The largest contingent of voiceless, lonely women with limited agency in the subcontinent must be its married women. If they’re fortunate enough to be born and reach adulthood, a woman’s parents and society make sure she becomes an adult brainwashed into self-alienation and self-loathing.
The issue with the ‘Aunty’ body arises from a deeply misogynistic and dehumanising understanding of women. In this imagination the woman, whom the world now addresses as ‘Aunty’, has basically served her purpose of marriage and child bearing, and is hence rendered useless.
I realised that we are constantly thinking about the future and our life as we age, and are afraid of facing the world alone. The uncertainty of future events, of which there are many combinations, makes us feel insecure and vulnerable.
In this issue of In Plainspeak our contributors reflect on and reveal the myriad facets of being single – is it a choice? A condition? A state of being? Lonely? Joyful? Not one or the other, but a glorious mix?
Why is it always so hard to find a place for intimacy and why do we have to lie and cheat our way into getting it? Everything related to non-committal sex was always so taboo, shrouded in secrecy, and eliciting raised eyebrows, that it turned me off.
The only hitch was that neither the agents nor the landlords who lurked behind those rentable flats were particularly keen on leasing their precious properties to a – what! Divorcee??!! No, no, madam, but this flat is only for families.
Emma Watson spoke to British Vogue about the incredible amounts of stress and anxiety that follows, “…if you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out…”
By the end of the evening, the room was suffused with the celebration of singlehood, rather than any explanation or apology for it. It appeared that the solitary life was envied and extolled by those who have opted out of it as well as many who haven’t.
For a queer person, or for someone who remains single by choice, everyday existence requires strength and will. That is the embodiment of kun faya kun as a personal philosophy: to manifest the person you want to be through sheer will.
I believe that queer friendships and intimacies are sheer resistance, which not only swallow the despair and pain that might be perpetrated on gender-nonconforming people by their families, but also recognise all the lies about love that have been sold to us.
Singleness represents eschewing all that patriarchy imposes on us in the name of emotional and financial protection. Women who decide not to marry defy age-old ‘wisdom’ mixed with terrible psychological and biologically-backed explanations.
In this narrative, Sita finds solace in these women and understands a different perspective about beauty, self-worth, authority, self-reliance, and toward the end, finds liberation from society and marriage which were the root cause of her sorrow.
By and large, society expects a woman to marry. Often people in one’s circle judge a woman if she doesn’t marry, inquiring about what could be wrong but most never assuming that it could be out of choice
Alankrita Singh brings us a sparse and evocative series of photographs of women out in the world, by themselves. With a quiet defiance, it depicts women interacting with the world, at leisure, resisting the socio-cultural negativity they face when not under the care of men.
Paromita, an award-winning filmmaker, and founder of the multimedia platform Agents of Ishq, and Leeza, who tries to normalise conversations about sexuality through her online work, remind us that neither singlehood nor marriage is the only determining factor of our wellbeing.