Hi there, I’m Aggy, single and 25.
So what? You may ask. Allow me to explain but be warned, this isn’t my usual post, it’s a bit of a rant. I’ve been told writing about your anger can make you feel better. So let’s try it.
I am a little mad. I am rather furious. I have had enough.
Just a few days ago I got into a conversation with some of my Indonesian friends. As we got talking we ended up talking about career, life after our studies, family, relationship. It was actually a pretty normal and general conversation until a question came to me.
“What will you do after this?”
I still don’t know to be honest. Just like other mid 20s people just finishing off their masters degree. Clueless and have no idea of what’s ahead of me. But hey I like having options for the future and be temporarily uncertain – it’s what makes life so exciting.
So I answered “I don’t know, do a business maybe, focus on a career”
Then came the “warning” which ticked me off “Ooofff career, now now remember a girl your age…”
OK so this is not the first time I have been “warned” and it is not the first time I had to shout out an opinion. Funnily enough all my warnings mainly came from Indonesian men, and I honestly don’t understand.
There seems to be an unknown agreement in my society that a girl at the age of mid 20 should be looking for a guy and get ready to settle down to have a family. Of course they would have to be equipped with the abilities of cooking, cleaning the house and taking care of children/husband. I have no idea how it all started and why this ancient rule hasn’t evolved throughout the years but it is still there, as if it’s tattooed in the society for generations.
So when I started my study back in 2011, I received three remarks from Indonesian men basically saying I should “be careful not to be so immersed in studying” and to “start looking for a boyfriend” so that I could “give my parents the grandchildren they’ve always wanted“. I merely smiled knowing that the people who said it were either my boss or friends of my parents. Just for your information, my parents have never in my life pressured me to be married at a certain age or asked to give them grandchildren.
Two years later, the absurd comments haven’t stopped. The comments got a little worse with the addition of my nomadic life and love for travelling. Apparently us girls only get approximately 25 years to have freedom on what to do in life, then after that our future is in the hands of our partner. I was given the advice that focusing on my career would drive me away from finding a partner. When I explained that I wanted to have a career, whatever it is, so I could financially support myself. To respond my comment I was told to find a rich husband so I wouldn’t have to work. Being the person that I am, I continued to insist on how important it is for a woman to be independent. Again, I was thrown back with a question “what if you have children, are you still going to work and pursue your career?”
So basically I could conclude the following:
1. Girl, you’re 25 years old, stop having fun called “pursuing your career” and get yourself a nice husband already.
2. Oh preferably your husband should be rich so you don’t have to work.
3. And no you cannot have a career as you will be taking care of the house and your children.
Is the problem with me? Am I just too self-obsessed in wanting a career? Am I living in the stone age where women do not have a voice to say?
I’m sick of being commented on my age and how I should be married. I’m not saying I don’t want a partner, of course I do, but it’s not like picking an apple from your nearby supermarket. Then also comes the perception that when I FINALLY find him, I should give up everything and take care of my family. I am in no way offending housewives or stay-at-home mums. My mum was a housewife and she loved being a full time mum but it wasn’t the decision of my dad telling her to quit her job. It was a decision they made together, now she owns a successful bookstore at the university and my dad never once prevented her from doing it. Maybe one day I will have the courage to be a stay-at-home mum or maybe not, but either way I want that decision to feel right for me and not because it’s an obligation from my partner.
There is a word in Indonesian which people seem to misuse, “kodrat” or in English “nature” (not really sure if that’s really the correct translation) – but basically the nature of a women is to follow men. Do what they say, obey what they tell you. Let me tell you what our nature is, our nature is to have boobs and have kids (as my friend pointed out), it is our privilege to be able to do so, but it is definitely NOT to be controlled by men. We, well, I certainly am not a puppet.
Maybe some girls are OK with these kind of statements, maybe some don’t find it offensive at all but I really don’t like when people start judging me and telling me how I should have my life. All I know is that I have worked hard and I want to have something out of all my hard work. I know I am not the only one complaining, I have a few friends who have complained the same things as me and it is not pleasant to hear at all.
I am only doing what my parents taught me, being an independent person. I am not a pessimist in love either, I just know what qualities I want in a partner. So please, step back, yes I am a girl, 25 years old, unmarried and trying to pursue a career. So what?
Has anyone else experience this kind of annoyance before? What do you have to say about it?
(fiiuuh I do feel a little better now thank you)