Heather and her Indian man…about to go dancing around a tree…
Devon-born, Mumbai-based author and journalist Heather Saville Gupta responds to an outrageous article in the Indian lifestyle website www.boldsky.com by Denise Baptiste, outlining ‘Why White Women Marry Indian Men’.
Baptiste’s reasons include such gems as “Indians are obsessed with white skin. Therefore the need to marry a white woman is, at times, a ‘must’ for Indian men”; “Indian men are highly educated and they earn a lot more than a foreigner”; “It is believed that white women marry Indian men for the pleasure of lovemaking”, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
Gupta, a white woman who married an Indian man, is – understandably – startled and a bit miffed.
Dear Denise Baptiste,
I read your recent article, captivatingly entitled “Why White Women Marry Indian Men” with some interest.
I am, after all, a white woman living in India, married to an Indian man, and I expected to find something in the article which resonated with me. Even if it had been written by an Indian woman, and therefore more likely to be supposition than fact.
I started reading it, and immediately assumed that it was a light-hearted piece written with tongue firmly in cheek – a brilliantly ironic and witty piece about the current “craze” of “our men”, to marry those “lovely ladies from abroad”.
Unfortunately, it turns out that there’s no hint of satire in this piece, which actually reeks of racism and stereotyping.
Let me offer a counter view to all of your reasons why we white chicks love your “tall dark and handsome” Indian guys.
And please do bear in mind that my opinions are more likely to be correct given that I am actually one of those white women you write so freely about.
1. “White women love the concept of running around trees, romancing in the park and playing on beaches”.
Running around trees is not a concept which generally makes us white women horny. We find it a little odd, but hey, who are we to judge. Our half white kids do love playing on beaches but I don’t think their colour has anything to do with it.
2. “Indian men are highly educated and they earn a lot more than a foreigner. The thought of being financially secure is always present in her mind!”
Many Indian men (and women) are highly educated, because India is a country where people literally collect degrees. Your assumption that all of India’s 620 million men earn more than their foreign counterparts is bizarre. Did you know that the average annual income in India is 1 lakh rupees ($1600)? Compared to 29 lakh rupees in the UK ($44,000) and 35 lakh rupees ($54,000) in the US? Don’t be misled by the Mittals and the Ambanis of the world. There are only a very few of us greedy white women lucky enough to meet those types.
3. “There is no fear of commitment when it comes to Indian men. They are easy to fall in love with and if you treat them well, they will stick to you like a leech”
No fear of commitment? Do you realise what kinds of hurdles we white girls have to overcome when it comes to getting our man (and more pertinently his family) to commit to us. We’re most likely the wrong religion, we’re way too independent, and we’re probably not virgins.
4. “Women, who want to be loved by only one man for the rest of their lives, believe they can have that with an Indian man”.
I’m not sure whether or not you are married, Denise, and I am sure that you’d like to think that your man would never stray, but the fact is that the divorce rate in India has shot through the roof in recent years. Sadly, I know an awful lot of “happily married” Indian men who have had or are having affairs. And even more tragically, I’ve been propositioned by a few.
5. “Indians are obsessed with white skin. Therefore, the need to marry a white woman is at times a ‘must’ for Indian men”
Now this is where you start getting really offensive, Denise. I agree that India has an unhealthy obsession with fair skin, not helped by the propagation of skin lightening products and a colonial hangover. Not only have you managed to legitimise this, but you’ve managed to insult every Indian woman with your sweeping generalisation.
6. “White women marry Indian men because India is an affordable place to make a living compared to abroad”
Now this theme is beginning to get repetitive. Have you ever actually tried to buy a property, run a household, educate and feed your kids on an Indian salary? If I were to go back to the UK, I’d be able to actually afford a mortgage given the lower interest rates, my kids would be educated for free, I’d never see a hospital bill and I’d even get child benefit (i.e. free money) for each of my kids.
7. “India is the land of Kama Sutra. It is believed that white women marry Indian men for the pleasure of lovemaking”
Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Which Indian man told you that?
8. “The rich Indian values and traditions are some of the things that make a white woman fall head over heels with an Indian man”
I talked to some of my other friends married to Indian men. Those rich Indian values and traditions are actually often what makes life particularly difficult for us. We struggle with the demands of trying to do the “right thing” and invariably end up offending someone by getting it wrong.
9. “Sometimes, it is just the urge to have an Indian wedding! A lot of white women are crazy about the many rituals and traditions that go with an Indian wedding”
Again with the rituals and traditions. Trust me, no woman will commit to a partner for life just for a week of wedding events, however much of a bridezilla she is. Especially when the actual wedding is mindlessly boring for the bride and groom – who really wants to spend hours standing on a stage greeting 5000 strangers? What we white women really want to do is get rip roaringly drunk and dance the night away.
10. “Do you think Indian men are easy to please? White women like being around Indian men as they love to spend time with their lady and give their full attention to them”
Is this kind of a weird reversal of the racist belief that white women are “easy”? This lady’s (Indian) husband has high standards. That’s why he married her.
11. “White women are fond of Indian men as they are great cooks”
Another ROFL. My husband can’t boil an egg without burning it. In the 7 years we’ve been married, he has cooked once. Not every Indian man is a Sanjeev Kapoor, Denise.
Denise, I hope I have corrected some of your erroneous and racist views, and given you an alternative view of our reality.
We white women marry “your” men because we fall in love with them, regardless of the challenges that intercultural marriages can bring with them. We don’t notice the colour of their skin (nope, we’re not as obsessed as you clearly are), we don’t fantasise about having brown babies and we certainly don’t think that Indian men are better than any other men in the world.