The Indian marriage market, which profits from our obsession with the institution reduces brides to their physical appearance. No matter her qualifications, professional achievements, an Indian girl is always pitched to prospective grooms as beautiful. That is the first of the long list of check boxes she must have ticked if she ever wants to find suitors swooning over her. And the “ultra-rich” of India are also not immune to these fake standards. At least that is what this ad for The Grand National Young Achievers Matrimony Meet wants us to believe.
It's 2018 and there's a young achievers matrimony meet that promises beautiful girls. This whole thing is regressive on so many counts. pic.twitter.com/qgp8qAXMsZ
— Nandita Iyer (@saffrontrail) July 25, 2018
Is there nothing more to brides than being beautiful?
This advertisement is wrong on so many levels. The ad reiterates that this is a matrimony meet solely for the “ultra-rich families”, celebrities and young successful people. However, this elitist shrug off to us poor people is not the biggest turnoff. Under the column of “young achievers”, it lists fancy titles which count as achievements these days. Yes, being a successful entrepreneur, eminent professional like scientist, IAS, IPS etc, IIM degrees do make a person successful. However, in the same breath, the makers mention another achievement – “beautiful girls”.
So, all women who are not complimented for their look often, we are already losers in life. As beauty is apparently the most socially relevant achievement for our kind.
- The Grand National Young Achievers Matrimony Meet advertises classifies “beautiful girls” under the category of young achievers.
- Even in 2018, the USP of any bride in India is her physical beauty.
- This advertisement is a visual manifestation of our deep-seated misogynist mentality.
- Marriage in India is an alliance of convenience, not compatibility.
A girl who is “beautiful” is already an achiever. She will have rich families and IIT graduates eating out of her hand. Nobody wants a female entrepreneur, doctor, engineer, researcher, fashion designer because all she will bring home is money and respect. Nobody wants that. All the families want is an ornament they can prop in their house, which will gleam and glitter and make them look fancier.
This is why matrimony has become a market in India. Marriage is an alliance here, of prestige, money, social standing and shallow standards of approval. The groom is only an achiever when he is an IIT or IIM graduate. The bride is only suitable if she is beautiful. Yet we worry why so many Indian couples live an unhappy married life. When allegiance stems from social standards and not personal compatibility, how else will it culminate?
The matrimony service is not the only one at fault here. They have designed this advertisement knowing what will lure people to pay the high attendance fee. It is the people whom I blame more.
This is not an isolated example of our superficial standards for matrimonial alliance. Ask any Indian family and they will tell you these exact criteria for prospective brides or grooms. Rich, ultra-rich, middle class or poor, women are reduced to their physical appearance in all slabs of our society. No one gives a damn about their professional achievements, degrees or personality. Does our society consider brides even as humans? When all that is expected of them is to look pretty?
These standards point to our society’s misogynist mindset. If families want couples to have a happy married life, then they need to change these standards. They need to encourage alliances based on compatibility, not convenience and fulfillment of social expectations. Unless that happens, marriage will remain a business in this country. A profitable one for matrimonial services, but one incurring loss lasting a lifetime for the people involved.
Photo Credit: Independent Co.UK
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.