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Marriage And Matrimonial Market Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 2576 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In India theres no bigger event in a very family than a marriage, significantly evoking each potential social obligation, kinship bond, ancient worth, burning sentiment, and economic resource. Within the composition and conducting of weddings, the advanced permutations of Indian social systems best show themselves.

Marriage is a closely related concept with that of the family. However, not every culture recognizes marriage in the same sense. Marriage in general terms is a legal and a social contract between two people. The process of becoming socially married begins with a public ceremony and ends with a death or divorce of either of the spouses.

Marriage is deemed essential for just about everybody in Indian society. For the individual, wedding is that the nice watershed in life, marking the transition to adulthood. Generally, this transition, like everything else in India, depends very little upon individual volition however instead happens as a results of the efforts of their folks. When one is born into a family while not the exercise of any personal alternative, thus is one given a relative with none personal preference concerned. Arranging a wedding may be an important responsibility for parents and different relatives of each bride and groom. Wedding alliances need some distribution of wealth similarly as building and restructuring social realignments, and, of course, end in the biological copy of families.

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Especially in north India, a family seeks wedding alliances with individuals to whom it’s not related to blood relations. Wedding arrangements in north typically involve a way from family bonds. And in the Dravidian-speaking south, a family seeks to strengthen existing kin ties through wedding, ideally with blood relatives. Kinship nomenclature reflects this basic pattern. In the north, each kinship term clearly indicates whether or not the person cited may be a relative or associate relative; all blood relatives’ square measure verboten as wedding mates to someone or an individual’s kids. Within the south, there’s no clear-cut distinction between the family of birth and therefore the family of wedding. As a result of wedding within the south ordinarily involves a seamless exchange of daughters among a number of families, for the marriage all relatives square measure ultimately blood kin.

In the northern India, marriages are arranged outside the village, generally even outside of villages, with members of a similar caste. In a lot of the area, daughters must not be married into villages wherever daughters of the family or perhaps of the biological village have antecedently been given. In most of the region, brother-sister exchange marriages (marriages linking a brother and sister of 1 unit with the sister and brother of another) prohibited. The whole idea is on casting the wedding ties-wider, making new alliances by marriage making process of looking for suitable bride and groom.

In India, successful marriages are based upon love and liability, parental authority matters from the time raising children, teaching them value, providing them standards of living and helping to develop a strong character in their children, what they desire. As in India, usually females are brought up with respect to their parents, which becomes an important factor in choosing a husband for them and hence they are raised to trust and praise their parent’s decision under any circumstances, so under such society the liability of mate seeking becomes a responsibility of parents where they try to seek the ‘Best’ mate for their children.

But due to globalization and migration of people from their native town to other cities, it has made it slightly difficult in arranging the marriages, finding the perfect partner for one’s child which can be a challenging task at times. In such cases nowadays people use their social networks to locate potential brides and grooms of appropriate social and economic status. Increasingly, urban dwellers use classified matrimonial advertisements in newspapers, online etc. The advertisements usually announce religion, caste, class and educational qualifications, stress female beauty and male (and in the contemporary era, sometimes female) earning capacity.

Literature Review

‘The Relevance Of Matrimonial Advertisements For The Study Of Mate Selection In India’ by Cora Vreede-De Stuers

In this article, the author has studied the fact that how matrimonial advertisement in India have promoted the inaccuracy and exaggerated variables provided by those who use advertising a medium for match making. And as this facts and variables are exaggerated these ads are misleading those who seek for partners through these matrimonial columns. Author has also focused on how has the growing use of usual channels of matchmaking through the mediation of the traditional are in rise due to the those set of people who have to adjust to the anonymity of city life and the constant transfers of government servants. For that very reason this set of people is increasingly making use of matrimonial is as a modern adaptation of the traditional means. The author has drawn conclusion from the content analysis of his findings is that the majority of the advertisers conform completely to the prevailing value system of their status group like caste, class, profession implying that the adjustments of this group to changing situations are also reflected in the matrimonial.(CORA VREEDE-DE STUERSS,2013)

This analysis has been tested by investigations on attitudes of youth from similar social strata towards caste, marriage, family life, and the opposite sex, and in a way directly questioning the generation which matrimonial advertising is intended to benefit. This also raises a question on the fact that who inserts the matrimonial advertisements, parents or children, which determines the setting up of trends for matchmaking?

Gender stereotypes and normative heterosexuality in matrimonial ads from globalizing India by Sri Vidya Ramasubramaniana and Parul Jain, Department of Communication, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA; Department of Communication, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA

Contemporary Indian familial relations as reflected in matrimonial advertising, a deep gender divide exist where the socially expected roles are very different for husbands as compared to wives. Apparently, a social understanding and unstated consensus exists for what the ideal woman/man should be. In other words, there is a strong support for gender polarization in the characteristics of a desirable, ideal, life partner. The implications of these ideals for women and men of marriageable age are crucial for understanding the lack of diversity in the matrimonial ads indicates the potential for exclusion or marginalization of several groups of ‘non ideal’ people in the ‘marriage market.’ In order to be considered eligible in the marriage market, in line with impressions from management literature, those placing matrimonial ads seem to adhere to social norms relating to traditional gender-role expectations for both men and women. Significant difference between what males and females expect in terms of spousal personality traits. Females are expected to be ‘feminine’ by being caring, loving, nurturing, compassionate, and warm. Women, in turn, cater to these expectations by using these descriptors while announcing themselves in the marriage market. While the effortful, purposive framing of matrimonial ads is reflective of the gendered values of the communities that they serve, it is equally possible that matrimonial ads function as a space through which the complicated negotiations that lead to finding the ‘suitable’ partner begin. Further research using ethnographic methods is needed to find out the role that matrimonial ads play in facilitating (or hindering) familial communication in particular and in maintaining (or countering) gender stereotypes in society in general (Ramasubramaniam & Jain, 2008)

In the journal article ‘Love, Arranged Marriage, and the Indian Social Structure’ by Giri Raj Gupta

The author in his study has mentioned that there is growth in of “Conjugal Marriage” as against “romantic love” and love marriages occur in only less than one percent of the population. Arranged marriages are closely associated with “closed systems” wherein the hierarchies are very elaborate and more than one factor such as historical origins, ritual positions, occupational affiliations, and social distance determinants play significant roles in defining the in-group and the out-group, particularly in marital alliances. In such systems, group identity is defined by strong senses of values which are preserved and re-enforced by attributes which distinguish a group in rank and its interaction with others. Continuity and unity of the extended family is well-preserved since all the significant members of the family share the mate-selection decision make-up which involves several persons who are supposedly known to have experience and qualifications to find a better choice as against the free choice of the subject. This leads to lower age at marriage and, in turn, strengthens the pre- dominance of the family over the individual choice. As long as the social system is unable to develop a value system to promote individualism, economic security outside the family system, and a value system which advances the ideals of nuclear family, the individuals in such system continue to demand support from the family which, in turn, would lead to re-emphasizing the importance of arranged marriage. (Gupta, 1976)


With the increasing technology and convergence of media, the marriage making process has reached to the stage where marriage is a commercial ceremony and tradition and is marketed in media with the help of matrimonial advertisements. Though there are new modern ways like matrimonial websites to seek mates online, but still there persists the traditional ideals like caste, profession, class, international exposure and the stereotyped physical features.

This study will help to understand the perception of people over marriages and in their decision making factors for choosing suitable bride/groom.


According to the New York times, 1,200 to 1,500 matrimonial ads that appear across 3 or 4 pages of the biggest Indian newspapers, like The Times of India, the Hindustan Times and Dainik Jagran, are categorized by caste, religion and profession (well, in the case of doctors), and lately by the quality of being “cosmopolitan.” The newspapers charge by the space used (say, 3,200 rupees for 25 words). So this trend of matchmaking online is another way of courtship pattern which has evolved from the custom when father use to decide the bride without introducing each other before marriage. But the ideals like caste, class etc was having not even changed even after ages.

So this problem is extremely important as such trends especially affect our society by creating a wider gap between caste, class, profession and physical appearance. Perpetuation of patriarchal stereotypes and gender biases in the society through the matrimonial ads and the parameter used to seek mates online.

Objective/Hypothesis/Research Question

With the increasing technology and convergence of media, the marriage making process has reached the stage where marriage is marketed in media, with the help of matrimonial advertisements. Though there is new modern way been used to seek mates online, but till there persists the traditional ideals like caste, profession, class, international exposure and the stereotyped physical features.

How have online matrimonial websites have altered the bride/groom seeking while still retaining traditional ideals of marriage?

The purpose of this study is to understand the mindset of people who seeks for bride/groom online.


The principal aim of this dissertation is to examine and analyze the way which the ideals like class, caste, physical appearances , status, qualifications is used as a parameter in match making process. Also the study is centered on analyzing the role played by the parents in decision making process of finding the perfect mate for their kids through online matrimonial sites. The methodology used will track two matrimonial websites, namely, Bharatmatrimony.com, how relevant and important these parameter are important in seeking bride and groom

To realize the priority that parents of the prospective bride place on these parameters.

Focus group interviews

Interviews of the marriage brokers

Theories to analyze and study the rationale of such match making and to study the wider impact of such practices.

Social Identity Theory:

This theory addresses the ways in which people perceive and categorize themselves. According to social identity theory, individuals form self-conceptions that are based on two parts: 1) personal or self identity, and 2) collective identity. Personal or self identity refers to our unique, personal qualities such as our beliefs, our abilities and skills, etc. The collective self includes all the qualities that arise from being part of a society, culture, family, groups, clubs, etc. For example, you may identify yourself as a protestant, male, football player, who is very popular with people at school.

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Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance). Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance etc. For example, when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition). Attitudes may change because of factors within the person. An important factor here is the principle of cognitive consistency, the focus of Festinger’s (1957) theory of cognitive dissonance. This theory starts from the idea that we seek consistency in our beliefs and attitudes in any situation where two cognitions are inconsistent.

Research Design


Interview: Personal interviews of Marriage broker and marriage owner sites

Focus group: 6-8 people in group

(The focus group will comprise of Parents who are seeking for bride/groom, prospective bride and groom and marriage brokers. Through these focus group interviews we will help us to known the rationale behind their perception, of people choosing the suitable match based on the parameter like caste, class, profession and appearance. With the help of the comments from the bride/groom we can get the perception and rationale of the prospective brides/groom about their selection. Along with these, the input from the marriage broker, we can get an idea about marriage market and


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