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They succeed for the same reason every online resource does: They offer convenience and expediency in an arena with high demand for it.It’s connubial bliss for a 21st-century India, where, by some estimates, 90 percent of marriages still classify as “arranged”—in other words, established on factors other than mutual love and attraction between the bride and groom.“It’s just culture,” says Jess, who the movie leaves us to assume has never been to India.She later concludes that the only way to deal with Just Culture is to get farther from it, heading, naturally, to America.The popular Western view of things is tricky, though, because we generally anticipate a “false dichotomy” between arranged marriages and love marriages.In other words, you marry someone because you’re in love with them, or you marry someone because your parents tell you to.They operate at the awkward nexus in modern Indian society between intracultural custom and intercultural connectivity, a conflict-prone junction built by a sudden 20-year economic boom that came without a societal user’s manual.
Sure, I’d have my points of appeal, namely in the sections reserved for Education (Bachelor’s) and Complexion (Very Fair).A college degree is increasingly synonymous in India with financial success, and colonialism has left the country with the belief that the lightness of one’s skin is directly proportionate to his or her existential well-being—a notion so entrenched in the Indian psyche that, as reported in August, television commercials for skin-bleaching creams like Pond’s White Beauty claim to secure you a better husband.But the traditional idea of marriage here is an ethnocentric one, designed to preserve the social taxonomy of the caste system that first calcified with the dawn of early Hinduism in the fourth century. For them, matrimonial websites simply seemed to be a matter of convenience, a casual way to meet other singles online in a country where dating sites haven’t really taken off.I made my profile as an American in New Delhi, where I have been since June, who has watched from both places as this caricature of a backwards, misogynistic India evolved over the last year from comedy fodder to a target of international criticism.This happened after one night last December, when five men drank whiskey in south Delhi and boarded a local bus, where, joined by the driver, they used iron rods to sexually penetrate and fatally maim a 23-year-old physiotherapy student heading back from a movie with her boyfriend. The collective outcry by the country’s long-silent women amplified and confirmed the clichéd association between India and sexual violence.