by Rita Banerji
I am on a Google alert for “dowry,” a practice that is recognized as one of the underlying causes of India’s female genocide/gendercide. Recently there was an avalanche of ‘dowry’ alerts as Indian and foreign media eagerly reported on the new Facebook game, “Angry Brides,” launched by the private Indian marriage bureau Shaadi.com. Players are invited to throw things like virtual shoes and tomatoes at grooms demanding dowry. Every time a dowry-demanding groom is hit, the dowry amount is lowered.
What I find appalling is how media reports depict “Angry Brides” as a commendable way to raise “social awareness.” The Vice President of Shaadi.com is quoted as calling “Angry Brides” an “innovative” plan to get more customers and engage with them about “the nuisance of dowry.” While the corporate giant Shaadi.com, with its base of 20 million customers, is recognized among the world’s top 50 most innovative companies, the term “nuisance” grossly understates the actual impact of the practice of dowry.