are not legally registered as your family/partner. If you adopt children together, only one of you can be their parent, because you are not legally a family, and a child cannot legally registered to two guardian family (and if you split up, one of you will definitely lose the custody).
And this is why the LGBT group wants the gay marriage to be legalised — just to answer people who insisted that if gay people wants to live together they could just… do.
And the third one… is freedom.
Majority of people would not see marriage as freedom. Instead, they believe that being married means you are being chained to a rigid institution and shit. I agree with them too, but I must point out the other side that they failed to see.
Women from eastern culture are tied down to her parents (her parents’ house, her parents’ family, etc.) until they are married, and have her own family. For some people, marriage is a way out from their parents’ house. Like Kartini (now you see why I chose this topic to be posted today, yes?) who agreed to marry a man who was way older than she was, just so that she could get out from her father — who denied her education because she was a girl. And use her new social standing as a married woman to do what she wanted to do — build friendships with foreign correspondence (hence her letters were made as a book), and got educated.
If anyone ask me if they have to get married, my answer is “definitely not”. No one can tell you to or not to marry anyone, if you want or do not want. The pressure, the thought of you are getting into the age you would no longer marriageable, would make you jump to the first person come to you, which lead you to the date wrong person… again and again. Have you not learn anything from How I Met Your Mother?
If anyone asked me if they need to get married, I would ask them why. Why do you want to get married? Do you think you cannot have sex if you are not married? Well, you can. If you feel guilty, ask forgiveness. If god is so forgiving he would absolve whatever sin you did or will do in the future.
If you think you cannot have children without being married, you are wrong. In fact you can have children any time you want: pick one from the foster houses.
Basically, the traditional justification of marriage is not applicable for me. But, if you want the benefits of marriage I just mentioned above, go for it. It came with responsibilities too: means they can sue the shit out of you if you cheated, means you might have to face the custody battle if you split up, means you would no longer receive red envelopes full of money from your parents during the Chinese New Year *broken inside*.
Happy Kartini Day, my dear friends.