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Can we stop the narrow ideal of beauty in the arranged marriage process?

Rajeshwari was not seen as tall enough.

According to a recent survey, 68 percent claimed that rejections based on beauty during the arranged marriage process impacted their self-esteem and confidence

By Puja Gupta

February 26, 2021 (IANSlife) According to recent survey, nine out of ten women in India feel they are judged and rejected based on their looks during the marriage process.  

Moreover, 68 percent claimed that rejections based on beauty during the arranged marriage process impacted their self-esteem and confidence, reveals the “India’s Beauty Test (2020)” survey conducted by Dove.  

 

Dove #StopTheBeautyTest
Dove #StopTheBeautyTest

 

Conducted by interviewing 1,057 women in the age group 18-35 from 17 cities across India, the report reveals these unsettling statistics about the pressures and anxieties around conforming to a narrow ideal of beauty in the run-up to arranged marriage.  

Urging people to stop the ‘beauty test’, Dove’s has launched #StopTheBeautyTest. Under the campaign, the brand has released a film under its campaign, which is born out of conversations with women from across the country, captures some raw situations where women are judged during the matchmaking process for not being beautiful enough. It goes on to emphasise the unspoken impact of these judgements on their self-esteem and body confidence. 

 

Deeksha's birthmark made her less beautiful
Deeksha's birthmark made her less beautiful

 

Through real stories enacted by real women, the film sends out a powerful message – ‘We must stop putting women through this unjust beauty test’.  

Priya Nair, Executive Director, HUL & VP – Beauty and Personal Care South Asia opined: “In a country of 631 million women, it is unfortunate that there is such intense pressure to adhere to one definition of beauty. As owners of some of the largest beauty brands in the country, the onus to make beauty more positive and more inclusive is on us. Dove has always believed that beauty should be source of confidence, not anxiety. With #StopTheBeautyTest, we want to go one step forward in that direction.” 

 

Curls made Hemali less beautiful.
Curls made Hemali less beautiful.

 

Supporting the campaign objective, Dove is partnering with leading matrimonial platforms, based on the shared belief that the matchmaking process should be free of beauty biases.  

Dove and Shaadi.com have also come together to encourage users on the platform to look beyond body type, complexion, scars on face or hair type and length, to see new sizes and shades of beautiful.  

 

Noor was not seen as beautiful enough.
Noor was not seen as beautiful enough.

 

In addition, Dove will also help rewrite matrimonial ads free of beauty biases to drive significant change in this direction. It will also partner with women magazines in India, to celebrate the beauty of women who were not seen as beautiful enough in the run-up to marriage.  

In a partnership with UNICEF, the Dove self-esteem project aims to reach 6.25 million girls and boys in schools by 2024 to improve their knowledge and skills so that they enhance their body confidence and self-esteem through education materials to realize their full potential in India. 

 

 

(This article is website exclusive and cannot be reproduced without the permission of IANSlife) 

Puja Gupta can be contacted at puja.g@ians.in