Pride and Prejudice: Society's pressure to wed (Then and Now).12:00 AM
Let's talk about themes:
The first line of the Pride and Prejudice says something about society assumes every single man of good fortune is actively looking for a wife. So I think that societal pressure to get married was one of the main themes Jane Austen wanted to explore. However, in 2013 it seems the pressure is more on the girls than the boys. Now men are almost expected to be players in their 20's (Mike, The Situation, I'm talking about at you) while women are the ones looking for their soulmate. So in this post I'm going to focus more on the pressure women have felt and are feeling currently to be someone's wife.
Jane Austen describes the ridiculousness of girls' desperation to wed. We see this in Elizabeth's mom making a fool of herself and the family through half the book trying to get her daughters married off. Then we see Lydia pull a Kim Kardashian. Why? Because Lydia wanted to be married soooo bad she took the first guy who came along and asked for her hand. Unfortunately for her, society didn't accept 72 day marriages back then.
Elizabeth is such the opposite of her sister. She reminds me of Jo from Little Women in that she'd rather be alone, than marry just to marry. But I haven't met many girls that feel this way today. I see on Facebook at least once a day that one of my friends got engaged. It seems my generation is almost as obsessed with tying the knot as Elizabeth's generation was.
So while you'd think that because this book was written so long ago women would have wanted different things back then, I disagree. And it got me thinking. Why do women feel such a strong need to get married? Let's compare:
- Women wanted a man to financially keep them since they couldn't earn their own living.
- Women wanted their own house to run because that was like a job for them.
- Women wanted to raise a family.
- Women wanted to get out of their parents house (and they felt like a burden if they were in their 20's still living at home).
- Women wanted to be wanted and loved.
- Women died young back then.
- Women want someone to share the financial burdens (buy a house together).
- Women want a career.
- Women want to start a family and have that house with a white picket fence and a dog.
- Women want to move out of their parent's houses after college.
- Women want the romance they see in movies like The Notebook.
- #YOLO: You Only Live Once. Women want to have all of this before they die which the world has proved could be any day (with all the terrorism and violence).
*Disclamer* Not ALL women want these things, but let's be serious. Most that I've talked to do. And remember, I have lived in a sorority house with 65 girls so I have done my research.
There's a lot of Charlottes running around out there that want these things so badly they'll settle for the first person who comes along and offers it to them. But how can you really know someone you just met? How can you know who they'll become? How can you even know who you'll be in four years, let alone 20? Is eternal love something you can know within a few months of meeting someone?
With the divorce rate so high it seems people think I'll just get married and if it doesn't work out there's always divorce. I think if Elizabeth lived in 2013 she would agree with me when I say that marriage is mostly a piece of paper and you can still have that same commitment without the certificate.
Although if Elizabeth lived in 2013 Jane would have seen Bingley's fb status and known that he liked her. She would have shown her true feelings. Darcey wouldn't have broken them up and none of this would have even happened.
But I digress...
But I digress...
Since Elizabeth didn't just accept Darcy's offer because he could provide her with a comfortable lifestyle, she saved herself from having an unsatisfactory life. If she had said yes they probably would have fought often. She probably would have resented him and their relationship would have been completely different. And why? All because her mom, sisters, and friend were constantly telling her she was getting old and should find a husband...especially a rich one that could benefit them.
Don't let society's expectation of what it thinks your life should look like sway your decisions. Because in the end, you and only you are the one who will being living your life.
*Disclamer #2* I'm not completely against getting married young. I recognize it does work out for some people...like my parents. They married at 22 and are still so in love today. If they hadn't married that young maybe I wouldn't be here today. So I get it. Love can happen at a young age. But I just feel society is pressuring girls so much they're mistaking like for love and taking that next step too soon.
What do you guys think? Is socitey pressuring you or do you think the opposite? Have the Snookies taken over and made the no commitment party girl lifestyle acceptable? I'm just going on what I've experienced so far in life and I'd love to hear your thoughts.