Why Does Skin Color Matter in Indian Marriages?

by Sho Hamamoto

It seems that having fair skin still matters in Indian marriages. Many Indian men and women are suffering from an obsession with fair skin. Why is it important to have fair skin in Indian marriages? There are three possible reasons for the obsession. Jyotsna Vaid (2009) mentions maintaining the purity of the bloodstream of the upper castes and an association between darker skin and lower class working under a hot sun. India is a very strict class society due to the caste system and sensitive to social classes. This is one of reasons why the percentage of arranged marriages in India stands at 90%. Arranged marriages prevent marriages between different classes. Skin color is one of class symbols. As Glenn mentions, there is an association between darker skin and lower class working under a hot sun in India. Due to the fact that skin color represents one’s class in India, people prefer fair skin (upper class) to darker skin (lower class).

Agrawal (2012) provides another reason for the preference for fair skin is a mind-set by British rule. Under the British rule, Whites were superior to Indians (darker skin people). The legacy of British rule may still remain in the Indian society and create an image that lighter skin is superior to darker skin.

Lastly, media is a major contributor to creating an image that lighter skin is better than darker skin. In media including TV programs, ads, and movies, lighter skin tends to be described as a sophisticated feature. People on media tend to have fair skin and those media create an ideal image of people. As a result, people have had an image that lighter skin is more sophisticated than darker skin.

As seen above, skin color still matters in India marriages because of a strict class society in India, British rule, and an image that fair skin is sophisticated created by media. It is not easy to change the situation because you have to change the structure (class society, media and so on).

An interesting point is that an association between fair skin and “a sophisticated image” can be seen in many other countries, such as Japan, China, Korea, and Singapore. Why is the sophisticated image of fair skin shared in different countries? Personally, a class society has much to do with this phenomenon. Darker skin may be linked to lower class working under a hot sun while fair skin is linked to upper class. This historical image has created the sophisticated image of fair skin and media has bolstered the image. This can be an explanation for the shared image of fair skin in many different countries.


Agrawal, V. (2012). Why Indian men want fair skin brides? Retrieved from http://www.bollywoodshaadis.com/article/lifestyle–health/relationships/why-indian-men-want-fair-skin-brides

Glenn, E. (2009). Shades of difference. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Lancy. (2013, April 15). Does skin color really matter in Indian marriages?. Retrieved from http://browse.feedreader.com/c/Makeup_and_Beauty_Home/390094216

Statics Brain. (2012). Arranged/forced marriages statistics. Retrieved from http://www.statisticbrain.com/arranged-marriage-statistics/

Why Indian Men want Fair Skin Brides from www.bollywoodshaadis.com

Help Wanted!

Nowadays, jobs are hard to come by in Japan. Even if people graduate from university, they are jobless. Then what is going on in other countries?

In India, a shortage of executioners is serious problem now. There is capital punishment, and executioner is a hereditary post because India has caste system. There are one people in each state. But young people do not want to be it. In many countries, an executioner was victimized by society and strongly discriminated against in terms of jobs or marriage; therefore the role of executioner was usually limited to a specific social group or clan, and it is said that this is a reason for normalizing heredity.

There are 350 condemned criminals in India, but capital punishment has not been executed since 2004. So some of executioners did not work. Because of this, the number of it decreased. However, because of public pressure that capital punishment should be done, so the Indian government will have execution during the ensuing months.

A man who were born in a house of executioner, and his father who was same as him: an executioner died last year, so he succeeded his father following his death. If he can use rope well, a condemned person can die without pain. So he practices using it.

But there are few people who have positive feelings of wanting to be an executioner as him.

If you were born in that family, do you succeed it? In my case, honesty, I do not want to be it. After all, many people will not want to get a job which takes a one’s life.  For each country, the problem or environment of work is big different. Actually, the economy is in a depression, but there is such a job: the government recruits in the world.

by Ayaka Hori