Why does our society love age-shaming middle aged women for dressing up on weddings?

The sexist mindset that women cannot dress up lavishly at weddings when they become middle-aged needs to be debunked!

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal

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More than cricket or hockey, the sport that unites the entire country quickly is commonly harassing and policing women. We love telling confident women to quiet down because it makes them unattractive when they assert their individuality and express their own choices to wear what they want or where they go, more than we love fighting for human rights causes that require more attention than a woman’s bare shoulders.

Which is why its no surprise that PMLN politician Maryam Nawaz became a target of trolls last night when pictures of her emerged from her son’s wedding where she was seen dressed lavishly, quite a shock for men who cannot seem to fathom that a woman would express her joy at an event.

The trolling began when a user shared a picture of Maryam Nawaz sitting next to the groom, and he claimed that the politician was an “attention seeker” who was trying to steal the spotlight away from the couple by dressing up lavishly. Why can’t a woman dress up at her son’s wedding Basheer? Do women lose their individuality and beauty after marriage? Twitter users began criticizing this sexist take and came to Maryam Nawaz’s defense by pointing out that our society needs to stop gate keeping middle aged women from enjoying their lives because surprise surprise, women are human beings too.

Founder of Soul Sisters Pakistan and entrepreneur Kanwal Ahmed wrote a passionate defense of Maryam Nawaz’s choice of clothing on Twitter and how the sexist assumption that women are competing with each other to look more beautiful at weddings is completely false. She pointed out that no woman owes anyone, especially some stranger on the internet, any justification for how she chooses to dress up.

Weddings are a place of joy and inclusivity, not a place where we gate keep who gets to express their happiness and who doesn’t. Like Maryam Nawaz, our society discards middle aged women after their marriage and isolates them from enjoying public spaces because we assume that they’re retiring and should focus on their home more. Where is this same energy when it comes to men who continue participating events even after marriage and when they’re also middle-aged? We don’t stop men from indulging in the same activities they did when they were young, or brand them as “shameless” or “awaragard” when they dress up for events, because of how deeply entrenched these double standards are in our society.

Let us once more bring back this fierce exchange in the drama “Dobara”, where Mehru Nisa gives a befitting response to her relatives who criticize her for being “immoral” and bringing shame to the family when she dresses up lavishly for her son’s wedding and even dances with the rest of the girls. In this clip, Mehru Nisa reminds her son and sister in law that before she is a mother, she is a human being who has every right to express her individuality and doesn’t need to hide herself away after her husband’s death but will continue looking after her mental health.