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Rishta Aunties Unveiled


The Rishta culture is a poignant chapter in the kaleidoscope of Pakistani customs, interlacing societal expectations and familial ties, and numerous social, cultural, and family aspects are involved in this complex process of locating a life partner. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is years old but, the fact that individuals can choose their life partners freely without hearing anything and have a happy ending has yet to gain significant traction in Pakistan. Even though we are getting a bit westernized now, the idea of Bumble and Tinder are not the apps your mom would want you to use, here the Rishta aunties come in between.

From perpetuating gender norms to promoting unrealistic beauty standards, Rishta aunties are considered a big omen of society. Some people term them 'farishta aunties' as they act as secret FBI agents aiming to find the perfect match for you by surrounding you with questions. They love watching a girl carry a tray full of biscuits and tea walk into the room. They love examining a young lady in the same way that a lioness observes grazing deer. They love investigating young women in the same way that a forensics doctor does a body in a mortuary. They love pointing out flaws in a women-too educated, too short, too chatty, too dark. They perpetuate gender norms by limiting individuals to their confined roles, toxic masculinity and submissive feminity are fostered here. Women are asked if their rotis are gol and a man's financial standing is questioned. Mrs. Khan, a famous matchmaker of Pakistan openly claimed on national TV that the increased level of divorces was due to women not controlling their tongues and not making rotis for their husbands anymore. Though the video received considerable criticism but these still are the predominant thoughts of matchmakers here.

Rishta aunties also promote the Pakistans already prevalent obsession with fair skin as a desirable trait in potential brides. Women are often given (unsolicited) advice on getting whitening injections and slipped phone numbers of "skin whitening” doctors. Not only is this just incredibly insulting to the women who are subjected to it but also represents the racist perspective of beauty in the rishta culture. The rishta culture reinforces the expectation in our society that women should look like porcelain vases. If you don't have fair skin and a body resembling VS model, you are screwed but if you still end up getting a rishta looking like that, you should be thankful. The rishta aunties also pressure individuals, emphasizing the importance of status and caste, overlooking the other crucial aspects like compatibility and friendship in a marriage.


Careem, a ride-sharing app now not only assists you in finding a ride to your location but also assists you in finding a companion to accompany you on future journeys!

They launched a Rishta Aunty Campaign saying "Bar kar forever alone ka naara ab status 'taken' ho ga tumhara! Careem offers you the 'halal' way to find the right person." People woke up with "Your rishta has arrived" and the campaign aimed to assist one in the ride talk about marriage and potential partners.


Regardless of the stereotyping and problematic thinking, rishta aunties do serve as a mediator of initial contact between two families and help foster trust and understanding between two societies. However, encouraging a more inclusive and open-minded approach to beauty stands and roles in marriage can provide healthy relationships.







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13 Comments


I enjoyed reading your post, as we all can relate to this. I completely agree with you on how these Rishta aunties "perpetuate gender norms and promote unrealistic beauty standards", which has further led to the 'internalization of misogyny' amongst women themselves. However, I would like to point out that while your discussion on the Rishta aunties' propagation of conventional gender roles/norms revolves around how they negatively impact women, it is also important not to overlook how men are similarly affected. E.g., while explaining the case for women, you use the analogy of a "lioness observing grazing deer" to describe how these aunties, despite seeing several women from house to house, view most of them as "too educated, too short,…


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I did mention a comment on how men's financial stability is questioned, and like you mentioned their financial standing outcasts all the flaws that the girl or her family finds in them, "Larka bohat ameer hai" is enough to silence all questions asked about a guy, while even if the girl is pretty, her family is inspected upon and her 'sughar-ness' is looked. This just shows the double standard of society. In terms of your question about the media portraying women as carrying tray and not rishta aunties, I think it is true that yes media does portray that and plays a role in it, but rishta aunties preferences are influenced by societal norms, personal views, and indeed media culture…

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I am so glad someone wrote a post on rishta aunties and honestly how they dominate the shaadi season and reinforce cultural stereotypes. Risha aunties are in my opinion aunties who prefer perfection as they seem fit, they have their own set of certain rules and prefer to reinforce them by saying "nahi nahi yeh larki apko pasand nahi aayegi". Honestly for me the most ironic aspect is them deciphering their client in amere one meeting while your therapist needs a year to decipher you. The culture of Pakistan and respect of elder is why these aunties aren't questioned and criticized rather are made to sit on a high pedestal to judge everyone.

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You rightly mentioned that they prefer perfection over anything, specially when it comes to women. Our society builds on respecting elders and never interfering upon what they say and no the rishta aunties like you mentioned never gets questioned, it is important for us to challenge these norms while also fostering an environment of mutual respect for everyone. It should also be realized that individuals compatibility cannot always be seen upon the rules determined by rishta aunty. They have the authority to challenge these norms as their views are really looked upon in the shaadi matter. You made a very thought provoking observation where you mention the irony that it takes rishta aunties one session to know and understand you,…

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Your blog post reminded me of all the times I have witnessed women being degraded by rishta aunties. It's so sad to witness such amazing women, who are capable of so much being humiliated because of their physical features. The pressure to conform to societal beauty standards is overwhelming. The emphasis on fair skin and a specific body type is not only insulting but also showcases a racist perspective of beauty. It creates an unattainable and damaging expectation for women, focusing more on appearances than compatibility or emotional connection in a marriage. I really hope that our society progresses to a point where individuals can find partners based on shared values, interests, and mutual understanding rather than conforming to outdated…

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Your articles describes rishta aunties in a nutshell really well. The part where you mentioned that a man's finances are also questioned, I feel its important to emphasise that rishta aunties put an almost equal amount of pressure on both men and women. While the women have to succumb to unrealistic beauty standards, men have to succumb to society benchmarks of what inaccurately defines a successful man. Not to mention the height requirement where the first thing that is expected is for a man to be tall as if its a fundamental part of the package that God has made him with. While your articles does shine light on the whole concept of rishta aunties and how problematic it is…

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I agree with whatever you say, but I pointed more towards the women as men's finances, which I talked about corrects for all the flaws that rishta aunties find in them, whereas for a woman she has to be above the benchmark for everything, but of course, men go through a lot in the rishta process but it is not as equal as that of a woman. Coming to the question you asked, rishta aunties foster healthy relationships by having more open and inclusive thinking, recognizing that each person is unique and compatibility can help in a long-lasting relationship. They should actively work to challenge stereotypes and say NO to any inappropriate demand made by any side, they can educate…

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Mahnoor Nasir
Mahnoor Nasir
Nov 29, 2023

I completely agree with your perspective on how the rights aunties have complicated the marriage process, particularly with their emphasis on caste and status. It seems as though, despite the world progressing rapidly, we are still grappling with issues from the 90s, particularly the persistence of caste and status discrimination. The influence of these matchmakers exacerbates the problem, as they manipulate people's minds to sustain their business. It is crucial for individuals to recognize the severity of these issues, especially when, in reality, they pale in comparison to the importance of the relationship between two individuals and their respective families.


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