Using the three different representations of marriage presented in the learning block (polyandry, arranged marriages, and walking marriages), fill in the graphic organizer below. In Part A, you will have to first identify the biases you have regarding marriage and their influence on your perspective of marriage. In Part B, you will then take an objective stance and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these types of marriage. In Part C, you will create a question a social scientist might ask to further the investigation of marriage.
In this first step, do your best to identify three of your biases on marriage due to your culture and religion. The American culture and legal system generally allow only one type of marriage. What type of bias does this embed in us? The religions that people belong to and practice can also impact their biases toward marriage, depending on how their chosen religion defines marriage. How does this influence your perspective of marriage in general? How does this bias influence your perspective on these specific types of marriage?
The inability of the children to identify with their father and the jealousy among the husbands.
Lack of freedom to choose the spouses they truly love.
Possibilities of having more than one partner.
Influence of the Biases
In Polyandry type of marriage, a woman is married to more than one man as her husband as in the case in the video where the woman is married to the three brothers. Often, the children born in polyandry type or marriage are considered to be of the eldest brother. In some cases, the fatherhood of these children is established through a ceremony which in my view, may create a perception in these children that the other fathers may be their biological fathers denying their ceremonial fathers the respect they should be accorded. This kind of marriage also projects jealousy which is common with people in love. In arranged marriages, the spouses are brought together by other people who may be their relatives or friends. In such situations, marriage comes as a product of the opinions of other people but not love. Arranged marriages do not give individuals the opportunity to make informed decisions on the kind of people they want to spend the rest of their lives with. The parents and relatives operate on the assumption that their children are immature and impulsive to make sound choices regarding their spouses. In walking marriages where men stay in their own homes and are invited over, usually during the night hours to the womens bedroom, possibilities of a woman inviting more than one man to exist. The secrecy involved in this kind of marriage also gives room for witch hunt where a man can be interested in a particular woman while the woman is not. Such situations give room for the man to keep track of the man or men invited by such a woman and harm him as a result. Such kind of marriage does also not give room for a collective development as a man is bound to stay with his family all his lifetime.
While it is impossible to check our culture and biases at the door and become objective, we can identify our biases (as you have already done above) and try to ignore them to consider other points of view. In this next step, take a culturally relativistic standpoint (in other words, try to overcome your biases) and consider the tenets of each type of marriage. Why might these other forms of marriage be more successful or advantageous in certain contexts than the Western concept of marriage (based on love and monogamy)? Then, from that same culturally relativistic standpoint, also consider some possible drawbacks to these forms of marriage.
Type of Marriage Advantages Drawbacks
-Polyandry marriage helps in controlling population growth as the number of children that can be born of the woman is limited.
-This type of marriage is cost saving as it distributed the financial burden as well as other chores among the husbands.
-In cases of unity within the husbands and the wife, the family becomes stronger. -Polyandry marriage presents adverse effects to the health of a woman as it exposes her to the risk of acquiring the sexually transmitted infections.
-It also exposes women to psychological and behavioral changes which are common with the menstrual cycle.
-This type of marriage is also a hindrance to the social progress as all the husbands; mostly brothers are bound to one woman.
-Identification of the conceived children is also a drawback.
-Arranged marriages make it easier for the couples to seek financial assistance from parents in their times of need.
-There is joint sharing of burdens between the families involved to lessen misfortunes.
-There are a better inter-family relationship in such cases making it easier to get together. -This type of marriage can create conflicts between families and partners in case of failures.
-Due to high dowry demands by parents, girls may end up unmarried.
-Adjusting to each other in arranged marriages is a problem as the spouses do not sufficient understanding of each others attitude.
-In walking marriages, there is a shared duty in taking care of the children.
-This type of marriage presents a stable family structure with no issues such as divorce and marriage conflicts.
-There is no lack of preference for particular gender by parents. -There is swapping of children to maintain gender balance.
-High risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
-Lack of responsibilities by the fathers as some children end up not knowing their fathers.
Create a question: In this learning block, you were given a lot of information about marriage and what marriage means in different cultures. You were also asked to think about what marriage means to you. The next step is to take the information you have been given and create a question a social scientist might ask to further the investigation of marriage. For example, after reading about arranged marriages, you might ask: Are rates of depression higher in women in arranged marriages? Social scientists use existing information to come up with new questions. This is the iterative process of social science research.
What are the effect of polyandry type of marriage on the social and psychological development of the children?
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