Critics accuse the show of stereotyping and commodifying women, lacking diversity and promoting a backwards vision of marriage where astrologers and meddling parents are more influential than the preferences of brides and grooms. They complain that the series, which follows matchmaker Sima Taparia as she jets between Mumbai and the U. In fact, the real problem may be their discomfort with the way marriage works in India, with social stability prized over individual happiness. A small fraction still practices child marriage, with some communities holding betrothal ceremonies as soon as a girl is born. At the other end of the spectrum, there is growing acceptance of queer relationships, divorce and even avoiding marriage altogether. But most Indian marriages are still arranged. Even college-educated, urban, middle-class Indians show a strong preference to marry within caste. Muslims in South Asia marry within their biradari or jaat — a stand-in for Hindu caste. The reason Guyanese-born Nadia faces a limited set of options in the show is not because of her South American birth, but because Indians who were shipped as indentured laborers to the New World were mostly lower castes, or so perceived. The fact that Indian Matchmaking packages women as slim, tall, fair, presentable, likable, flexible and so on is, once again, a consequence of using marriage to preserve caste lines.
Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking’ is only too accurate
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Now that the world is spoilt for choice on what to watch, it is no small feat that a TV show on arranged marriage has provoked all kinds of reactions. Indian Matchmaking, a reality series, has The New York Times carefully analysing the contradictions in diaspora society. The most revealing criticisms, however, come from long-suffering Indians who have borne the brunt of embarrassing set-ups.
Their ire is directed a tad unfairly towards the intrepid matchmaker whose main flaw is to tell it like it is, no holds barred. Indian Matchmaking follows the fascinatingly opaque Sima Taparia, as she flies between Mumbai and the US, pairing potential partners. Like any matchmaker worth her salt, she matches lawyer with lawyer and Sikh with Sikh. Predictably, Twitter exploded in outraged righteousness.
Viewers called Sima Aunty a shameless traditionalist perpetuating a regressive idea of marriage. However, her simple formula is the time-tested bedrock of all arranged partnerships: that your chances of happiness at least temporarily improve with someone from a similar background. Indian Matchmaking is an accurate depiction of how things are done and what people want.
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Instead, I laughed at hilarious scenes between Indian American families redolent of my family. Released on July 16, this Netflix original is produced by the Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Smriti Mundhra, who communicates a middle way between arranged marriages and modern dating. I am in the second camp and let me tell you why.
Critics accuse the show of stereotyping and commodifying women, lacking diversity and promoting a backwards vision of marriage where astrologers and meddling parents are more influential than the preferences of brides and grooms. They complain that the series, which follows matchmaker Sima Taparia as she jets between Mumbai and the U. In fact, the real problem may be their discomfort with the way marriage works in India, with social stability prized over individual happiness.
A small fraction still practices child marriage, with some communities holding betrothal ceremonies as soon as a girl is born. At the other end of the spectrum, there is growing acceptance of queer relationships, divorce and even avoiding marriage altogether. But most Indian marriages are still arranged.
Matchmaking Promotes Happiness
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The second I saw Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking come up on my TV’s home screen, I excitedly texted a bunch of my Desi friends to see if they’d heard anything about it. I’m not saying that there weren’t any stereotypes that caught me off guard on the show like some of the character’s fake accents or the opening scene where Devi’s praying over a book for good grades , but there were some moments that really hit home for me in the coming-of-age comedy. While I was excited to see something related to the Indian culture get the spotlight yet again, it sort of felt like a personal secret was about to be exposed to the world.
I was a little worried how Indians would be portrayed, especially to people who aren’t familiar with a culture where arranged marriages are considered the norm. Would the show go into complexities and nuances that come with matchmaking? Being Indian , I’ve been asked about arranged marriages my entire life and have had to answer questions like, “Do you get to choose who you want to marry or do your parents choose for you? Having been born in New Jersey but grew up in places like Dubai and Mumbai you can just call me Nikita Charuza From Mumbai , I know plenty of people who have had both arranged marriages and “love marriages.
You sort of get lumped into one of those two buckets even though no two stories are the same. My parents had a “love marriage” and I was lucky enough that they supported my decision to marry whoever I wanted. At the same time, I also have friends and family members who had arranged marriages and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference because of how happy they are.
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By the end, Emma has made it clear to herself and others that her playground matchmaking was about promoting whatever “made people happier. Slowmances!
That need is what makes checking horoscopes a innocent guilty pleasure, romantic comedies a in sort sort, and romance novels a summer staple. As a belief, Indian Matchmaking idealizes a essentially the predominant existence tournament, marriage, promising that familial approval of a companion will present lifelong happiness. Clips of couples united by organized marriages many of whom are celebrating decades of marital bliss strive and legitimize and design viewer self belief within the expose.
These that love the expose trust likely no longer considered the gruesome aspect of matchmaking or been on the receiving end of soul-crushing rejection and unfiltered critique. Some viewers train Indian Matchmaking ought to not be taken too severely, as evidenced by the eruption of memed moments on social media. Some earn comfort in familiar conversations about yoga, chai rituals, and Bollywood dancing.
But for some Indian females, including myself, the injury became done the minute the expose hit Netflix.