Why Do I Need To Be Slim And Fair To Get Married?

Posted on January 10, 2014 in Body Image, Society, Staff Picks, Taboos

By Ojaswini Srivastava:

I am a girl, I love clothes, I love shoes, I love accessories and I love shopping. I may sound like a very stereotypical character but I am only stating the truth. Well, I am not going to talk about anything like shopping and clothes here of course. What I want to talk about is the shallow concept of beauty that our society preaches.


When you read the above lines, you must have assumed that I am someone who would love to dress up and look all dolled up and pretty every time. I don’t. From your typical point of view, I will be- a girl, 5 feet tall (or short, whatever you prefer), with black round ‘extra-large’ eyes, thick pale pink lips, long jet black super curly bulky hair. People in general won’t call me beautiful. I am not a conventionally pretty girl. Our stereotypes and prejudices will never allow you to call me beautiful. No, really, I am fairly fat and not so fair, also I don’t have perfect hair and gorgeous features. Yes, now I am a burden to my parents since I have least chances to get married at the “right age”. I am a burden to my family; they will have a hard time getting me married off. No, it does not count that I am talented, it does not count that I am educated, it does not count that I can make some delicious food, it does not count that I am an amiable person, it does not count that I have a good upbringing, it does not count that I am independent, it does not count whatever qualities I may have to be a nice life partner. I just don’t have a pretty face, I am not slim and not very fair, so, I cannot be an ideal match for any guy. My parents will have to keep looking for a groom for me and must get me married off as early as possible so that later my age does not pile on to my “ugliness” and further lessen my chances to get married. My parents may have to give a huge dowry (no matter it is illegal, we do everything illegal) but that will be necessary because my in-laws will be taking me in – a not so beautiful bride.

This is the harsh reality for the daughters of hundred thousands of typical middle class or poorer families: A girl is first of all not a “possession” of her biological parents, and if she is not beautiful in terms of conventions — slim, fair, and tall, etc., she is a huge burden to her parents.

I am luckily sure that nothing said above is true of my parents and brother. They appreciate me for what I am and surely believe I am beautiful in my own way. But I am also sure of two other things. First, many of my relatives may have such thoughts about me, as I am not a conventionally beautiful girl (as they feel). Secondly, 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. All those people who think I or another girl like me is not beautiful because she is not slim, fair, tall and sharp-featured, let me tell you, you are wrong. 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. I request people to please pay attention here and understand and consequently stand against this vice of our society.