Thursday, January 26, 2012

Traditional Marriage

Anthropology Guide takes a brief look at some of the traditional, practical reasons for polygyny and polyandry in some cultures

In societies in which women are economically important, polygyny favours increase in man's wealth and consequent social position.

In what society haven’t women been economically important? Or is that phrase euphemistic for “women as property?” Polygyny does not have to mean women as property. Each woman should be free to make her own choice about whether, when, and with which consenting adult(s) she will marry.

In ancient and medieval India, many rulers married women from different clans and villages to strengthen their political, social and economic position.

Which is exactly why rulers might ban polygamy for others.

Even in societies in which polygyny is defined few men have more than one wife.

So much for the claims that the polygamous freedom to marry will mean gangs of dateless men rioting in the streets.

In Sororal polygyny a man marries sisters who may cooperate and get along without creating family discord.

Sisters never fight.

Seriously, though, although there are polygynous marriages in which it is always one man, one woman at a time in terms of lovemaking, there have also been some in which, at least at times, there’s two or more wives with the husband at the same time, or the wives have something going on between them. Some such polygynous marriages have involved sisters. That’s getting along really well.

Polyandry has been recorded in parts of Tibet and among the Todas and Paharis in India.

It’s been recorded lately on American television, too.

In societies where men may have to be away from home for long spells of time a woman with more than a husband is assured of protection and help.

Among other things.

Fraternal Polyandry recorded in the Toda tribes in the Nilgiri hills South India is a system according to which a woman marries brothers.

Again with the siblings. It’s nothing new.

These are traditional marriages, and whatever reason someone may want to enter such marriages today, there’s no good reason to ban them. An adult should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults.
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