What is a social convention? It is something which is accepted as normal and aspired to by many. Think marriage, career, love, happiness. Some of these are abstract like love whilst others are clearly not.
International Women’s day is a day that champions females across the globe for their various personal and professional achievements. But we need to recognise the setbacks that modern society perpetuates that uniquely challenge girls and women’s feelings of security, worth and independent decision making.
Social conventions manifest themselves more readily to young women and girls around the world who may not have anything else (education, wealth, social capital) to fall back on. Patriarchy is very cunning and one of the ways it oppresses women is by appealing to women to self-oppress. It does this by tapping into one of our greatest fears as human beings: not fitting in and standing out as a failure. This is why many girls internalize misogyny. Many girls believe that for them to be truly happy they need to utilize their reproductive labour (giving birth and child rearing). By making all of the above gender roles the norm, many females internalise singlehood as a culturally deviant failure.
So success is relative to each woman’s cultural, social, economic and spiritual context. We can not create a culture of exclusive ideology. I urge you to be critical of what we admire as success for a woman and what conversations we may be too scared to have about singlehood.
Written by: Umra Hayat