Last night, I was browsing through my Twitter feeds just like I do every night before sleeping. And that’s when I realize that our ever watchful Twitter cattle had already founds its new fodder. I see Twitterati outraged over this website called mysonikudi.com, calling it out for promoting women as commodities. When I found out about this, #ChangeherNot had already been used more than 10,000 times on Twitter. And obviously, the first thing I do is check out this website.
I find out that a site that goes by the name My Soni Kudi is offering brides of different ‘categories’ for men to choose. Well, what it actually looked like was an e-commerce website for bride shopping!! The brides had been put into 12 deliberate and sexist categories like “Black Beauty”, “bride school trained”, “Low Maintenance”, “Sanskaari” etc and one could even rate and review the profiles available on the website. If the cringe worthy and creepy reviews weren’t enough, the website even had Testimonials thanking the portal for its ‘free’ service and providing the ‘gift’ of a bride.
Their About us reads: “We have it all, from ‘Sanskari’ to ‘NRI-Ready’ brides, from brides who are ‘Gharelu’ to those that are ‘Stock-Market Skilled’, from ‘Black Beauties’ to ‘Angel-like Fair’, from ‘Talented Dancer’ to ‘Master Chef’, every need, however extravagant, is acknowledged and fulfilled. We guarantee that our almost ‘made-to-measure’ brides will wow, astound and impress you, your son, your relatives and your neighbors!”
And the cherry on this crap cake was a section of articles for women on how to be the ideal bride and Bahu!
All of this was just as infuriating as it was real but just like I always do, my first action was to verify the authenticity of the website before journaling my report on it. I found out that almost all the profiles that were put up on the website were not real as the names, pictures and details did not match out. In fact, the pictures were found to be taken from the free picture stocks easily available on the web.
I was surprised that popular news websites like Hindustan Times, Vagabomb, IndiaTimes reported the website without even verifying and pointing out this major aspect.
Now that we know its fake, it is not clear what purpose does this website serve.
But what’s real without any doubt is that the entire Indian twitter is outraged and sympathetically stunned with this website and its content.
While honestly? I am not. In fact, I don’t understand why the entire nation is so offended. I mean, isn’t this precisely how the quintessential ‘arranged marriage union’ works in India? Don’t all your parents expect an ‘achhe Ghar ki ladki’ who is ‘fair’, ‘slim’, ‘sanskari’, ‘can cook’, ‘agyakaari’ etc as your ideal bride?
This website is nearly a legitimate portrayal of the way marriages actually work in India. This is basically the entire nation made to face the bitter truth, a truth that our society has been very conveniently avoiding until now.
The twitter campaign in the name of #ChangeherNot has my unconditional support and I truly believe that no woman needs to change in order to be an ideal bride. In fact, there’s no such thing as an ideal bride, or for that matter an ideal woman. There’s just this beautiful embodiment of life called a woman with absolutely no qualitative stamps no matter what, and that you already are! So yes, #ChangeherNot because there’s no fucking need to.
This website could even be a part of a well planned campaign or a sarcastic comment on the prevalent arranged marriage culture of our society. But at this point, we can only make guesses as it remains to be seen why this website was actually made.
I have been fighting this regressive culture and postulates of arranged marriage since a very long time and I intend on continuing to do so. And I am very happy that we are finally talking about it, even if it took a fake website reeking of real and very much existing misogyny and sexism to get us to.