The reducing stigma around arranged marriages
There is an infamous video that has been circulating around social media for ages now, from the Netflix show ‘Dating Around’, which is a commentary on the culture of arranged marriages.
Arranged marriages are rooted in South Asian culture and they are not going away any time soon. Why is that not a bad thing? Because the arranged marriage that Western culture and mainstream media love to bash, does not exactly encompass the tradition.
Sure, we have all read about people being forced to marry each other on the grounds of social dictum and heritage, but what the mainstream media has ignored is consensual arranged marriages. Yes, believe it or not, there are people who are perfectly content with having their families arrange their marriage and there are so many variations and sub-variations of arranged marriages (love-arranged and self-arranged marriages).
A majority of the marriages in my family have been arranged and they are all happy. Because they have grown to love each other. No, not all these couples have met each other on their wedding days. Not all these couples were bartered for two cows and a goat. Not all these couples have a 30-year age difference. Yes, they do exist and it is horrible and they should absolutely be prevented but they do not represent all couples who have had an arranged marriage.
What is absolutely despicable is this portrayal of arranged marriages by Western cultures and the media is damaging people’s perception of how wholesome arranged marriages can be. Sure, most of us want to find love and marry ‘the one’ but making someone feel backward for opting for unconventional options is unacceptable.
Growing up in an Indian family, I always felt compelled to reject the idea of an arranged marriage because of the way that it is played out to be on television. I was conditioned to think that if I wanted to be a modern, bold, woman of colour, I had to question every Indian tradition because someone who knew absolutely nothing about my culture and its traditions decided to focus on the anomalies and decide that it was something that had to be antagonised.
Well, I was horribly wrong because at the end of the day marriage is an ambiguous term, which is a complex bond between two people and we need to be more open-minded about the manner in which we as well as other people define it. So, let people be happy on their own terms.
– The reader is a resident of Dubai.