Saiqa Jan writes about the ordeals of the single women in society.

When we talk about single women in our society, what is the first thought that comes to our mind?

I bet it not something very pleasing for most of us. Even the majority of us are those who do not even think that it is important to talk about single women. In today’s modern era where we get to hear and talk about all these huge terms like feminism, women empowerment, gender equality, and other relative terms, I wonder who we really speak these terms for because clearly the society has divided women into two sects. One sect is of the women who have a male presence in their lives, be it in any relational form, and the other sect of women is the single women, the women who have no prominent presence of a male in their lives. This sect consists of women who are divorced, widowed or women who for some reason chose to be single. Now, for us, the women of the former sect are considered women who ought to be respected and treated well but when the same women for some reason lose the male presence, it is like she has lost all her rights to be respected or to be treated well or even to be thought well of. One might wonder why? 

This is because our society lives and survives on a notion of patriarchy, where the men hold the power over women and that is how our society views such women. A woman with a man can be anything whereas the same woman without a man is nothing. Ironic! Right? When we lose a male presence, we lose our place in society, so as well our right to coexist.

Right from birth, we are taught to give in to the ways of our socio-cultural system. In our patriarchal society, single women are considered to be incomplete and with failures, especially the women who are divorced. Just because their marriage failed does not mean they are women of failed character, but from divorce onward at every point of time, these women are degraded in one way or the other, first by their family and friends and then by the society at large. They are reminded by actions and words of what a failure their life is as a result of which most of the women succumb and give in to the pressure of getting re-married which is not an easy task I must say because re-marriage of a divorced woman is a tough job as the character and feminine qualities are put in question. Instead of choosing what is right for her, she has to adjust with whatever is being thrown her way because she becomes an object of shame and disgrace to be precise and a burden upon everybody. These women are suppressed by their rights to live a happy single life. And those women who bravely oppose and do not give in, unfortunately, become the victims of social scrutiny. Such women are considered women who are not virtuous anymore and are labelled with disgraceful names, which is disgusting from our end as a society. These women are often excluded from family gatherings and social gatherings because it is thought that they bring shame to them by choosing to be single.

With both halves of the society in play, their every step, every action is analysed as if they were born to be the victims of social scrutiny. These women are viewed as weak and vulnerable opportunities where the patriarchal wolves can prey as they please but if they resist then there is a whole new realm of problems they have to go through.

Even if they are invited they are treated as such that even the very women start to despise their existence. They are being avoided and getting help from any male on a humane ground raises a swarm of allegations for them. No matter how pure and pious these women are, it hardly matters for society. The fact that they are single is enough to qualify them for the dissection of their lives, the critical analysis and for the social scrutiny. They cannot put up well because then they will be ignorant, and they cannot go into isolation and depression because they will be considered taking dramatic advantage of their lives. But it does not stop here. It gets even worse for the women who choose to be single mothers as their kids come into the play of social scrutiny and the mother has to suffer twice the emotional and psychological pain than it already was. Then comes the other half of the society who pities them which I think is even worse than oppressing them because it somehow finds its way to drown these women in self-pity and they lose even their will to fight. With both halves of the society in play, their every step, every action is analysed as if they were born to be the victims of social scrutiny. These women are viewed as weak and vulnerable opportunities where the patriarchal wolves can prey as they please but if they resist then there is a whole new realm of problems they have to go through.

Our society lives and survives on the notion of patriarchy, where the men hold the power over women and that is how our society views such women. A woman with a man can be anything whereas the same woman without a man is nothing

The irony is these wolves and scrutinises are not some strangers, they are people whom they know. They can be male colleagues, or the female ones, the relatives, and even their very own family members. All in all, it is not wrong to say that these single women in our society have to fight at every breath to survive and maintain their dignity. However, that’s not the issue. The issue is what are we doing as a society for them? Instead of making their lives even more miserable than they already are, we do nothing good for such women. We take pleasure in their agony. It is our favourite tea time gossip while it is their life getting miserable emotionally and psychologically, and women who are unable to support themselves financially as well. Our social mindset is such that we shame these women when they are not even at fault but we do not praise them when actually they are the warriors of life. They are the forces to be reckoned with. As a society, we should only uplift such women instead of burying them even deep into the pit life dug for them.  Saiqa Jan works as a social media analyst and can be contacted at jansaiqa7@gmail.com

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