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Madiha Imam opens up about the pressures on women to get married

Madiha Imam opens up about the pressures on women to get married

"It's not even a class issue —it has penetrated into our culture."
12 Nov, 2020

Enjoying the banter, humming along the title track and adoring the characters as the plot moves forward, audiences have been praising the social commentary in Madiha Imam and Bilal Abbas Khan's Ek Jhooti Love Story.

Tackling issues that hit close to home, the Zee5 series is a whirlpool of emotions giving space to much-needed conversations, such as the exhaustion of keeping up appearances embedded within the real-life struggles of an average middle-class Pakistani.

Speaking up about one such theme, Madiha Imam opened up while talking to BBC Asian Network about how realistically the tv show represents the pressures on Pakistani women to get marriage and constantly be questioned about it.

"It's not even a class issue — it's not about people who are rich or not rich, educated or not educated. It has penetrated all the way down into our culture, into the society we are living in. So even if you're educated, you'll look at me and say 'oh, you're 29? Aren't you married yet?'"

Imam believes people, before posing such a personal question, need to rethink their words and ask themselves: "I am an intellectual being, and I'm asking a 30 year old [about marriage]. First of all, it is emotionally not cool, and second, why would you ask someone that? It is so inappropriate anyway."

Advocating for change, the Dushman-e-Jaan actor reiterated that this is an issue that requires people to shift the way they are looking at things, saying marriage is not the sole reason for a person's existence.

"It's a pattern that's been happening with our parents, our grandparents, but then people don't talk about it and they just live by it. They think this is normal and any other way is abnormal," she remarked, adding that it's actually the other way around.

Madiha also added that narratives like these have the power to change attitudes, recalling Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do and walking out of the cinema after watching it, thinking how remarkably the director used a light-hearted setting to speak up about women's issues like eating out of sadness or suffering from depression.

"Mehreen Jabbar has also done something very light-hearted but it's a serious, serious issue."

As the conversation moved forward, Imam also agreed to gender roles in South Asian societies being suppressive.

"For example, a guy has a retired father and is unable to earn much, he will always feel guilty. Similarly, if a girl is earning more, she may not get somebody who might be good-natured but earns less than her because the guy will think 'Oh, she earns more? She's not for me'."

"But it's so ridiculous when you talk about it, because can you imagine?" she added in bewilderment.

Comments

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A. ALI Nov 12, 2020 12:18pm
Superficial topic garnered out of nothingness.
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vin Nov 12, 2020 01:36pm
I have seen multiple times that Pakistani try to impose their culture as south Asian culture. That is not true. Indian women are okay with earning more than their husband so do men in India. Western influence women do think otherwise.
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Maryam Siddique Nov 12, 2020 03:50pm
When people pressure me to marry I secretly curse them. One woman got her daughter married early and said I should do the same or I will not be able to have children. Now after nearly 20 years of marriage her daughter still can't have children. Others would explain the 'bliss' of marriage and now they are divorced. But now at 40 I really do want to get married and settle down.
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Jawed Sheikh Nov 12, 2020 04:12pm
Yes, very true. It's mostly men who ask these questions. These days there are more and more working women who are not married for one or the other reasons as said by the actress. It is indeed rude to ask this question and then wonder about it.
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well-wisher Nov 12, 2020 09:03pm
Yes the pressure boils down to PK culture. That has to change and given freedom whether to get married as personal choice.
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True Nov 12, 2020 09:17pm
Well this may be different for different people. I don't know about women. The topic here is for women. But men at certain age really need a woman for one thing atleast but desperately. Only an angel type of man will not require a woman. That's natural. So either you marry a woman or do a thing which is bad. I hope anyone can understand, what I meant.
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maham Nov 13, 2020 12:12am
@Maryam Siddique really too late now
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Illawarrior Nov 13, 2020 09:46am
Pressure can be resisted! Family can only exert as much influence over your decisions as YOU allow them to have. Do not marry just because OTHER people want you to. Marry if, when, and who, YOU choose!
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Ashfaq Nov 13, 2020 02:51pm
@Maryam Siddique whose gonna marry you now unless your rich or live abroad
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Rameez Nov 13, 2020 07:58pm
@maham Your thinking represents the majority of South Asian ignorant thinking. It is never too late for finding a sincere partner, who will not be there for physical satisfaction..or only looking for a baby-factory... but will always be there as a friend and lot more.
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