The Toxic Marriage Market in India


The arranged marriage system in India is overly toxic and biased. Let us look at some of the factors which makes it so.

Unlike in the west, In India, the job of finding a life partner for you is still majorly handed over to your parents.  Arranged marriages are still a very big part of Indian culture. But this whole system is overly toxic and biased. Let us look at some points of arranged marriage that are toxic towards the woman.

1.      The Dowry System

Above all the dowry system is the worst thing attached to marriages. It is a sum of money that the bride’s family gives to the groom’s family as a token for the marriage. This can range from lakhs of money to expensive cars and property.

Even when dowry is illegal in India, it is still a very prevalent social norm. Some families even seem to think that getting dowry is their right. And brides are judged according to the amount of dowry their family can give. The higher the dowry, the better the girl’s chances of marrying that guy.

2.      The Educated but Homely wife

 Many matrimonial ads have the term ‘educated but homely wife needed’. That means every family wants an educated wife. The higher the degree of the bride is, the better chances she has with a man with a high education level. However, all this degree is not useful for the bride after marriage, as the ‘homely’ part strips her of her right to work and earn money.

And even if she is working, she is expected to spend most of her attention on the house and household chores and then on her career. No one wants a career-oriented wife or daughter-in-law. But that does not mean they would want an uneducated or under-educated bride either. This system is becoming the prime reason for the increasing number of homemakers in India.

 3.       The Younger the Better Bride

When a girl turns 28 or 30, her market value in the marriage market declines. But there is not much market value attached to the age of the guys. A guy needs to marry a younger bride for sure and the younger the bride is, the better. Although there are people who look for a 2- or 3-years age gap maximum, a bigger age gap is forgivable as well, as long as the wife is younger than the husband.

In this type of situation, the older girls get rejected just because of their age. The demand for girls aged around 30 is constantly falling in semi-urban India, however, there are still girls who get married extremely young. 

4.       The Fair Skin Obsession.

Many matrimonial ads even blatantly ask for fair skin brides. The fairer the girl is, she had more chances to get married to a guy with better attributes. This just does not stop at fair skin, it also accounts for the beauty of the bride. Colour, weight, height everything is taken into account when they assess and give points to a bride. Though the same is applicable for guys too, a guy’s point is given more based on the zeros on his salary or the position he is in his job.

5.       The Salary factors

Another odd thing is that a wife can never have a higher salary than her husband. So with all of the above factors, beauty, education and being homely, she should also not have more salary than her husband.

Normally an arranged marriage in India happens after checking all these factors. They say that an Indian marriage is a union between two families. But more than a union between families, it is more like a business deal that is happening. Therefore a lot of young Indians are opting to not get involved with this toxic setup. They either find partners for themselves or opt to remain single forever.

-Staff Reporter

Leave a Reply