In many cultures, a married woman is supposed to look different. She is expected to change her appearance in order to reflect her marital status.
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But many women today simply question this. Is there a necessity to carry or wear certain symbols to signify marital status? What if one isn't ready to wear all of them due to any reason? Would it pose any problems?
If a woman doesn't wear any of those symbols like 'mangal sutra', or bhichudi', then does it mean that she isn't showing her commitment towards marriage?
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Well, a 'sindhoor' or a 'mangal sutra' isn't the only way to show commitment towards a marital bond, say today's women.
Well, if a woman wishes to voluntarily wear all of those, that would be absolutely fine, but should it be treated as a hard and fast rule for all married women? Is it fair to impose such rules in the name of tradition or culture? Well, these are some questions we need to ask ourselves as we evolve.
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The purpose of marriage is to live together in harmony with a soul mate till as long as possible. Marriage is more of a promise. Marriage is more about love. Marriage is more about commitment. Marriage is more about acceptance. Marriage is also about trust.
Now, do external symbols guarantee love, promise, trust, commitment and acceptance? Does it mean that a woman who doesn't like to wear any of those symbols doesn't have enough love towards her spouse? Well, isn't it time we start changing our perceptions? Isn't it time we see the world with new eyes?
Our culture, custom and traditions are there to protect our unique identity and make us feel proud. They offer us a sense of belonging. They are there to keep us happy and secure. But nobody has a right to force anything on anyone, right?
Both women and men need space and freedom; the law of any land guarantees the same. So, is it really fair to force any woman to wear such symbols? Isn't that curbing her freedom?
Love comes from inside. Marital bliss is more about a lot of other factors. A simple sindhoor doesn't indicate your marital bliss and not wearing it doesn't mean any disrespect towards the institution.
Shackles are shackles even if they are made of gold. And no human being would agree to be chained even if you offer them shackles made of gold. So, the point is, wearing a mangal sutra can be left to the convenience of a woman.
Today's women aren't sitting at home. They are working. And when you work for the whole day, you may need to dress in a convenient way. If a saree and a mangal sutra don't offer you convenience to carry your job effectively, is it practical to wear them? Do you still expect every married woman to wear them?
Some men argue that symbols like sindoor and mangal sutra signify the marital status of a woman and that helps keep away unwanted eyes or men who try to approach her. But who said it is okay to stare at unmarried women or approach any random unmarried woman? No woman whether married or unmarried ever likes to be approached in inappropriate ways that violate her.
And some men argue that those symbols indicate the loyalty of a woman towards her husband. That's a funny argument because if a woman wishes to cheat, those symbols never stop her.
Life is more about finding joy and happiness in the things we do every day. If something doesn't contribute to your joy and adds to your misery, it isn't worth it. The same applies to anything and that is why today's women demand their right to choose or eschew anything in their lifestyle depending upon their convenience.