Your Expectations Are Suffocating Us
The sad truth is that there’s a lot of pressure on Asian girls. Unrealistic expectations and rules like knowing how to cook every dish off the earth, looking the most ‘fair’ and ‘beautiful’, sacrificing a social life because it’s “not good” for an unmarried girl to go out so often, so should stay home to help your parents care for the family. Or going through school with flying colours and having a successful career.
And that’s just the rules for girls that are still living in their parents’ house.
That’s not the case in every household, but for many, it is. Sadly, there’s this idea that freedom comes after marriage for a young, Asian girl. That once there’s a man in your life, you get to travel, go out whenever you want, wear what you want and do what you like……. With your husband’s permission of course.
Why? Because, they’re seen as the so called “protectors’ of the home. Maybe this was the case a couple hundred years ago, where women were subject to school work like embroidering, making tea and typical housework to prepare for marriage.
But now? We study the same thing. Wear the same stuff. Do the same activities and go to the same gym where we can actually surpass our male counterparts in both strength and speed.
So, why do we still have this expectation around young, Asian girls to get married before “our time is up” and what are we really doing?
Limiting our potential
I’ve had girls tell me they wanted to pursue a career or degree, but felt it would “take too long” and delay them from pursuing marriage. Although I believe that it’s best to focus on yourself and achieve your dreams, before looking for a partner (because that shit isn’t easy), I know many girls find it possible to do both. And that’s great. But if your concern is that you won’t be able to pursue a career or studies after marriage, then maybe you should reconsider the person/ family you’re marrying into.
Chase your dreams, take that course, pursue that degree! What’s life if you’re filled with resentment and sadness, for choosing not to be the happiest version of yourself? Choose you. Always choose you. How can you possibly make anybody else happy, if you yourself are unhappy? Even if you could, is that really the life you want to live?
Feeling worthless if we can’t do something
“Oh, you can’t cook yet? Better learn soon!” “You need to spend less time doing this and more time helping your mum at home” “Darling, what’s your husband going to say if you can’t do XYZ” Sound familiar?
Like seriously, who’s good at everything? In fact, I’m pretty sure the person saying these things to you are pretty useless themselves. You’re essentially allowing a girl to feel crap and question her self-worth because she’s not superwomen. In the long term, she’s going to hesitate to take on her opportunities due to her ingrained insecurities and feel like she’s not good enough for anything. And that sucks. So, stop.
Pressure to be perfect
I love mistakes. Okay, not really. But they’re important. With mistakes comes wisdom, valuable lessons and the ridiculous belief that we won’t repeat it again. But this “ideal daughter and daughter in law” expectation makes us feel like, any little issue would follow us and disappoint our family; making it so much harder to find a “suitable partner.”
We fear that if things aren’t going according to your life plan, or maybe going slightly off course, that pressure follows a feeling of worthlessness. Like you aren’t good enough or a complete failure. But the most successful people have made more mistakes than you could possibly count. If you’re living a life without problems, I’m afraid to say you’re either extremely pampered or living a very dull, stationary life.
The need to rush our life
We think that travelling abroad, further education and experiencing life and all the pain, happiness, joy and grief that comes with it, can’t last very long. Of course, marriage comes with its own griefs, and you can always travel with your partner, but there’s some things you need to experience alone, as an independent woman, or with your friends.
Not only do you learn the most about yourself, but that’s where personal growth is. Being able to discover parts of yourself that you couldn’t do, if you’re too busy pleasing and worrying about how it’ll impact your partner. Essentially, you’d feel like you need to rush all these experiences and enjoy everything life has to offer, before making the big leap. But the absence of being present in the moment isn’t really living, is it?
Feeling lesser to men
Being a girl shouldn’t make you feel like your talents, freedom and capabilities are any less than a guy
It’s sad but it’s true. We can end up feeling like, “agh, if I was a guy, I wouldn’t be having this problem”, and that is the worst mentality you could possibly have. Being a girl shouldn’t make you feel like your talents, freedom and capabilities are any less than a guy. It brews the idea of the female gender being the lesser of two. No, no it’s not. Just stop.
I try to make a point when I hear people say these things. Counteract it with a, actually no that’s not true, women can do it too if we just stopped letting stupid cultural and society norms dictate otherwise. It’s like there’s this mindset of, they said we can’t, so we can’t.
But women and marginalised groups that were often excluded from society, didn’t get as far as they have today from following the rules. They fought, they rebelled, they said no.
Anxiety, depression, stress, lack of self worth. Must I go on? You’re screwing with our mental health and I will happily implode all over you.