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Marketing Marriage and Colorism in India

  • Komal K. Dhillon-JamersonEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter provides an analysis of pigmentocracy in the context of matrimonials in India by considering existing literature and real-world examples. By examining the role of skin color in the social spheres of caste and class as they relate to matchmaking, I demonstrate the intersectional ways in which women’s lives are impacted. In postcolonial and patriarchal cultural settings, skin color is a factor that is often considered in potential grooms and brides. The negotiation process entailed in arranged marriages is often affected by the perception of one’s skin color as fair or dark, with the former serving as a bargaining chip and the latter as a liability. Ads placed on an online matchmaking site are considered as examples of cultural preferences encompassing caste, class, and color. Other areas of social life that influence pigmentocratic values—including popular culture such as Bollywood and the skin lightening industry—are also explored.

Keywords

Pigmentocracy Colorism Caste India Intraracial discrimination Matrimonial ads Skin-bleaching Colonialism Imperialism Bollywood 

Further Reading

  1. Ayyar, V., & Khandare, L. (2013). Mapping color and caste discrimination in Indian society. In R. E. Hall (Ed.), The melanin millennium (pp. 71–96). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Jain, P., & Ramasubramanian, S. (2009, September). Gender stereotypes and normative heterosexuality in matrimonial ads from globalizing India. Asian Journal of Communication, 19(3), 253–269.Google Scholar
  3. Telles, E., & PERLA. (2014). Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, race, and color in Latin America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  4. Vaid, J. (2009). Fair enough? Color and commodification of self in Indian matrimonials. In E. Nakano Glenn (Ed.), Shades of difference: Why skin color matters. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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