Matrimonial ads serve as unobtrusive sites to observe the construction and perpetuation of normative heterosexuality through socio-cultural discourses. The current study focuses on gendered spousal expectations and sex role preferences in 1065 matrimonial ads from two popular newspapers in India. Gender differences in ad type, financial stability, physical attractiveness, fairness, slimness, personality traits, and occupational preferences were examined. Results found support for social exchange of men's financial stability for women's physical attractiveness, gender polarization in ideal spousal occupations, and the relative fluidity in gender identities of women as compared to men. A strong preference for fair and slim women was observed. Implications for sexual objectification of women and changing gender roles in globalizing India are discussed.
- Content analysis
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