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Friday, June 16, 2006

Fairy Tales

“After getting married, Cinderella and Prince lived together happily ever after.”

This misleading ending of a fairy tale has lulled many (naïve) girls. Since many fairy tales like that have happy ending after getting married, many (naïve) girls believe that to get rid of unhappiness in their life, they’ve got to find their prince charming soon, get married, and then “live happily ever after”. And since there is no fairy tale talking about marriage with its complicated problem, quarrel, misunderstanding, until domestic violence after the wedding day, many (naïve) girls believe that marriage is the only door of happiness in their life.

One workmate of mine is one example I want to illustrate here.

Now she is around 37 years old. She got married two years ago, with a guy nine years younger than she is, and he comes from a different social class from her. My friend is from middle class society, while her husband is from low class; she graduated from college with bachelor’s degree, while her husband graduated from senior high school.

They knew each other only for about three-four months before they decided to get married. I believe it made them not know each other well yet after the wedding day. Consequently, they needed time to adjust each other. And I believe the different social class made them need a long time for the adaptation, and in some cases perhaps it is really difficult for them to go through.

Why did my friend agree to marry him?

I relate it to the “marriage-oriented society” in Indonesia. She must have felt bothered by many questions from people around her; such as, “Who is your boyfriend?” “When will you get married?” “Why don’t you get married soon now that you are above thirty?” etc.

As a naïve person, she must have agreed with the consensus—that you are happy only if you are married. Therefore, she must have thought that there was something wrong with her. And, after a guy proposed her to marry him, she didn’t take a long time to consider it before accepting it. Besides, she didn’t think that even though getting married would make her get rid of those annoying questions and suspicious looks from people around, getting married wouldn’t free her from life problems in different forms.

There is a “joke” in Indonesia about getting married. “In fact the comfort of getting married only comprises 10%. The other 90% is very very “nice”, “comfortable”, “delicious”. Bla bla bla …”
And my workmate, disappointedly said, “It is a big shit. In fact the other 90% comprises struggle, sacrifice, sometimes fight, etc.” She kept on saying, “Why didn’t those old generations tell us the truth? Don’t give young generations false illustration about getting married! Tell them the fact that marriage is not only about “delicious” things, but it is also about difficult struggle, sacrifice, fight, etc.”

Indeed, my friend’s problem is complicated and she is “awakened” by her own experience that marriage life is not as beautiful and easy as it seems. Her own problems are resulted from

1. her naivety in viewing marriage (however, she got that false illustration from what she got from her surrounding)
2. marrying someone who doesn’t have similar social class
3. the marriage-oriented society that made her not comfortable to go on living single so that she decided to marry the first guy who proposed her

Recently she often says, “I really hate that false saying, ‘and then they live together happily ever after’. It really misled me, as it did to many other girls around me.”

PT56 08.29 160606


Agusti Anwar said...

Hi Nana. I think this Cinderella thing is not all misleading. You should see it from a different take. You see, Cinderella deserved to be happy (ever after), since her past life had been a full effort coloured by so many misfortunes. To reach the marriage with the Prince, she worked hard. Both fought to be together. It is simply logical that after all those difficulties, a happy future should be all ready. The message is that there is always good thing in store if you work it out. This is the essence to be inculcated in the heart. In short, the Cinderella story, even in real life, is about hope and hope for the best we must. Salam, Anwar.

Nana Podungge said...

Hello Anwar,

hahayyyy ... better late than never ya? You wrote the comment almost six years ago, and I found it JUST NOW. hehehehe ...

We both for sure view this fairy tale from two different points. Feminists opine that this fairy tale is misleading because the story just sells happiness in marriage while in fact marriage is not just about happiness, it is much more complicated than that.

Anyway, I understand what you wrote here. Poor people who have worked hard will get the fruit of it. :)