Swayamwar to Arrange Marriage- What Has Changed?

I am very fond of watching Hindu mythological serials or rather read them. Most prominent ones being The Ramayana and The Mahabharata. We have always read about Women being treated at par with men in our ancient cultures rather with more respect. There has been a tradition of “Swayamwar”, choosing your own groom from amongst the guests who have arrived. But when I hear about tales in these to epics of India I have failed to make a connect between the underlying philosophy and what actually happened.

It was never as the name suggests choosing yourself. For Sita Maharaja Janak had a criteria of lifting the Shivadhanush and for Draupadi it was piercing the eye of a fish. Wasn’t it the same as now a father tries to find a groom for his daughter. Only the parameters have changed. These days it’s having a good job, a great salary and being well settled.

When I think a bit deeper I get really intrigued at certain situations which could have happened.

“What If Ravana Had lifted the Dhanush instead of Ram??”

Would Sita have to Marry Ravana inspite of having imagined Ram as her groom. Wasn’t it wrong on Maharaja Janak’s part to put a criteria for swayamwar on the first place, when Sita was allowed to and had the liberty to choose her own groom??

“What would have happened if someone other than arjun pierced the eye of the fish let’s supposing Duryodhan”

Was it fair of Raja Drupad to put a criteria overruling Draupadi’s Wish????

I feel nothing has changed… only the times and criteria is what has changed. I am not against the practice but looking back and pondering into the past I feel we are still the same..