No doubt this topic is touchy. The view of a young girl marrying to some ‘big ole oily grey back man’ is seen as carnal abuse, rape, violation of human rights, child rights, and the list goes on. So let’s dig a little deeper. According to Wikipedia, there is some form of justification of such an arrangement which might help you the reader to better understand or simply get you more upset:
Child marriage and child betrothal customs occur in various times and places, whereby children are given in matrimony – before marriageable age as defined by the commentator and often before puberty. Today such customs are fairly widespread in parts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America: in former times it occurred also in Europe. It is frequently associated with arranged marriage. In some cases only one marriage-partner is a child, usually the female, due to importance placed upon female virginity, the inability of women to work for money and to women’s shorter reproductive life period relative to men’s.
Yes, unfortunately that ‘ole’ perve can still reproduce. Great. Well this explains why a lot of women freak out when they reach the thirty year mark and are viewed as old. Also, may I just add that it is getting harder and harder to find a sixteen year old virgin these days. Okay, before you attack me for agreeing with these customs let’s take a look at the things we celebrate: Sweet Sixteen, once upon a time it marked a young girl’s coming of age and used to advertise that the daughter was ready to be married (uh huh now you know); in latin american countries they celebrate Quinceañera (their version of sweet sixteen but at the age of fifteen); in Jewish culture a boy comes of age at thirteen (Bar Mitzvah) and girls come of age at twelve (Bat Mitzvah); in Italy and Poland they celebrate the eighteenth birthday. Although . We can agree that not even at 18 years no one is ready for marriage, worse at 12 and 13. What about children being married off as young as 5 or before they were born? I read an article featured in the June 2011 National Geographic called The Secret World of Child Brides (page 78). It featured traditional customs – some illegal but still practised in secret – in India (yup you gonna stop hating me now). Now this is where I draw the line because these poor babies have no clue when the ceremonies are being performed and they grow up hating their ‘oily grey back’ husbands and are miserable.
Thanks to a changing world these practises are being eliminated. That’s good for the children, they can enjoy their childhood, get an education and make their own choices but what happens when you wait too long? There are some women who have been successful in their careers, accomplished all they could without the burden of maintaining a family and answering to a husband, realised in their 40’s they want to get married and have children. What now? As the above excerpt said, a woman’s reproductive life is shorter than that of a man. Besides who wants to marry an old woman? I’m not crude but that is the way of the world. Magazines are filled with 15-year-old models, there are many age-defying potions and anti-ageing creams everywhere being advertised in your face every minute of every day. Of course love can be blind and you may find someone who loves you for other reasons and yes medical technologies are improving even grandmothers can have children, but is it the way it should be? Depending on one’s personal reasons they can get married at any age but marrying young is ideal for many reasons, just to list a few:
- To build a family the younger the woman the more likely she bares healthy offspring with little or no abnormalities (the possibility of child born with Down’s Syndrome increases as mother-to-be approaches her 40’s).
- Having children before the age of 30 reduces the risk of developing breast cancer (this sucks! no pun intended).
- At about age 35 mother-to-be is considered high risk for miscarriage, eclampsia, stillbirth, death of both herself and baby (I did not want to mention this but let’s face it).
- If marriage fails there is still time and energy to pursue another one (lessons well learned).
- You get better mortgage rates.
- You get better insurance benefits especially if you are healthy.
- You stand a greater chance of actually spending a lot of time with your grandchildren.
I’m sure we can think of more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally against Child Marriages. No one should ever get married that young and being a grandmother at 22 is not cute. However, I believe marrying between the ages 24-33 ,at least, is young enough. In this age range more than likely one has a degree, a job, is better at managing finances, have goals and some sort of ambition. I have quite a number of my high school mates who have married before 30 and more have had children before this age too (yes they are educated, are employed and own their own businesses).