The question constantly thrown at girls once they are a particular age, and after having made a career in some cases, is, ‘When do you plan to get married?’ Getting daughters married is the biggest concern for most Indian parents and society in general. But today, more and more women prefer staying single until they are sure of settling down in a marriage. Even if they are into a relationship, marriage is not always their ultimate goal.
Either most of them do not find themselves ‘shaadi material’ or society does not find them ‘shaadi material’ because they do not fall into the age-old set norms. The online campaign for Star Plus’ recently launched primetime show Ikyawann has gone viral over the last one week. The show has actor Prachi Tehlanplaying the role of Susheel Parekh, a young girl who bears boy-like mannerisms and is hence considered ‘Not Shaadi Material’ in society.
This #NotShaadiMaterial concept has been supported by women on Twitter. Celebrities and commoners have come out to talk about this.
Many have shared their personal experiences on how women are expected to fit into certain norms to become ‘shaadi material’. The campaign kickstarted with tweets by popular celebrities like VJ Bani and Richa Chadha. VJ Bani tweeted, “I don’t look delicate. So am I #NotShaadiMaterial?”Actress Richa Chadha took a step further by tweeting, “If I am more comfortable in jeans than a saree, am I #NotShaadiMaterial?”
Supporting the two, over 5,000 women came up, questioning this societal stereotype.
There were many such tweets:
Sangeeta Agrawal tweeted, “I wear short dresses and attend late night parties. Does this make me #NotShaadiMaterial?” Shweta Singh tweeted, “Just because a girl has more guy friends than girl-friends!! Does that make her #NotShaadiMaterial?” A girl named Priyanka tweeted, “I am an independent woman and don’t require a male to support me. I hope am not considered as #NotShaadiMaterial.”
We got in touch with women who gave us several interesting reasons for being #NotShaadiMaterial. Event manager Sanjana Gupta says that she doesn’t want to compromise on her independence. “I want to be independent and follow my dreams. Getting married means getting stuck into the responsibilities of family and children. Instead of spending my energy on responsibilities of the family, I want to travel and focus on my career. I, therefore think I am not ‘shaadi material’ at all.”
Somy Mukherjee, who works as a corporate manager in an IT firm, says that most boys and their families do not find her marriageable because of her age. “The prospective grooms and their families think that I am too old to get married. I am 36 and think this is the perfect age to get hitched but they do not think so. I can’t hide my real age to get married.”
Ashiya Kazi has a similar story. “I am not shaadi type because I can’t cook and I don’t wish to learn cooking. My parents had put up my profile on a matrimonial site. I met this guy whose idea of a perfect wife is someone who can cook, take care of the family. But I am not the kind of person who cooks for the entire family. Also, we are expected to keep quiet in front of elders but I can’t. If I think someone is wrong, even if they are elder to me, I point it out.”
More women are breaking the traditional norms set for a woman. They no more care about fitting the ‘shaadi material’ bill.