Saturday, 25 November 2017

How Much Does Skin Color, Height, etc. Really Matter in Indian Marriages?

From skin-lightening lotions and creams, to matrimonial ads that specify ‘light-skinned’ or ‘fair’ bride, it is often implicitly understood that a woman with a lighter skin tone is more desirable. However, would it still raise eyebrows in an urban set-up? Yes, it does.

We are all curious beings; sometimes judgemental as well.

Are you “fair,” “wheatish,” or “very fair” or "white"?

Probably you are “wheatish” or “dark”, and hence you stumbled upon this post. And if you are fair, “very fair”, probably you have things a little simpler in this world, as far as marriage goes, probably.

Have you seen matrimonial ads on newspapers and internet? Most of the families want ‘fair’ brides and grooms. Don’t you find it funny? But this 'colourism' is a very serious issue to be discussed. 

This make youngsters in India, especially girls depressed who are in marital age. Not only women, men too experience these kind of hurdles in India when it comes to arranged marriages.

Why should you marry a guy or a girl from a family who care about your ‘skin tone’ but not your talent or nature? Doesn’t it sound odd to you? Do you think you will have a happy life with your partner if you change your born skin color by applying those fairness creams and doing beauty treatments?

So many people are all rounders; good at studies and etc but why people become so submissive when it comes to this kind of Indian traditional rules?

A person’s skin tone is decided by genes and birth. Being pale doesn’t mean that you’re a beauty queen and being dark or wheatish doesn’t mean that you are ugly. Being healthy and confident is the ‘real beauty’ in my view. Fair or dark, you are beautiful if you have a beautiful mind and healthy physique and not to forget a happy smiling face all the time. 

I have seen hundreds of dark and beautiful people including top celebrities. First understand that your skin tone is not a factor that measures your beauty. I kindly request you NOT to undergo any skin lightening treatments or something to WHITEN your skin for marriage purpose. Marriage is a beautiful bond between two loving humans and their families. Let it not become a business deal.

Several girls, from infancy, carry the burden of marriage on their young shoulders. And if that weren’t enough, there’s the added worry of skin colour that decides your fate, both for social acceptance and future marriage. Being fair/light is a solution for some, and for dark/wheatish, is to watch their parents save money for dowry, or better still, heed mother’s advice and use a fairness product. I was always proud of being a girl, but in a world like today - I feel it is a burden to be one.

The Internationally-acclaimed, Indian social beauty-meter says you need to be SLIM, BEAUTIFUL, FAIR (In some cases, WHITE!), have a height good enough to get married. Agar aapke paas inme se koi ek cheez bhi nahi hai, toh sorry, aapka kaam zara mushkil hai!  

The girl is also judged based upon her efficiency in domestic chores such as cooking, stitching, and cleaning. Why? Maybe she doesn't know all the above, because she was too busy educating herself. She will eventually learn.

Most matrimonial ads today tout skin colour, especially when the person being advertised is fair. Most ads, though, sell skin as the ubiquitous “wheatish,” a word describing skin colour that ONLY exists in India, and whose etymology I am still unclear about.

After all, just take a look at the Indian consumer market, crowded with umpteen varieties of men’s fairness screen, and then the advertising, more robust than ever before, where even men have jumped on the fairness bandwagon, led by the ironically dark-skinned role-model Shahrukh Khan.

Educated girls, aren’t getting married these days, because they fail to meet the beauty standards set by the groom and his beloved mother! Every mother wants a bahu endowed with at least fair skin for her adorable son. And their most hilarious reason is: fair bahus will give birth to fair, whiter-than-milk grandchildren.

 No one asks you about the struggle you put up to educate yourself, firstly you are checked for your skin color, height, and educational qualifications if any, come quite later, girl.

I want to question the society which breaks a million girls’ hearts on a daily basis, that why is fairness the ONLY meter to judge someone’s beauty? Why? Her mindset will raise your children, not her body and good looks. Choose wisely. Stop falling prey to dogmatic views.

For the spineless guys, who are scared to fall for a dusky or a dark girl -

Probably, I have nothing to say to you, except that you will only realise the impact of this discrimination when it will come down to your own daughter, some day.

Girls – Be proud of your skin tone, you don’t need to apply ubtans, and other fairness remedies, or choose a foundation 2 shades lighter than your skin. There’s absolutely no need for it.

I agree that these practices are slowing fading away, but still it hasn’t been completely abolished. Only if you don’t support these silly cultures, our country will develop. We shouldn’t follow the wrong path knowingly as that will be a bad example for others. As much as I love Indian culture and traditions, there are few things I hate about it to core. To abolish these kind of practices such as choosing brides seeing skin color, dowry system and etc in India, we youngsters should STOP following it! 

I don’t understand this idea – some Indian guys and their families who do this match fixing preludes, where they check out the potential bride physically and then set an eye on another girl in the house, the base being that girl is better looking than the bride and that is directly proportional to being fairer than the bride. Excuse me, are you in a cow market for you to choose a cow? Are Indian women decorative items for you to select and spurn at will? What if the girl you came to scrutinize says that your brother is better looking than you and that she would choose him over you? You’ll get bull mad right? 

Indeed, dark skinned Indian girls who have been rejected by potential suitors are made to believe that the fault lies within themselves. They are told by every Indian aunty to settle for any loser because they have a perceived lesser skin tone. Dark skinned Indian girls of marriageable age are told to play down their expectations when searching for a man to marry. If they are too choosy, they will end up being spinsters, such busybody aunties say.

If a dark skinned Indian girl in her 30s is still unmarried, Indian people are quick to comment that she must be meticulous in choosing a husband, hence left on the shelf.

So many girls see their parents struggle to find a groom for them and get married as early as possible so that later their age does not pile on to their“ugliness” and further lessen the chances to get married. This is the story of thousands of ‘unmarried daughters’ in our society. They face this bitter truth everyday, where their families fight their concern over how to get their daughters married and settled overcoming their being ‘unbeautiful’.

This is evil. Every girl, every woman and every human being is beautiful. Beauty is a state of mind. Beauty is a feeling. We are all worthy of being married to good men and live a happy life- without compromising, giving a huge dowry or anything of the sort. Such behavior of the family and society is very dangerous for a girl to build her self-esteem and realize her worth.

Mindsets need to change. Collectively, Indian people should learn to give credit to dark skinned Indian girls’ potential and ability rather than harp negatively over their skin tone. A girls’ potential and abilities will move mountains and make a home – their skin colour won’t.

This obsession with fair skin doesn’t seem to be fading any  time soon. It is so far ingrained in our society that it has now become a  subconscious part of our psyche. So much in the name education,  emancipation, love and holy matrimony!

Girls are also rejected on the grounds that they wanted to work after marriage and do something in their life.

At times, grooms are just looking for partners who are hep but, after marriage, they want the same woman to be a homemaker. They want arm candies outside the house but a working cow once you are inside the four walls of a house.

Discrimination will never end. In fact, it's discrimination that is pouring money into the pockets of Fair & Lovely. I really am truly sorry to see the intellectual capacity of such people who value appearances. "All that glitters is not gold".

But, but... Real relationships are complex!

I can only say that they require a lot of patience, a large heart, the willingness to learn and unlearn and to be able to do so with grace and goodwill. Fortunately, none of these things are dependent on how a person looks – be it, the man or the woman. Of course, you need to be attracted to each other but attraction works on several levels. And in the end, whether you have had an arranged marriage or a love marriage, most marriages that are happy are the ones in which both the husband and the wife, are working hard – listening to each other, communicating, improving.

To all dark skinned Indian girls out there, you are worth so much more than your skin colour and if anyone tells you otherwise, don’t believe them. Their small mindedness is not your fault. If anyone downgrades your deliciously choc colour, tell them, "Then it’s your problem, not mine," and strut away, head held high, bursting with confidence of being a sexy dark skinned Indian girl. Feel sorry for those who failed to see you as the awesome dark skinned Indian woman you are both inside and out. It is your life so marry a man who loves you for all your virtues and convictions and character, not one who nitpicks on your skin tone.

Remember, marriage is not what life is all about. I have made marriage a centre point in this post - because colorism and shade cards are concepts prevalent in the matters of marriage. If you have to compromise on your self-respect and be with someone, I would suggest, be alone!

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to hurt anyone. Apologies if you are sensitive!


  1. Nicely written. All people be it guys, girls, dark,fair whatever need to be self sufficient and confident about oneself. Things will workout eventually if ppl have more self belief than listening to others.��


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