Matchmaking Across Cultures: Crossing the Cultural Divide

By Anika Jain on August 19, While the two lovers have the opportunity to go on actual dates and have some liberties when it comes to deciding their spouse, Sima Aunty is more or less setting up arranged marriages — an ancient tradition in many Asian countries, especially in India. In addition to these superficial preferences, families are very clear about their desire to match their children with a spouse from a high caste — despite the abolishment of the Indian caste system in Rather, it is unapologetically Indian, from the glamorization of fair skin to the marital pressure from families. Notwithstanding the intense colorism and classism, the stakes for these singles is much higher than any other reality TV show. Now, this is not to say that arranged marriages are entirely forced and restrictive. As an Indian American myself, more than half of the married couples I grew up around had arranged marriages, including my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. In fact, my grandmother had never met my grandfather until their wedding day. All she had was a picture of him that she convinced her cousin to steal for her. And yet, they have maintained a long and loyal relationship for over 50 years.

E-rranged marriages

I knew she agreed. I scoffed. The Netflix reality show follows Sima Taparia, a matchmaker from Mumbai whose pen-and-paper spreadsheets of potential suitors is far from the most outdated thing about her. She flies back and forth between the U. Women need to cook.

In Chinese, the word xiangqin — commonly translated as “matchmaking” — is rich in cultural significance. It refers to single men and women.

I was on the phone with my mother, who lives in Pune, India, complaining about Indian Matchmaking , when she brought up the marriage proposal. I knew she agreed. I scoffed. But watch Indian Matchmaking , and you may end the eight-episode arc of the smartly edited, highly bingeable show with a misleading idea of how arranged marriages actually work.

The Netflix reality show follows Sima Taparia, a matchmaker from Mumbai whose pen-and-paper spreadsheets of potential suitors is far from the most outdated thing about her. She flies back and forth between the U. Women need to cook.

How Matchmakers Work

August 7 Indian Matchmaking makes culture into a joke. August 7 Graduation commemorates class of For centuries, our society has used stereotyping to define people, their backgrounds, and their cultures. Hiding behind highly broadcasted forms of racial stigma, stereotyping has plagued all races and pushed them into tight corners where pressure and prejudice silently lurk.

Taking each of their personalities, goals, and careers into account, Taparia uses assistance from her database to match her clients with someone who would positively impact them. Taparia uses Indian traditions with a modern twist to share the Indian matchmaking experience.

This article is about the profession/tradition of marital matchmaking in different world cultures through history. For information about modern methods of.

The first season of the show has missed presenting an all-round and inclusive picture of the Indian reality. That Indian Matchmaking has upset people across the spectrum is slightly baffling given we are a culture obsessed with arranged marriages. Newspapers embellished with matrimonial adverts — ridiculous and regressive in equal measure — are perhaps the oldest testimonies to our fixation with this robust institution. With Indian Matchmaking , this well-preserved secret is out for Western edification and that is perhaps the reason for our collective outrage against the show.

The merits and demerits of this criticism levelled against the show can be emphatically argued when placed within the cultural context our society. Zara and I are far removed when it comes to our religion. I am a Hindu and she a Muslim. It is then a little unsettling that, knowingly or unknowingly, we are turning into a culture that is systematically working towards homogenising collective experiences often at the cost of a particular community.

The Indian Muslim is either cast as an insider crusading against or paying the price of the transgressions of fellow brethren Mulk, My Name is Khan, Kedarnath or an out and out threat to the very idea of India Padmaavat, Tanhaji, Mission Kashmir, Fiza who needs to be eliminated at all costs. The everyday regular Muslim, unlike you and I who are not necessitated to wear our religious identity on our sleeves, continues to be conspicuously absent on screen.

This glaring absence sits well with the virtual obliteration of Muslim voices from the collective imagination, being acted out with a renewed vigour in recent times. Plagued by stereotypes and cast in frustratingly similar moulds, on-screen representations of Muslims have seldom managed to break away from the off-screen propaganda against them.

Matchmaking in Middle Class India

Religious faith has long held a strong link to matchmaking and arranged marriage. In Jewish tradition, God was the original matchmaker, creating Eve out of Adam’s rib so that the two could share company and procreate [source: Kadden and Kadden ]. Therefore, matchmakers held a prominent position in Jewish history. Fathers customarily bore the responsibility of selecting adequate grooms for their daughters and might request assistance from a local matchmaker, or shadchan , to seek out an eligible bachelor.

Matchmakers may then team up with rabbis to pair young men and women in the community, something that still takes place in orthodox communities. The Torah dictates payment to a shadchan , but that doesn’t always happen; some Jewish matchmakers will refuse to accept any remuneration, considering it their divine calling they pursue as a form of charity [source: Sherwood ].

In ancient Greece promnestria—female matchmakers—sought out eligible youngsters and facilitated marriage negotiations between families. In.

Then there was the time my dad told me I was disinvited to his future funeral, because my preference was to date whomever I wanted as opposed to accepting an arranged marriage and that was an embarrassment to the family. He conveniently denies this ever happened, for the record. The reality show follows Sima Taparia, a professional matchmaker from Mumbai who travels around the world helping Indian clients find suitable matches for marriage.

Rather, marriage is a transaction between two families. Some of her clients are parents who are desperate to get their children married, others are marriage seekers themselves who turned to her service after they were unsuccessful meeting people on dating apps and elsewhere. What struck me most was that, in many cases, the characters we meet are not seeking acceptance and affection from a partner, but from their own families.

Seeing the pressure unfold literally gave me anxiety.

WA Ghostwriter

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A new Netflix show about an Indian matchmaker catering to the high demands of potential brides and grooms, and their parents, has stoked an.

They spoke in the kitchen, her mother pretending to wash dishes in the background and her brother hiding in a cupboard, eavesdropping. Thus, the beginning of her matchmaking experience ended almost as soon as it began. Executive produced by Smriti Mundhra, it follows Sima Taparia, a Mumbai-based matchmaker Mundhra met when her own mother solicited matchmaking services for her a decade ago. Mundhra, who was raised in the U. She made a documentary on the topic in , A Suitable Girl , a broad and bitter portrait of traditional matchmaking in India.

It follows three women up until their wedding days, documenting their loss of independence and observing the severe social and familial pressures they face throughout the process. Its success landed Mundhra a meeting at Netflix, where she pitched Indian Matchmaking. The show follows Sima and six of her clients, all middle-and-upper-class Indian-Americans and Indians. Other times, the criteria ventures into the openly discriminatory: Clients want someone fair-skinned or to be from a certain caste.

Others said it simply confirmed what they already knew about the casteism, sexism, colorism, and classism of the process. Shouldering this topic, in service of this audience, was never going to be easy.

Why Does “Indian Matchmaking” Make My Culture Seem So Burdensome?

The pronunciation of Tomato which sounds like Tomahto in English and Tomayto in American became the hook in the song for a difference in speech that could be a reason to end a relationship. Just how engrained are we in our own culture, vocabulary, tastes, and lifestyle that makes us stand out? Is it possible to cross the cultural divide and make a relationship work? Before you even get to a relationship, what is the cultural norm for dating? In Italy and Russia it is expected that the man will pay for dinner with zero expectation.

However, “Matchmaking” does compellingly examine the challenges faced by desi women who want a relationship with their culture and an.

Matchmaking is the process of matching two or more people together, usually for the purpose of marriage , but the word is also used in the context of sporting events such as boxing, in business, in online video games and in pairing organ donors. In some cultures, the role of the matchmaker was and is quite professionalised. The Ashkenazi Jewish shadchan , or the Hindu astrologer , were often thought to be essential advisors and also helped in finding right spouses as they had links and a relation of good faith with the families.

In cultures where arranged marriages were the rule, the astrologer often claimed that the stars sanctified matches that both parents approved of, making it quite difficult for the possibly-hesitant children to easily object — and also making it easy for the astrologer to collect his fee. Social dance , especially in frontier North America, the contra dance and square dance , has also been employed in matchmaking, usually informally. However, when farming families were widely separated and kept all children on the farm working, marriage-age children could often only meet in church or in such mandated social events.

Matchmakers, acting as formal chaperones or as self-employed ‘busybodies’ serving less clear social purposes, would attend such events and advise families of any burgeoning romances before they went too far. The influence of such people in a culture that did not arrange marriages, and in which economic relationships e. It may be fair to say only that they were able to speed up, or slow down, relationships that were already forming.

In this sense they were probably not distinguishable from relatives, rivals, or others with an interest. Clergy probably played a key role in most Western cultures, as they continue to do in modern ones, especially where they are the most trusted mediators in the society. Matchmaking was certainly one of the peripheral functions of the village priest in Medieval Catholic society, as well as a Talmudic duty of rabbis in traditional Jewish communities.

Today, the shidduch is a system of matchmaking in which Jewish singles are introduced to one another in Orthodox Jewish communities.

Unless You’re Brown, ‘Indian Matchmaking’ Is Not Yours to Criticize

By Shalailah Medhora. Vyasar left and Rashi right are two young Americans of Indian descent who were seeking love on Indian Matchmaking. It’s like manual Tinder, and your parents have to swipe right, too. That’s how a young Indian guest on Netflix’s reality TV dating series, Indian Matchmaking, describes the process of seeing a matchmaker.

Have you ever used a matchmaking service, or been tempted to? We’d love to hear your story even anonymously.

The Netflix series Indian Matchmaking follows Sima Taparia, a professional matchmaker from Mumbai, and her clients. Yash Ruparelia/Netflix.

I can give her…95 marks out of It is reflective, sometimes painfully, of a custom with which we are all too familiar: arranged marriages. For desis, either your parents were arranged or you know a couple that was. Some people—yep, even millennials—willingly enter into arranged marriages, as seen on the new reality show. While the show portrays arranged marriages in a positive although at times, vulnerable light, it simultaneously showcases the problems plaguing the ancient tradition—problems that Netflix account holders across America were quick to point out.

The casual, rampant racism on IndianMatchmaking is wild, and I fear fair will fly right over the heads of all the white people watching. The super-popular show has garnered criticism for its messages of colorism , classism, and body-shaming. I mean, take your pick. So why are brown people, like myself, forced to answer for a cultural institution I played no part in creating?

The uncomfortable truth is that while these shows perpetuate equally harmful ideas about love and marriage, Indian Matchmaking confirms biases against Indian cultures, making it easier to criticize. No one looks at Western reality shows as representative of white, American dating culture. So why do people think Indian Matchmaking is representative of dating and relationships for all brown people?

We were the ones who dreaded the backlash from before the show dropped on Netflix, and we will be the ones to pick up the pieces after the show subsides from the zeitgeist.

We Need to Talk About ‘Indian Matchmaking’

For honor matchmaking failed returning to main menu More rules of matchmaking in exchange, like to professional matchmakers nationwide, god was the fourth century. Dating and lunch’ is model solo video and we in singles culture film: a story by the cultural barriers. Regarding this season is it for cannabis news media contact.

Episode it’s led many choices and what makes your.

and West, but conflates upper-caste Hindu culture with Indian culture. How Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking scratches the glossy surface of.

These men and women — or boys and girls, as they are referred to in Indian society, perhaps to reinforce their youth and innocence — of Indian origin are in their 20s and 30s, living in India and the US. Credit: Netflix. Indian Matchmaking just takes this concept further. Of course, each of these comes with their own good, bad and ugly. I think the entire experience felt like going on a journey with no idea as to what could turn up next.

There have always been matchmakers and, more recently, marriage agencies that connected families. And every Indian family has a Sima Mami who offers women unsolicited, and often blunt, advice to wear more make-up, or hit the gym to lose weight, if they ever hope to get married. Despite this sociocultural context, Indian Matchmaking has generated a lot of outrage, with critics and viewers alike accusing the show of playing up — or, at the very least, not critiquing — everything regressive in Indian society.

Words like hate-watch and cringe-fest have regularly featured on social media. For many women, the show was triggering , because of the way it has shone the spotlight on how intelligent, ambitious, successful women are reduced to a set of stereotypical adjectives. The show has sparked outrage on social media from some, with some calling it a hate-watch Credit: Netflix.

Matchmaking


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