Are homemakers ‘prostitutes’?

Published: January 28, 2013
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The girls "put a ring on it" or sell themselves off into marriage, just so they can appease their parents or society.

Politically incorrect, pathologically honest and a prolific rambler – that’s author of Prozac nation Elizabeth Wurtzel, in a nutshell for you.

Recently, with her 5,500-word confessional article, “My one night stand of a life” published in New York Magazine, she has sucker punched the entire publishing world with a diatribe, that is exactly like her, honest to a fault.

One of the groups who have come under fire of Wurtzel’s unapologetic pen is homemakers or housewives.

I believe women who are supported by men are prostitutes, that is that”, says Wurtzel

While it may seem that Wurtzel might just be talking just about gold diggers, in the context of her recent article and her previously published ones, she means any and every woman who has married a man, not out of love, but for financial security, to satisfy her parents, to get out of a country, to have children, to help raise children, to break out from an abusive family or for her own independence.

Basically, this would mean any woman who has compromised her integrity and standards for the safety and security that a marriage offers.

By Wurtzel’s definition, a majority of good old homemakers previously pigeonholed as self-sacrificing lambs would now be considered “prostitutes.”

Going by Wurtzel’s definition, all the parents of these homemakers, who push the same agenda on their daughters, would be pimps, no less, right?

Quite frankly, I have to agree with Wurtzel’s “psychobabble.”

I say this because more and more Pakistani women are getting married before they even turn 18.

Just recently, The Express Tribune reported that nearly 72% of girls in Sindh get married before they turn 18. This phenomenon is not limited to rural areas only.

Parents are constantly pimping out their girls at fancy drawing rooms and designer shadis, hoping to catch some prey.

As soon as girls hit puberty, parents vocalise about the number of bojhs (burdens) in their life. By that, they refer to the number of unmarried daughters.

Feeling like economic and social burdens, girls agree to the first person who wants to marry them. The girls “put a ring on it” or sell themselves off into marriage, just so they can appease their parents or society.

I’ve seen a close friend marry someone twice her age to get out of Pakistan and to secure herself a green card. But two years later, she got neither, marriage nor a green card.

When your reasons for marriage are that flimsy and superficial, I think it’s safe to assume that a man who lives with you every day of his life will figure them out soon enough.

As a woman, can you honestly tell if you were emotionally mature at the age of 18 to not only tie the knot with someone but to handle tricky saas-bahu (mother in-law and daughter in-law) dynamics and raise another human being?

I can honestly say that I wasn’t!

Girls also think of marriage as the ultimate solution – a happy ending to a reckless adolescence. Something that will end all their miseries. But most times, it only adds more miseries.

Music, dramas, films and other pop culture elements continue to romanticise this ancient institution which only perpetuates conformity and shackles a woman’s independence and thinking ability.

Tying the knot with someone, anyone at all, is considered an achievement these days. Women bask in the glory of their wedding pictures for months and months, show off their engagement rings more than their degrees.

I’m often told,

“You are not a fully functional capable adult if you’re unmarried.”

I’m not sure all the women, who marry for comfort, are fully functional capable adults.

At the age of 44, writer Wurtzel is still unmarried.

She calls herself “sad and lonely” in her latest article.

I call her lucky!

She is “sad and lonely” out of her own choice.

At least, a life of sadness and loneliness (which an unsatisfactory marriage can often be), was not thrust upon her by her parents or society.

At least, she doesn’t have to wake up every day to the face of a man she is indifferent towards.

Maybe, its time, women stopped compromising.

Maybe, it’s time we stop acting like martyrs when we’re clearly not.

Maybe it’s time we married when we really wanted to.

Not when we had to.

Do you think women in Pakistan generally marry for financial stability?

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Saba Khalid

Saba Khalid

A blogger for Rolling Stone magazine, a contributor to Kulturaustauch and Musikexpres, Saba is an Institute for Foreign Affairs (IFA) Cross Culture scholar for the year 2012 who also teaches creative writing to young aspiring writers. She blogs at www.thecityalive.com and can be found on instagram as @thecityalive

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.