This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ojaswini Srivastava. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

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

More from Ojaswini Srivastava

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.

Beauty

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.

You must be to comment.
  1. thecreativebent

    Sadly, in arrange marriages… all one can judge is money, physical beauty, education and family status . It is actually just a convenient “arrangement”. If we were all to marry when we fall in love…we would be able to judge people for their real beauty.. their soul,…. who they are and stuff… the things that truly matter. Dating may still be a challenge owing to the weird beauty standards society applies on both women and men… but I believe we still have more chances to marry the person who loves us for who we are…and even marry before or after “the right age” since love can come calling anytime.

    And I would actually want to point out that… it is not just the beauty… if a girl is say not really homely or “modern” as they say…. she will have problems too. The society just wants machine manufactured brides who fit so and so criteria… where is room for individuality?

    And whoever you are girl, I feel proud of you! Please carry on being awesome 😉

  2. Haquiquat!

    So you people need equality , then why cant u remain unmarried, most of men remain unmarried , cuz they had bigger dreams n couldn’t be able to settle early in their life, they are embracing bachelorhood why cant u accept spinsterhood………n you can’t thrust yourself on others , you told good men , so men also want good women … you didn’t talk about just men ……good men means wealthy men n they r fewer n beautiful girls r more than enough to suffice the need of even bad men so who ll pay attention on ugly girls…….

    1. Neha Jha

      Do u have any idea how insensitive you are being here? What is your definition of ‘good women’ ? The one who looks like Aishwarya Rai? When did she say good means handsome? And is it necessary that the one who looks good on the outside has to be good on the inside too? What if someone says the same about you? She just said that there’s no need of being judgmental about her because of the way she looks! Its unfortunate we have people like you in our society! And, by the way, wealthy men rarely come across as ‘good’. Beauty and power can make anyone go astray.
      Next time you post something like this, check your sensitivity quotient! And, let me tell u, no matter how much you cringe, a tough person is gonna take from you what is rightfully theirs!

    2. Karthika

      Here it is, we’d love to remain single and virgin and pursue our dreams. But obviously with the pressures from the society and the whole “Slut” idea prevents us or at least the family from doing it.
      Generally.

    3. TheCreepyOne

      Dear Hauqiquat,
      Why don’t people with mindsets like you, JUST DIE?!
      There is already enough dirt on Indian roads. We don’t need more of it in people’s minds. That’s all I’ve got to say, with all the offence intended.

  3. vidhi

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg1dEdWYN8s//Yeh Hai Aashiqui : Full Episode 20 – bindass (Official)
    a must watch episode connected to your article..
    specially for those who think dat girls who are healthy are ugly..and dont deserve good men..
    ugliness is in the mind of the viewer…every creature made by the creator is beautiful, is impeceable.

  4. nikita

    This is so true!!!!! UNFORTUNATELY!!!!! Dnt knw how much time will it take for people to change their mentality towards this! and to top up thanks to all beauty and fairness products that make you feel all the more inferior Even if u try ur best to feel beautiful you are distracted a 1001 times! and if by chance u tend to do a love marriage where the guy luks better than u! Oh then u had it! U r always made to realise that Damn u r too lucky! or looks that say…Oh he shud have deserved better than you!!!!

  5. Himalya

    This is so true.
    Even the prospective grooms think that way.
    The problem is we all have our own set definitions of beauty.
    But its much more than physical appearence.
    Its better to stay unmarried,then to put your respect at stake.
    Marriage is not everything.

  6. Babar

    I am not sure why this has to be an article that is gender biased, as there are countless women who look for slim and fair grooms, not to mention well settled. Furthermore, looking at your picture, I would say you are pretty slim and fair, so why the need for such self-victimization?

  7. Diksha

    I believe the marriage should be between two like-minded people and not between the individuals who “look great together” a girl should be judged by her abilities and capabilities not by how she looks or her shape or complexion. Our society is so obsessed with their own so called “ideas-of-beauty.” untill and unless we change this perspective of people we will be at loss… But once we change and treat every person irrespective of gender, complexion, shape, size, etc, etc… The “marriages-are-made-in-heaven” thing won’t come true.

  8. Diksha

    Sorry that was *will come true.

  9. swati

    this is the story of many girls.. but what confuses me is that if u have such views about urself.. if u think this about urself u would consider a lot many of us as ugly.. not dat i think that ways about myself. I would like to mention one thing here that in such cases the only wise thing the girl can do is to believe in herself and not explain it to any one else. Marriages, as i believe, are made in heaven and we just have to wait for the right guy and believe in ourselves until then. Not getting support from parents and society is a serious issue but we can ,not succumb ,to the pressures only when we do believe in ourselves. If, like our relatives or parents ,we admit that we are not beautiful, it is quite possible that we wont be able stand for ourselves for long.

  10. Voice of reason

    In a country like India, where arranged marriages are still a norm ( in many many parts of the country), what we must understand is that the entire concept is flawed in many ways. One of such flaw is the sham and shallow concept of “Beautiful wife”, while it is true that such non sense definitely exists in the society and a lot of “Un married daughters” do face this problem, the men are definitely not spared.
    One good look at a typical father of a prospective bride will tell you this, ” HUME TOH LARKA WELL SETTLED ( HE MEAN AN NRI, OR ATLEAST AN IIM/IIT PASSOUT) HI CAHIYE”. Trust me this puts a lot of pressure on the guys as well. In any social occasion most of your family members are busy telling people how goods an engineer you are, our how you bought a car for them ( no matter the amount of EMI!). As a boy this is ingrained in your system that if you don’t study well you may not get a good job and hence not a good wife ( or rather no wife at all). Many of you will be shocked that in many parts of India, the wealthy don’t shy away from giving crores of rupees as dowry for a civil servant groom, even with all their financial muscle they will not oppose this curse, nor will they settle for any one less then a civil servant. Few days back in a similar article in this very platform, someone commented that during the course of discussion, what came out was that many females also believe that it is better to be a male in this day and age as after all it is the grooms duty to provide for the family, and these females were pursuing their masters! ( i know that these people must be mentally sick and retarded).

    I am not here to say that in our society, we do not have perceptions of beauty and good wife etc, also i do agree that a large number of girls and their families are tormented because of the same mentality , all i am saying is that being a middle class boy in India is also not as easy as it looks

  11. Green Lantern

    You want a guy who is fair, smart, handsome, rich, humble, kind, loving, caring, gentle, tall, muscular etc. But…but….I should not look for a bride who is fair and in shape.

  12. The Joker

    THE HUSBAND STORE

    A store that sells new husbands has just opened in New York City, where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates.

    You may visit the store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the attributes of the men increase as the shopper ascends the flights. There is, however, a catch: you may choose any man from a particular floor, or you may choose to go up a floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!

    So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband…

    On each floor the signs on the doors read:

    Floor 1 – These men have jobs.

    Floor 2 – These men have jobs and love kids.

    Floor 3 – These men have jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking. “Wow,” she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going. She goes to the fourth floor and sign reads:

    Floor 4 – These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead good looking and help with the housework. “Oh, mercy me!” she exclaims, “I can hardly stand it!” Still, she goes to the fifth floor and sign reads:

    Floor 5 – These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead gorgeous, help with the housework, and have a strong romantic streak. She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor and the sign reads:

    Floor 6 – You are visitor 3,261,496,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.

    1. Voice of reason

      very very apt!

      Kudos for providing this example

  13. Anand Ujjwal

    Well, well, you compelled me to write, not because you write well, but because you are in my place. I am the real expositor.

    Well , coming to the matter, you need to be slim and fair to get picked up or to get sold( the business of arrainge marraige), not to get married.

    Marry someone whom you love and who loves you. He may feel a little bad about you being fat, but he will encourage you to be slim. He won’t leave you for that. Unfortunately, India lacks such men. You can only deal with it. We boys face the same , too. Indian girls tend to be hotter than other races, but lack a nice personality, integrity, and nature. That’s why I am single for long.

    it’s true that none is ugly, unless they are ill-fed .
    About being dark, real boys don’t care. My only love interest was dark(south Indian). Actually, I would’ve like her ever if she were purple. Being white doesn’t make you beautiful, which i can explain eplicitly, if i had the platform that you have.

    About being fat, yeahh, I admit it’s a negative point. When i see a fat girl, I instantly think that she is not health conscious or she doesn’t have any knowledge of Biology or what to eat and what not to. Actually,I have always kept my body in my control. I increase-decrease my weight according to the situation easily. I guess, i consciously expect the girl to be knowledgeable, too, which dissappoints me.

  14. Educated one

    Well well, a very poignant article. I feel everyone’s life is different and each experiences a different situation from another person. I shall try to be as unbiased as possible. I am not too dark, neither too fair skinned. Probably one who sees me can put me in the wheatish brown skin zone. Thats fine by me. God made me this way, So I dont want to oppose that. I have a Master’s Degree in Economics and an MBA SPJain Mumbai which translates to a conclusion that I’ve a fairly well rounded career. Sadly, none of my friendships ever blossomed into love. I mean it just didnt happen. I’ve amazing friends and I am thankful. Life has had its shares of ups and downs…Life back home with parents was never truly inspiring. My parents never got a divorce, but they fight a lot. It made me think I’d like to marry someone who is my friend, you know getting to know the person. Fair/Dark all this doesnt picture here. From an emotional level, I wanted a companion who is my best friend. Now lets come to the point I’ve being trying to make, the person I fell in love with was my classmate, we were good friends, he liked me too, but said I wasnt too fair for him (although he is pretty much the same skin tone as me, aah well sigh 🙁 ). I was a little shocked but i cant change his thoughts, so fine, let it go. So my mom and dad start searching on a matrimony website, for a long time, not much happens, then after 8-10 months, a guy from IIM, likes my profile and sends me a profile request on the website. His parent’s contact no. is there so my parents get in touch, from that end comes an amazing answer, “we need a fair, slim girl, your daughter does not cater to that criteria, probably my son made a mistake”.
    Now to some of the above comments, someone said, you want a fair rich guy. Well, mister I have an amazing career myself, So NO, I dont need a fair/rich guy. I need a companion who isnt an asshole like you. According to the matrimony website, I am wheatish brown, slim, well educated but I still dont FIGURE in the FAIR, slim, well educated CRAP. So WHAT does this TELL about the society? is the FAIR skin going to treat you well for sure?? Is FAIR going to be actually fair in life?

    Give it a thought. Goodbye.

  15. n

    As a single woman I was considered very fat by Indian standards (have a size 16 bottom and a very slim top half) and was always passed over by potential arranged suitors in favour of my size zero sister. As soon as I gave up on the idea of an arranged marriage I fell enough with a man who accepted me for who I was.

    Several years and children later I am still the same size as I was when we married, but am now considered slim in comparison to my married contempories who despite being slimmer when they were younger let themselves go after children.

  16. Guy

    Everyone has a right to preference. For every girl being rejected over being dark/overweight, there is a guy getting rejected over being not tall enough, rich enough, not having an NRI job etc, and in fact also over being dark/overweight for that matter. If some guys find fair and slim girls attractive, it is their preference, just like it is a girls preference to accept or reject someone over some factor, no need to judge anyone here. Let’s face it, life is not fair(pun intended). I don’t feel it is right to criticize someone over their personal preferences. Some people are born privileged(money, looks etc), some are not. It is much easier in life for some than others. There is nothing anyone can do about it, so better learn to deal with it and embrace the reality and make the most out of it as you can. Remember, there are people with much bigger problems out there, in front of whose problems lamentations about being dark/overweight sounds like a joke.

More from Ojaswini Srivastava

Similar Posts

By Mushin No Shin

By Payoja Bhakre

By Sakshi Tyagi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below