#Opinion

For Future Brides, Let’s Stop the Beauty Test

Stop the beauty test Dove new ad, unilever

Stop the beauty test. Slim, fair, and beautiful. These words collectively and individually sum up what most Indian households desire, when they set out looking for brides. Even in 2021, us as a society have no qualms in openly seeking out beautiful brides. Nowhere are these biases more evident, than in matrimonial ads. As a society we must Stop the Beauty Test.

Ads seeking brides are brimming with stereotypical notions of beauty that judge women on basis of their skin tone, height, hair texture and weight even today. 9 out of 10 girls believe they are judged or rejected based on their looks during the matchmaking process.

As a result of which brides-to-be are often offered suggestions that could help increase their prospects of marriage, or basically fit in what matrimonial ads may describe as beautiful. Lose a bit of weight so that you look “shapely” in a saree, straighten out your hair, curls make you look unruly. Why don’t you get a skin lightening treatment? Or find a way to cover that birth mark on your chin? You are already so tall, do not wear heels when THEY come to see you.

A survey by Dove shows women have to do many things to undergo the marriage process. For example, 46% used photoshopped pictures as profiles, 61% used make up to look fairer.

 

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Our height, our physique, our skin colour, our lips, the texture of our hair; all these things make us, us. But matrimonial ads have only one definition of beauty.

It is time that we as a society break free of beauty standards. Every one of us is beautiful. So the way we write matrimonial ads is what needs to change. So let’s stop the beauty test.

For instance, on matchmaking site Shaadi.com, Dove will remind users to not entertain the stereotypical criteria of slim, tall and fair, while scanning through bridal profiles.

With Times Matrimonial, Dove has offered to rewrite ads in a manner that they are free of beauty biases in a special highlighted column for the newspaper’s matrimonial section, for free.

These are small but monumental measures that could one day lead to a giant shift in the way Indian families seek brides. We can all be a part of this crucial conversation. Every bride is beautiful no matter whether she is short or tall, has a mark on her face or not. All you need to do is to compliment every bride-to-be, instead of telling her what she needs to change about her to be more “desirable”. Because the truth is, it’s not she who needs to change, it’s our perspective that needs to change.

This article is in partnership with Dove India

 

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