Why Indians can’t get over ‘Educated and Homely’ girl when it comes to marriage?

Do Indian men still look for educated and homely girls?

If you live in India and have ever seen a newspaper, you have no way of missing out on its matrimonial section, unless you consciously decide to avoid it because this section carries every day. This is one of the most sexist, racist, and elitist commercials you will see on a daily basis. And honestly, the fact that nothing has changed even in 2021 says a lot about the country we live in.

India's obsession with Educated and homely girl

We talk about culture, tradition but still Indian men are looking for homely girls with little education. They want women with education but not enough to go out and work. To make the picture clearer for you, let me tell you about the film “Thappad”. The woman in the movie depicted a perfect homely girl with an education. Her only dream and aspiration is to take care of her family. She loves to dance but her passion died long ago.

India’s obsession with Educated and homely girl

Thousands of ads depict that Indian men and families want an educated girl because, after all, they have to brag about it to their relatives, neighbors, and everyone who has ever had the fortune of making their acquaintance. educated men refuse to marry women who are rural and uneducated. But the same men refused to marry those women who have good jobs and perfect salary packages. They have a fear of competition.

India's obsession with Educated and homely girl

What does a homely girl mean? A homely girl is the one who wakes up before anyone else in the home, she cooks breakfast, lunch, evening chai, and dinner for everyone in the house. She avoids going out as much as possible.She does ‘solah sringar’ and is ‘sarvagun sampann’. Basically, she’s an actress from the Sooraj Barjatya movie. Sooraj Barjatya’s movie topped with a dollop of sexism, misogyny, and so-called traditional values that don’t allow women to work outside the kitchen. She is educated but still, she needs men’s approval to do something.

Bollywood movies often use the trope of a modern husband hating his uneducated and not-so-modern wife for wearing a saree to a cocktail party or a kameez salwar to the beaches of Goa.

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What does data and study say?

According to the data, enrollment of girls in higher education has significantly increased from 39 percent to 46 per cent from 2007 to 2014. More women are enrolling themselves for undergraduate courses too. However, fewer women go for professional courses like Engineering, PhDs, etc.

According to a 2019 study, around 42 percent of women were enrolled in PhDs.  According to data by World Bank, their workforce participation has also dwindled from 30.27 in 1990 to 20.8 in 2019. We can clearly see, more and more women are getting education but labour participation of women is less.

How films and television depict educated and homely girls?

Films and television played an important role in depicting homely women. In Soaps, women are bound to cook for everyone. She wakes up early, makes tea for her husband. She is traditional and has to take care of her home, wearing saree and traditional clothes. She wears sindoor and wears mangalsutra.

A perfect educated and homely girl who can teach her children. Many Indian families prefer an educated daughter-in-law to teach their future grandchildren. Indian parents will proudly boast about their son’s late working hours but will look down upon their bahu if she does the same. Indians have absent fathers but mothers should be always available for 24 hours. Women are left with the responsibility of raising their kids all on their own.

India's obsession with Educated and homely girl

In Bollywood movies too, men are handling business and taking care of the finances and traveling but women are taking care of household chores. Now the time is changing in Indian movies too but still, women remain in the kitchen.

The advertisements are nothing but, in the name of modernity and traditionalism, an expression of patriarchy which stops women from working outside. We need to work upon this and start having conversations around sexist, misogynistic advertisements. These advertisements should change for the better world we want to create for our women in the house.

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Jagisha Arora

MA in History. Writes on gender, caste, and social issues. Believe in Dr. BR Ambedkar and Democracy
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