mainly included a woman's height, weight and skin colour.
Indian matrimonial sites are an important factor when it comes to arranged marriages.
More than 50% of the world’s marriages are arranged, with many of them taking place in India and other South Asian countries.
But despite the 21st century, skin colour still plays a part.
The obsession with fair skin is still notorious within South Asian communities.
There is the notion that fair skin makes a bride more attractive. Meanwhile, the bride’s personality and life experiences are completely ignored.
Some grooms experience this issue also.
The obsession has also seen skin lightening creams endorsed by Bollywood stars. However, more stars have now come out and said that they are not endorsing them any longer.
It is not just those involved who are obsessed with fair skin, some Indian matrimonial still have the description of skin colour.
In one case, an unemployed man from Bihar put up a matrimonial advert, listing his specifications for his desired bride.
In the advert, he wanted his bride to be “very fair, beautiful, very loyal, very trustworthy, loving, caring, brave, powerful, rich”.
He also wanted his wife to be “an excellent cook”.
The advert went viral and some people said they did not like the fact that such adverts exist and are mainly targeted towards women.
Darker-skin women tend to find it more difficult when it comes to arranged marriages.
But it is not female related.
A survey by matrimonial site jeevansathi.com found that 71% of women preferred fair skin men.
It was also found that 65-70% of male users mentioned their skin colour as ‘fair’.
A study by ET Brand Equity found that 25% of Indian matrimonial adverts focused on a specific physical appearance.
This mainly included a woman’s height, weight and skin colour.
India’s Beauty Test report stated that 68% of women wanted matrimonial sites to ban the words ‘slim’, ‘tall’ and ‘fair’.
After all, marriage should be about two people’s commitment to one another and not on body type, skin colour and height.
A rejection on the basis of one’s appearance not only affects morale but also self-confidence.
In a bid to shift away from regressive beliefs, Dove has launched a campaign called #StopTheBeautyTest.
It believes that the matchmaking process should be free of beauty biases, collaborating with Times Matrimonial.
It aims to widen the beauty perspective of those looking for slim, tall and fair brides.
Dove will help readers rewrite their ads to make them beauty inclusive.
Readers will need to send their matrimonial ads to firstname.lastname@example.org and Dove will edit their ads in a beauty-bias free manner.
It will then be published in a special highlighted column in the matrimonial section for free.
The intention is to end the stereotypical beauty standards set by society and encourage everyone to relabel what society calls flaws
The aim of #StopTheBeautyTest is to end the stereotypical beauty standards set by society and encourage everyone to relabel what society calls flaws as what Dove terms as beauty.
With Shaadi.com getting rid of its skin tone filter in 2020, only time will tell if Indian matrimonial sites move away from the notion that fair is beautiful.