Variation in affinal relations

As we saw in this week’s readings different cultures around the world have different ideas about who counts as family and what different family members’ rights and obligations are relative to others. Some of these kinship systems can be very different from the ones we are most familiar with. In this assignment use the required readings to reflect on how your life might be different and how your outlook on the world would change if you lived in a different culture that had a different definition for the ideal form of marriage.

In the article “Polyandry: When Brothers Take a Wife” we learn about marriage among the indigenous peoples of Tibet where one woman takes multiple husbands. While polyandry (one woman, multiple men) is quite rare, polygyny (one man, multiple women) is considered the ideal form of marriage in many cultures. How would you like to be a participant in a poly marriage? What might be some of the benefits of such a lifestyle? What drawbacks do you foresee? Do you think this form of marriage is unacceptable in the modern US? Why?

In the article “Family and Kinship in Village India” we learn about arranged marriages in India where the parents of the bride and groom negotiate the union among themselves with a limited amount of input from the couple to be engaged. The traditional marriage in India is also a contractual exchange accompanied by a dowry (property paid by the bride’s family), which contrasts with another common practice, bridewealth (property paid by the groom’s family). How would you like to be a participant in an arranged marriage, accompanied by a formalized exchange of property? What are the pros and cons of such an arrangement? Do you think this form of marriage is unacceptable in the modern US? Why?

Your assignment is to leave a thoughtful reply in the comments section below. In the space of about 300-500 words address one of the two articles mentioned in this post (or do both if you feel ambitious). The point of the assignment is to prompt you to see things from another culture’s point of view and to reflect about your own cultural behaviors. This is not an exercise in right or wrong. It will be given a completion grade. Queer and gender-nonconforming students can interpret the scenarios above creatively. Approach the problem in whatever way seems most appropriate.

Deadline is 9am Friday, November 1st. After I drink my coffee and drop my kids off at school I’m logging to grade this so you better be done by then.

About Matt Thompson

Matt Thompson is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Old Dominion University. He's a Tar Heel, so if you're wearing Duke gear watch out.
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38 Responses to Variation in affinal relations

  1. Alicia Sposato says:

    Personally I don’t think I would like participation in a polyamorus marriage of any sort. I feel like the biggest downside would be jealously among the spouses. While I feel polygyny would have very few positives, economically it would be very expensive because of the amount of children and wives necessary to support. It could also be repressive to the wives, as polygamous marriages are predominant in patriarchal societies.
    However polyandry is definitely a better idea in terms of economics. There are fewer kids and wives necessary to support and more individuals working to bring home income. If polygyny were to occur in a society with equal job opportunity among the genders it could be a great potential income source if some of the wives entered the job force.
    A big issue with polygyny would be the preferential treatment of the children. Because each wife would be sure they were the mother they would know it was their kid. With polyandry the family would not know the father and no real preferential treatment would occur which would make polyandry less likely to cause family tension than polygyny.
    Personally I don’t think I would be able to participate in a polyamorus marriage. I would get jealous way too easily and also I feel it would cause a lot of fighting, it’s hard enough for me to get along with one individual. I can’t imagine trying to sustain a marriage with more than one individual.
    As for polygamous marriages in the United States I don’t think they will ever be accepted. For one we have laws that mandate monogamous marriage as the only legal marriage. And secondly there is a great stigma in our society for polyamory. Our society firmly believes in monogamy, even though we don’t always practice it. It is unlikely that we would accept polyandry or polygamy in marriage.

    • Jordan Bakos says:

      After reading this article about polygamy, I could not help but remember that TV show “Sister Wives” that is going on right here in America! After relating the readings and seeing it on television my mind is clear that I would never participate in the practice nor encourage it for that matter! Not only is it not fair to us as a society, but not fair to the family unit as a whole. Sure, will not say there are some positives to this arrangement, such as no marriage tax, sharing of property and family bonding. However, in the long run, facts show how much tension there is between mothers still holding their monogamy roots in regards to aiding their biological children over others. Another fact is how confusing it must be for the children growing up on understanding their family unit vs the rest of the monogamy families.
      To put it simply, polygamy is not popular these days as it is no longer needed, at least in the USA. Woman here have equal rights and same opportunities as men without the need to “pool together” for economic benefits.

  2. Lauren says:

    The polyandry chapter was an interesting read. That said, I certainly would not want to participate in that lifestyle for several reasons. I am married, and the amount of emotional work it takes to have a successful marriage is tremendous, and I only have one husband. What the chapter didn’t discuss was the personal relationships among the wife and husbands. From the information provided, these marriages represent “the good life”, which is likely our version of “The American Dream.” In Western culture, we (ideally) marry for love, not economic prosperity, but a dual-family income certainly provides financial stability, so perhaps the ideas aren’t too far apart. That said, our culture bases relationships on compatibility, so personally, I would have a difficult time accepting a lifestyle where my chief responsibilities included providing sex to several husbands and raising what I can only assume would be a boatload of kids. And since a majority, if not all, of the responsibility falls to the woman, I would again have to say that this would be a big no for me.
    Some advantages of this lifestyle would be, as mentioned in the chapter, more partners providing financial support and contributing to the household wealth, and the children having several father figures. Disadvantages would be the inability to form a close bond between a wife and husband because of the rule that the wife must show equal affection. And what if she hates ALL of her husbands???
    I feel the same way about polygamy as I do about polyandry, and that is that it would not be something I chose willingly. In polygamy, I would think that there would be much more jealousy among the wives than there would be among husbands.
    Neither of these lifestyles would be widely accepted by modern society here in the U.S. because of the way we view and define marriage. However, polygamy does exist here in the states, and is even being brought to the forefront by TV shows such as “Sister Wives”, so maybe our exposure to different lifestyles will lead to a broad acceptance…but I doubt it.

  3. Kennedy Jenkins says:

    Between the two articles, I found the one on polyandry to be more amusing. I myself would not like to be a participant in a poly marriage, but that may be because of how and where I was raised. I am accepting of the cultures of others, however I do not think it is something I would be comfortable with.
    As far as benefits go, I see the several advantages mentioned in the article as being true. The men do not have to divide their land up between siblings. They can all share the large piece left by their parents. The children would have multiple suppliers, so they would never have to worry about not having money or food. The wife would be well-supported. The husbands would have extra money or food because, unlike in a monogamous relationship, they would have one wife and a few children to take care of as a whole rather than one man to a wife and three or four kids.
    There actually aren’t many drawbacks to polyandry that are recognizable. The reason we see it as strange is because that is not something our culture participates in. Perhaps in a scenario, one of the brothers feels as though he must compete for the attention of the wife. Maybe he is significantly younger than the wife and she is not as attracted to him as the other brothers. Therefore, if he is not receiving equal attention, he may feel the desire to leave the marriage. He would have to rebuild a life starting with almost nothing. Also, the equal treatment of children would be a challenge. If the wife has a child, and which brother is the father is apparent, the other brothers would not be as invested in that child because they know it is not theirs. The biological father would probably be likely to show favoritism toward that child and treat it more special than the rest.
    Such a marriage is not accepted in the U.S. today. I don’t feel as though it is necessary to adopt a form of polyandry. It is used in Tibet as a way of giving people a higher standard of life. Farming land is scarce and dividing things would be a challenge. However, here we don’t have to have such forms of marriage in order to have a higher standard of life. There isn’t a shortage of land and there are opportunities for a good life.

  4. Julia Cram says:

    As a female, I would not partake in a marriage with multiple husbands. I dislike that kind of lifestyle because it would feel like cheating. I would feel as if i were being used or as if i was not important. To me, marriage is sacred and important. It is a bond that should not be broken and shared between TWO people. Not multiple. However, if I were to take the position of a man, then yes I would go for that type of lifestyle. Having multiple wives means having more of your genes being passed on to the next generation. And that is the goal of every species, even humans. The idea of polyandry would be great IF emotions were out of the question. Jealousy would over take many people and they would begin to feel possessive of their spouse. Emotions are what cause humans to make mistakes and cause them to act rashly. Take emotions out of the picture and the idea would work. However that is impossible so the idea of multiple spouses could never work. Sadly, emotions are what make a marriage. It is a strong emotional commitment and requires a lot of time.
    The benefits are multiple incomes and more women to take care of the children. With more income and children having a better upbringing, it can lead to success in life. However, it would hard to form bonds.
    Having multiple husbands and wives takes something out of marriage. It is supposed to be a special bond between two people. Having multiple partners ruins that bond. It takes the intimacy out of marriage. In some cultures, men women are brought up thinking it is okay, however, in America the idea is foreign and shunned upon. Americans focus on one person (most of the time), they want a special person to share their lives with. In the US, there is not need to assert dominance by showing off how many children you have, in fact birth rates are decreasing instead of increasing. American lifestyle does not call for multiple children anymore. We do not need children to tend the farms and livestock.
    I would also assume that their would be tension in the family. Children would compete with each other to get the father’s attention. The wives would also compete. The house would never be calm. A family must work together and stand by each other. I feel that one with numerous spouses and children would not share the comfort and love a normal family would have.

  5. Travis Taylor says:

    From the two different articles I came to a conclusion that polyandry marriage is more interesting, but way less attracting to me. Being involved in a relationship with multiple brothers and one wife would make me feel lonely at times while the other brothers are having time with her. If it were me I would rather have more than one wife, so that I would always have someone to watch my child, cook, and whatever other responsibilities. If I got angry at a brother over the sexual time spent with our wife, I would make sure the eldest brother knew my feelings, which would probably end up in a fight. I am shocked that there would not be an increase rate in cheating if a couple males only had one wife to share. Also I believe the women should have the right to choose one man or however many men, but still have the right to choose her sexual partner. When the wife has a child I believe that the man that created him should be the father. If all of them are the father than how can that child get that one-on-one bonding relationship with their creator (father). I feel like in the United States men need to have the feeling of dominance, and to fit into society everyone needs to have a wife and kids. Now that is just what I think the general conception of marriage, but do not get me wrong there are multiple ways of marriage here in the United States, men with men etc. People in the U.S. do not have the kinship that they do, and if we did it would allow us to have more connections throughout the world. I think it would be very interesting to go and document or study one of these unique types of marriage ceremonies.

  6. Cynthia Palacios says:

    I have absolutely no interest in a poly relationship, but an arranged marriage sounds interesting. I definitely would not want to be in one myself, but it has somewhat of an exciting air to it because I like surprises. These marriages can be extremely beneficial for one of the spouses, usually the bride. It’s a chance for her to move up a class or caste which is major to the family even if they don’t move up with her, the family gets a stipend for her loss, and the groom is able to find an “ideal wife”, meaning someone who will cook, be docile, care for children, etc. The major con would obviously be not being happy with your partner, even if it makes you rich. I think about 90% of marriages in India are still arranged, and only 5% end up in divorce which would seem good, but it’s actually just because divorce isn’t an option for most couples. It’s either maintain your family’s honor and live with someone who provides for you, or possibly move back into the slums which is usually seen as being worse than death, and have your family and friends never look at you the same way again. I think in some areas a divorced spouse is even looked at like a widow, and widowed females aren’t even allowed to live with the rest of society as normal.
    I actually know someone whose parents were in the process of arranging a marriage for him the last time we spoke, and they live here in the US so I’m guessing it’s not completely unacceptable. His parents described it as Americans “fall” (in love) while Indians /choose/ who they will be with meaning they have more control over their life and don’t go skipping around with partners. It gets tricky though, because his parents are strict in their Hindu culture, but he himself is very americanized and doesn’t want this marriage- which is how I would think many families in America are today (parents want it, kids don’t).
    Obviously to Americans, this practice is taboo and cruel. However, arranged marriage isn’t really meant to strip someone of their freedom and make them miserable just for the family’s benefit. I understand it to be a way for the parents to show that they care. They want to make sure their child is successful, has “the good life”, and is taken care of in their future.

  7. Erin Rissling says:

    Before reading the article, the concept of polyandry was not something I had heard of. Having multiple wives is definitely more common, although still considered taboo within our society. However, multiple husbands, let alone brothers is not something that I think I could participate in. There are some undeniable benefits such as a higher standard of living as discussed in the article. Thinking economically, the United States is seeing an insanely high rate of poverty right now and if people were more willing to try this type of lifestyle, I think that less people would be suffering from lack of proper food, housing, clothing, goods, etc. Although there might be an economic benefit, I think this form of marriage would never been acceptable in the modern US. We are far too individualistic of a society and the concept of marrying whomever it is that your sibling is marrying and living all together doing the same type of work would not be ideal for us. We have all been socialized into believing that we can do whatever we choose to with our lives and have whatever career we want, but if the men were forced to be in this type of marriage they would be condemned to work within the family for the extent of their working lives. The norm has been set in America and polyandry is not it. Once a norm has been established, if would be incredibly difficult to modify it. If polyandry had been the way were all grew up knowing a marriage to be, then we would find monogamy foolish and wonder how such people can survive with only one working man in a family.

  8. Anthony Carter says:

    If I had the chance to marry women and share that same marriage with my brother I would have to pass up the offer. I have a feeling my brother and I would be terrible at treating our wife with respect. We would end up having competitions with each other to see who can get our wife to stay the night. We would get so caught up in trying to steal the wife from each other, it would be hard to actually focus on the marriage or love behind it. Even though I would pass up the offer of a poly marriage, I can see the benefits of a relationship like that. If a woman had more than one husband, she would have abundant amounts of protection. She would also have variety of personalities to choose from on any given day. If a man had more than one wife, he could have plenty of meals available for dinner, and he could choose anyone to sleep with.
    Even though the benefits are present, the conflicts outweigh them for sure. I cannot imagine sharing a wife, and not getting jealous about the kids not being mine. I cannot imagine letting my brother take my girl to dinner and a movie while I sit there with his kids. That connection with your wife is shared, and you cannot do anything about it. Divorce is an option but those are never a great thing to take on. Monogamy makes more sense to people like me who believe in deeper connections with one individual, and protecting that connection. In the United States, marriage is practiced through monogyny. It has been that way forever. Traditional households raise their kids by teaching them the value of finding the “right someone” not “some ones”. Poly marriages would be seen as wrong and weird for many of us. This goes against tradition, religion, and norms. This is why it is unaccepted today, but if you take the physical marriage out the picture and look at poly relationships, then the results are different. Today the idea of “dating “or seeing more than one girl at the same time is a common idea to a lot of guys. Girls are also “talking” or “messing around” with multiple men as well. So if there weren’t laws or tradition, poly marriages in the United States could be common.

  9. Anthony Desomma says:

    Honestly, this has never crossed my mind much. I have heard stroies in the news but never gave it too much thought. I would not like to be involved in a poly marriage for the sheer fact that there would be no time in the day left for myself and doing what I wanted to do. Sure, some might want to explore other people and have sexual relations with other people but those that think this way have forgotten one key concept. How would they feel if their spouse or significant other have sex and relationships with other people? Both parties might want to explore this option while still having their significant other remaining true to them and involved with no one else. Sounds a little biased and selfish if you ask me. I dont like the idea of poly marriages and would’t partake in it because I dont want to share my time and attention with any other person other than my wife, and I hope she feels the same…

    Some benefits I could see would be personal satisfaction for the WILLING parties involved, higher self-esteem for some individuals, population growth, and yeah thats about as far as I could think of. The list is endless for the drawbacks; such as sex trafficking, abuse, rape, forced marriages, violation of civil rights, poverty, violence, enslavement, under age involvement, abductions, etc. The risks far outweight the benefits in my opinion and I wouldn’t practice it. I think this form of marriage is up to the individual and not America to decide if it is acceptable. America as a whole has issues with accepting different ideas or concepts when it comes to sexual orientation/ and or prefrence as we have seen in the past years. If all parties involved are WILLING and competent, then let them go at it. The key term or theme in this post is shared understanding and willingness by all parties involved. Who are we to stand by and pass judgement, create laws, and infringe on the rights of others for seeking happiness.

  10. Alexandra Harrell says:

    As a female it would be totally degrading to be sold off into an arranged marriage. The whole idea is spontaneous, but marriage is a big deal and shouldn’t be spontaneous. Marriage should have some preparation and feelings from both sides. In the arranged marriages the parents are the only ones that truly benefit since neither the wife nor spouse know each other. This would be so awkward for both sides and even more difficult for the woman. The women are forced to leave their family and home to go somewhere unknown. I also think it is wrong that the spouse’s family pay the bride’s family for their daughter. This makes women property which is a very old fashion concept.
    The only benefit of this system is the relationship that families gain when they arrange marriages with their children. The arranged marriages also tie together the entire India social class system. One negative aspect of this system is the lack of free will it gives people. This system tells you who you are marrying and gives you little knowledge of the event. The marriages are also too spontaneous so there are not any real feelings or meaning in the marriage. The arranged marriages also make women out to be property since the spouse’s parents buy her from her parents.
    This practice would never be acceptable in the United States. Parents would never be allowed to sell their daughter to other people legally. This system could only happen in the United States if it were done illegally. People in the United States are also obsessed with their free will and independence and would never marry someone their parents arranged for them to marry. The people in our culture are too entangled in making their own decisions and our social class system is very different from India’s. Indian cultural is much different than ours, so this practice to them is normal. If our culture were to change at some point then arranged marriages could be possible in the United States.

  11. Lauren Matthews says:

    Although the two articles were very enjoyable and interesting to read, my interest was drawn more towards the polyandry marriage. From a woman’s point of view I would not have any interest or consideration in participating in a poly marriage of any sort. My reasoning for this is simply because I think marriage should be valued and significant. I feel that in a poly marriage there’s not that special bond between a man and a woman. Being a woman and the thought of having multiple spouses seems kind of sickening, probably because of how I was raised by my family. In other words, having multiple spouses seems to be cheating, except nothing is hidden from anyone. I feel that jealousy would be a significant problem as well. Although the spouses know what to expect when coming into this marriage, I feel that jealousy develops more intensely when they see their wife/husband with another man/woman.
    I feel that a poly marriage would only be good because of the multiple incomes that would be coming into the family especially if everyone was working in the house hold, I feel that this would only be the advantage of this marriage. The role of the woman of a polyandry marriage would be more than difficult. I would find it emotionally degrading simply because the woman has to make all of her husbands happy, have sex with them, and more importantly show equal affection to all of her husbands. I feel that that would be the most difficult task in accomplishing because in my opinion, there is always someone you like better than someone else.
    In a polyandry marriage I feel that it really ruins a family. I especially feel bad for the children since they know who their mother is but have many fathers in their life and having to treat them equally, in a sense that they are all fathers to that one child. I would find it difficult to cope with if I was in the men’s shoes as well. I feel that if you knew who your child was but couldn’t tell him that you were his absolute real father it would cause jealousy also. Parents have special bonds with their children and I feel that by having multiple father figures in one’s life, that bond wouldn’t be as strong, or strong at all.
    I only feel that this form of marriage is unacceptable in the United States because Americans view marriage a whole lot differently than the people of Tibet. We view marriage as a bond between husband and wife and the people of Tibet view it more as a materialistic/economic bond more or so. Marriage in the United States takes time to know one person personally and the time to form a trustful bond.

  12. Maria McAteer says:

    The topic of arranged marriage is a tough subject that is definitely heavily based in its culture, and only has a place to survive within those specific cultures that employ it. This is not something that could grow in the United States simply because there is too much diversity and not enough strict conformity to a one culture. So the United States being a melting pot of differences has its own rules depending on location, but the main laws apply to the whole country. As for myself I would not participate in such a function as an arranged marriage, freedom of choice is a very important thing for me.

    There is a question of happiness in an arranged marriage which makes it difficult, because sometimes it eventually works out, but if it doesn’t that is one very negative aspect. The doubt surrounding our precious ideal of happiness is present within arranged marriages. The structure of the United States doesn’t support this ideal because this country has developed through a more independent route, not to say that communities don’t work together, we do yet each individual may still maintain their own goals at the same time. I think that the dream of an individual should outweigh the want of their family just because a family should always want to support their own children in happiness.

    I can see arranged marriage as being something that was developed to ensure the safety of ones children in knowing that they have a place that will be supportive to them within that cultural structure. But the benefits of this procedure would only be relevant to that society. Now that technology is assuring more jobs for the world and creating opportunities arranged marriage becomes more and more an outdated prospect. I would say that the cons out way the pros within modern times.

  13. Ryan Condotta says:

    Over the two articles, I find that the article over polyandry was far more interesting to me. I found this more interesting than the arranged marriage because polyandry is a rare form of marriage that isn’t talked about or as well known. After reading this article I find that I would not want to be a part of a polyandry marriage. I find that marriage is a special bond and relationship between a man and woman. The idea of sharing my wife with my two brothers would not be an ideal situation that I would like to take a part in. But since I am the youngest in my family, I wouldn’t really have to worry about finding a wife because I would be sharing my eldest brother’s wife with him, which would still be a situation that I do not want to get into.
    After reading the article, I can find that there are still benefits for this form of marriage. For example, being the youngest in my family I would not have to worry about the main responsibility of the livelihood for the family. That would fall on the eldest brother, even though I would have to help make in some aspects. The constant reliance of having a comfortable livelihood from living with my brothers would be very relaxing. However, I feel as if there are a lot of drawbacks to the polyandry type of marriage. For example, the idea of having competition between my brothers would not be an ideal situation for me. The idea of this sounds unappealing in any way shape or form.
    Based on the “idea” form of marriage in America being between a single man and a woman, I would find that many people would find Polyandry to be a very disapproving marriage. The thought of taking multiple husbands, or taking multiple wives would be frowned upon because of the “ideal” form of marriage that is thought of in the US.

  14. Heena Chotani says:

    The thought of marriage has changed drastically throughout the centuries. Instead of having the purpose of reproducing which was how it was practiced in the early centuries, recently in the United States people practice marriage to share their life with someone they adore. Based on the article, it seems the goal of arranged marriage for reproduction and allying kinship. It does not seem to me that the purpose is to find the one the bride or groom is most compatible with; it seems to be a tradition they do not wish to break. Even with some of the modern changes, it does not attract me or be something I would be interested in. By what I have seen in person, arranged marriages would be very unstable and abusive. I, personally, cannot get to know a person by a couple of meetings. The couple can learn to accept each other similarities and differences. They might learn to grow closer, become friends, and maybe fall in love. Unfortunately, some people are not open minded enough to except the others personality and actions. They might be attracted to each other in the first meeting, and then slowly begin to despise each other. Another con is that the woman or man might have no freedom. One could be very controlling of the other, to the point that fear starts to grow in the one being controlled.
    Personally I would hate it. My parents had an arranged marriage and seeing what they went through to get it to work, it does not seem appealing. It does not seem worth wasting half your life to understand someone, and finding love in your heart for a person that you are not attracted to. Arranged marriage in the modern US would be looked upon as rare. I do not think it would be unacceptable, but maybe just unique.

  15. Jonathan Diddle says:

    The practices that are discussed in these articles are very foreign and not talked about much in America. The idea of a poly marriage just seems unnatural, where an arranged marriage is more based on parental approval and the exchange of property. Both of these are thought of as the only proper way to go about marriage in some cultures, but in America, where we have enough problems dealing with same-sex marriages and equal rights, they are so unheard of that they are just considered borderline forbidden.
    I would not want to be involved in either of these marriage arrangements. In my opinion, marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Adding multiple of one or the other is just adding to the conflicts that many couples in America already face. Then, with arranged marriages you rely on your parents to pick a suitable partner that you may or may not love and have to go about “Bride Prices” and other conflicts.
    I could not share a wife with another man, let alone competitive brothers. There could be some benefits to a poly marriage, such as a higher standard of living and reduced population growth, as discussed in “Polyandry: When Brothers Take a Wife,” but these benefits are sought after in foreign countries because overall they face more challenges when it comes to income, population control, and well-being of a family. In America, where we do have a fair share of problems, but they would not be solved by adding more people into a marriage.
    The arranged marriage is a little less estranged, but I would still not be comfortable letting my parents arrange a marriage with someone I hardly know and might not care to spend my life with. In some cultures it may strengthen the bonds between families, allowing for greater cooperation, but I could not see how a greater bond between two families would help either of them succeed in their everyday lives in the United States. In less developed countries, the people rely on connections and cooperation of the people around them to survive, where we focus more on independence and personal growth to succeed.

  16. ReBecca Kline says:

    When I was in high school, I had a friend who often talked about arranged marriage because she was destined to end up in one. I often asked her if it bothered her that her marriage would be arranged but then again I was also sort of jealous that she basically got dates chosen for her and she sort of got to choose from the selection. I also thought it was really cool how she was basically happy about it. She was very strong in her culture and I think she just identified that it was an integral part of her culture and she really felt no reason to reject it. However, I would not like the situation for myself. Not only would being told who to marry bother me, but I do not want to be exchanged for property like I’m a piece of property! Like I said at the beginning, it might be cool to have a limited selection of husbands to choose from, makes dating a lot easier. Also, the whole idea of keeping the lineage strong and smart is pretty cool too. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoy my freedom to have some choice in my future. I was raised in a society where arranged marriage is not common so it makes sense that I would not want it to happen to me. America is all about freedom and stuff so this kind of thing could never be forced. Any arranged marriages would be by some agreement between parents and unlike in India, it would have much less cultural significance I think. Culturally, it’s about keeping family lineages strong in order to maintain a certain societal level. It takes the society as a whole to give meaning to the concept of arranged marriage. The American society does not believe in arranged marriage as a whole so for any individuals to participate would be for reasons other than the basis of the concept of arranged marriage.

  17. Sean Mierchuk says:

    The ideas of fraternal polyandry is a very foreign concept to me. The thought of sharing a wife with my siblings is not appealing to me. This is mainly because of the society that I live in which looks down on cultural concepts like this. If this was the norm in my society I would have no problem participating in it. Concepts like this seem to be more of a problem to people who don’t have an open mind to different cultures. The idea of sharing a wife as a sexual partner with my siblings would sound very strange to me but again that’s only because I am an American and ideas towards marriage like that are frowned on. The only type of issues I have with polyandry and problems caused by it being different and foreign. I have no real apprehension that isn’t caused by the culture I have been raised in If I was born in Tibet and I was looking at American culture I’m sure I would find issues with it that I would just not be able to understand. It’s just something caused by the different cultures throughout the world and I don’t have any real problems with other cultures because I don’t understand them well enough to criticize.

  18. Alyssa Hannah says:

    After reading these articles, I am so grateful that I have the independence that I do. Nothing against their cultures, I understand the reasoning for them but I would not be able to do it. First, I would never want to have an arranged marriage. My mothers taste so most definitely not mine. And honestly, my dad is not in my life so who only knows that he would pick out for me. But more importantly, I would not be able to do it because I value my independence. I want to have the freedom to make my own decisions and have relationships with who ever I want. It just does not seem fair to pick out someone’s future for them. This one time my mother made me go to dinner with herself, her friend and her friend’s son. Little did I know that she was trying to set me up with this boy. And let me tell you, I wanted to punch myself the whole time during dinner. He was loud, rude and had awful table manners. No thanks mom, not really my type. Anyways, I would be miserable if my mom picked out my husband for me. I do understand the benefits but I would hate to have the groom pay for majority. I am a very, “ I like to have/make my own money and buy my own things” type of person. I know what I like and do not like and I am perfectly capable of finding that in who I want too. Another thing I did not like was how these women had multiple husbands. Props to those women because I can barely handle one “significant other”. I just would not be able to do it. I think what drives me away the most about this topic is that these women have sexual relations with all their husbands. I just don’t like that, I think it is gross and very unhealthy. I am a one person and one person only type of girl. I sound so mean in this paragraph and I do not mean to be disrespectful but I just do not know how people do this and if it works for them, then awesome. But it is not for me.

  19. Spencer Henry says:

    In theory, coming home to multiple women every night sounds amazing. But in reality, I would not be on board with any relationship with “poly” in the name. I would not want multiple wives because I would want to put all my love and dedication into one woman. I would want her to feel special. On the flip side, I definitely would not want to share a wife. If I were married to someone, they would be mine and mine only.
    Even though poly marriages are not for me, I do see what they can bring to the table. In a polyandry, where a woman has multiple husbands, there are multiple men working and sustaining the household. With more people working there would be more food on the table and more disposable income. In a polygyny, where the man has multiple wives, there are more children. More children mean a better chance for the bloodline to survive. It also means more people to help around the house.
    While there are positives for these poly marriages, there are downfalls. Favoritism may develop in either a polyandry or polygyny. A man may love one wife more than other, and in vice versa. Jealousy may cause rifts in the family and render it dysfunctional. Also, the women in a polygyny may treat their own children with more love than the others in the family. In addition to those problems, money may become tight with all the children large families produce.
    In the modern United States, there is no way these type of relationships would fly. Most Americans share this opinion on marriage, that it’s shared between two people. In our country, love and marriage are romanticized and sought after. Everyone is always trying to find “the one”. I have no problem with polygamous or polyandrous marriages as long as all parties are happy, but America, at least right now, does not feel the same.

  20. Lauren says:

    On the one hand, I would not mind more than one husband. If one loses their job it is no big deal cause the others still have theirs. My kids would be provided for no matter what and would not be favored one over the other because of who was their father. On the other hand though, the idea of multiple husbands sounds like a lot of work. That is more laundry to do, mouths to feed and beds to make. What if one gets jealous or, possibly worse, apathetic towards me? If one stops caring the others might start to wonder if I am still good enough. And when your one wife gets pregnant what happens? It is just not as efficient from a man’s point of view to count on one woman to carry on his line as she is out of commission every nine months. At least if he had multiple wives he could have multiple kids all year round. He could impregnate multiple people and ensure that even if one baby died or was a girl his name or lineage would more likely be secured later on. Further, if I am sick of my husband, he can just go to one of his other wives for a while and leave me be. I would have help cleaning up the house and making dinner! However, girls can be so jealous and mean to each other that I just don’t think I could handle all the estrogen in the home. I cannot see either of these lifestyles taking hold in the United States. Most people who live here believe marriage is between two people only and there is no way to share more love than that. Cheating on your spouse is grounds for divorce because our laws are so inherently grounded in Christianity and no other religion(s). I could definitely see perks and drawbacks to these types of marriages but unless our government changes to reflect the changing world, that is just never going to happen.

  21. Claire Edwards says:

    I will be directing my response at the “Family and kinship in the village” with some references towards the other article. Honestly I wouldn’t mind having an arranged marriage. I know my parents love me a lot and would put a lot of thought on who they would match me with. They know me better than anyone else so I wouldn’t be worried. It would be less work for me also. But I feel like I would only be okay with it if it was a custom to my society. Since I grew up in the United States where there is a lot of emphasis on individuality and independence, I know I would have a fit if all of the sudden my parents were like ” we picked out your husband, marry him or we disown you.” If I grew up in a society like in India where there was a lot more emphasis on family and tradition, arranged marriage would totally be okay with me. My family puts a big emphasis on “kinship.” I don’t know if it is because we are a southern cultured based family or if they are older. But I feel like I have a ton of cousins and extended family. I believe this is the reason I wouldn’t totally hate having an arranged marriage. Now there are definitely good things and bad things about this form of marriage. The good things are you wouldn’t have to waste time with dating, your parents would like them since they basically hand picked them, and there is a good chance you would be financially secure. The bad things about being apart of an arranged marriage is that you might now like the guy. Yeah its all good that your parents like him, but they aren’t the ones who will be spending the rest of your life with him. Another bad thing is that you cant go see your own family whenever you wish to because technically you are apart of your new husbands family. I am very close with my parents and siblings so that would be really hard for me. I do not think this form of marriage should be unacceptable in the United States because it is still monogamy. The only real illegal form of marriage is polygyny and polyandry. Because the US places such a heavy emphasis on individualism, if it did happen here, someone would blow it out of proportion and next thing you know, there would be a law prohibiting arranged marriages. I would rather have an arranged marriage to one person then having to participate in a polygamist based marriage. I feel like that would be so degrading. I would hate having to be a sister wife. There would be so much jealousy. I wouldn’t be able to deal. And having to share your man with other women… that just sounds awful. I also feel like it gives a man too much power. He can have sex with whoever he wants whenever he wants. I would also hate having multiple husbands. I wouldn’t really feel like a wife in that situation. Yeah I guess you be well secure with money, but it just wouldn’t sit right with me.

  22. Sonam Gill says:

    The article about arranged marriage was definitely something interesting to read. I found it interesting that the people who are getting married have almost no say in who they want to marry. It is all up to the parents. I know that if my parents made me participate in an arranged marriage, they would give me an option on who I wanted to marry or even take into consideration what I wanted. I felt as if the parents were the ones benefiting more from the marriage.
    The pros and cons for arranged marriage can vary on the person. Some pros to arranged marriage would be that you wouldn’t have to go looking for someone because your parents already have them chosen. Pretty much your parents have all the work. They have to find someone that they like and arrange all of the events while you just sit around and watch. Also, if you are someone that doesn’t like dating then this is the way to go.
    Some cons to arranged marriage is that you are going into a life long commitment with someone that you hardly even know. They pretty much are a complete stranger to you. This sort of marriage seems to benefit the parents more than it benefits the individuals who are getting married. Another con is that the marriage could result in unhappiness for both individuals. There is always a chance that one will not like the other or that both will dislike each other.
    I find that it would be awkward having to live with someone that you didn’t even know. But after a while I feel like the awkwardness would go away and that you would actually grow fond of the person you are married to.
    I don’t think that that it should be unacceptable in the US because it is still a form of monogamy. It isn’t seen as illegal. People shouldn’t look down upon it because it is a cultural thing. Personally I wouldn’t want to participate in an arranged marriage. I would much rather find a partner myself.

  23. Kimberly Mccurdy says:

    I would not want to be in a Polygamy relationship based on the way I was raised. It seems hard enough already to have one partner, let alone more. I feel that in a polygamy relationship that there would be lots of jealously between the spouses, which would cause tension. At the same time I feel like I would be cheating if I were involved with multiple partners. I couldn’t imagine having kids with each of the guys and having the guys treat all the kids as their own.
    In a typical polygamy relationship there can be negative aspects. Such as when the kids are born the parent may know if it is their true son or daughter and show favor towards them. It seems hard to show affection equally to many spouses because there always will be a favorite between them who will get more attention.
    Economically it sounds like a great solution if you live in a remote location. Then there are many people to run the household and bring income in. Also fewer kids would likely be born compared to if each person had their own partner. When kids are born though in a polygamy relationship there are more people to take care of the children, which would result in more affection. A polygamy relationship also sounds more stable because there are many spouses who can bring in income compared to just one in a monogamous relationship.
    A polygamy relationship is defiantly not accepted in our society. If people had a polygamy relationship in the U.S. people would have complaints and nasty attitudes towards those people. People in the U.S. would probably never have the concept cross their minds but to the Tibetans in northern Nepal it is just natural. A polygamy relationship sounds interesting and I never knew that it existed till now but I wouldn’t want to try it out.

  24. Rachael Pesich says:

    After living in other cultures and experiencing other ways of life I still do not understand why people choose to be in polygamous relationships. There is constant competition when there is no need. Marriage was created for one man and one woman and any other way is wrong and non-beneficial. But in American culture today so many people go around having sex with more than one person, it wouldn’t surprise me if laws came into affect allowing relationships like polygyny.
    As for arranged marriages, I think that it works for certain societies that are structured around family such as India. It has worked well for that culture for thousands of years, but that type of marriage would never work in American society. This is because of many reasons such as a large body of radical feminists in this country who believe in being strong independent women who don’t need a man, or who want to be individualistic and avoid a committed relationship for as long as possible. I don’t think I would be opposed to an arranged marriage as long as I could meet the man who I was promised to and he was attractive. Although I do enjoy being able to choose who I want to be with.

  25. Life in America would be very different if polygamy were common and legal in more states. Our society for the most part is based on having monogamous relationships. I believe it would be difficult for Americans to accept the concept of polygamy. As a man I see far more drawbacks to polygamy than benefits.
    First of all would be the issue of jealousy and competition among wives. Each woman would need some level of attention from her husband. Naturally they are going to want as much as they can get and that would stir up strife amongst them. Even if the husband tries to set aside time for each wife equally, there will always be an issue with one of them feeling left out or ignored. The women would have to rely on emotional support from each other.
    Not only would the wives need support, the children that they produce would also have to share time with their father. If a man has at least three wives they could potentially bear three children each. Their ages could range between two and up to twenty years. Now the husband has to also spend time fathering all these children because he is their main male role model. Each child would require time with their father so that they could learn important values that only a father could teach them. Just like the wives, there would probably be feelings of abandonment and neglect.
    If the husband can find a way to entertain all the emotional needs of his many wives and children he next has to find time to financially support them. This could also pose a serious problem. The average American man does not make enough money to support multiple wives, not to mention their offspring. He would have to work at least two jobs and that would take more time away from his family. In our culture monogamy is a far better concept than polygamy.

  26. Andrew Mcleod says:

    The “Polyandry: When Brothers Take a Wife” is an interesting article that takes place in Tibet, illustrating marriages among indigenous people, where women takes multiple husbands. I personally will not be a participant. Traditionally, having two or more brothers jointly take a wife, this is Tibetans idea of marriage and family. I personally don’t like to share my love one amongst a few other guys, especially when feelings and emotions are involved. I can imagine the tension and the sexual conflicts that may arise in polyandry families. According to the article, the wife has to show equal affection and sexuality to each of the brothers. This is impossible to the western culture of marriage. However, they reap the benefits of land that remains intact and undivided. Moreover, it increases the chances of survival of future generations. This form of marriage will not be accepted in the U.S because it will cause chaos. First the children will not know who exactly their father is, when they are specifically told that all the fathers are responsible. Of course, issues in jealousy and frustration among the husbands may occur. In western culture, most people fail to control their feelings and emotions when it comes to relationships with one. This is a type of marriage structure that will not work emotionally and economically.

    “Family and Kinship in Village India,” is another interesting that I find amusing in other cultures including mines. In the Philippines, many years ago, this was a type of marriage structure that was use to form alliance from one tribe to another. No property was exchanged, but traditionally a feast is held at the bride’s family’s home. Though, having my own property seems like a big investment, an arranged marriage will not be something that I would participate in. I come from a culture where we have the freedom to choose who we want to be with. Perhaps, there are some good sides to it. For instance, not worrying about disapproval of both parents, some people like the excitement of the unknown, regions that use this marriage structure may find stability and long lasting. However, the cons would be you can’t choose and love may take a while to develop. This will not work in the US, because this is a divorce waiting to happen . Most people don’t like surprises when it comes to spending your whole life with that person.

  27. Rachel Anderson says:

    I could never be part of any kind of “poly” marriage because it is not what I am accustomed to. I am used to love between two people being the norm within the realm of marriage. I find it repulsive honestly, but that is how I was raised. I could see how it could be an attractive lifestyle though. For starters, the female has multiple men working and providing income for the household. They all provide and protect her and make sure she is taken care after. They look after one another as well. Not to mention she has multiple sexual partners who all share the role of the father figure among all of the children. The drawbacks can be severe however. For example, if one of the grooms is give or take a decade younger so, he might think the bride is too old for him or the bride might even think she is too old for him. Also, what if one of the grooms get more attention than another wants and it causes jealously and fighting? Plus, what would happen say one groom gets hurt and cannot work and the others are working providing for their wife and him? That would ideally cause some tensions within the household. This type of marriage is not widely accepted in the U.S. because of many social and even religious factors. Society deemed two people equals a marriage and that’s that. Love is a widespread ideal throughout the U.S. It’s preached in churches, on the television, in music, etc. Love between two people is considered the ultimate goal. People fear dying loveless and alone in our culture, you see it in multiple movies. That is just our Westernized culture. Many other cultures, like the Tibetans, thrive on such unions in which they see nothing out of the ordinary with. Economic advances can overpower love in many cultures as well.

  28. Ian Burke says:

    Of the two assigned articles the one that I found to be the most interesting and thought provoking was the one on polyandry. I along with almost if not everyone that has posted on this article would be rather uncomfortable in sharing a wife with four or however many guys let alone my brothers. That being said i believe that the disadvantages definitely outweigh the advantages within a polygamous marriage, and that the opinions that people have on this subject are skewed based on the way that they were brought up.
    There are several advantages to being in a polygamous marriage in today’s society especially within america. For example I believe that if polygamy had been a tradition in america the media would have a whole lot less irrelevant subjects to talk about such as “This famous person is married to him or her but they’re sleeping with this other person.”. In today’s society that is a headline story that will be talked about for weeks. If polygamy were to be accepted here they media would have no choice but to talk about important national and international events that are not being prioritized at the moment.
    On an overall scale it would seem that polygamy is the correct and healthy thing for a society to partake in. However if you take a closer look at the individual partnerships there may be some evident problems. Some of these have been mentioned in previous posts, but they still hold their weight. First there is the matter of jealousy. While in societies that have been practicing polygamy for centuries or more this may not be as prevalent because there is not as much of a focus on the individual, but in the United states there i believe there would be problems with jealousy. Whether it be the wife playing favorites on a specific husband or child, this would create tensions between families and may even raise divorce rates. Second is the matter of population. With so many husbands and only one wife population would inevitably decline, while the initial effect of this would be good with unemployment down, the long term would have the first generation of polygamous children having to support a far more large population of old people as they progressed into working age.
    We all see advantages and disadvantages to polygamy and try to keep and unbiased opinion especially in posts such as these. However since we were brought up in a society where polygamy is not practiced and even looked down upon in some situations, it is impossible for us to see some of the advantages and point of view of those who have been practicing polygamy for centuries.

  29. Vinh Nguyen says:

    After reading the article on polyandry, I came to the conclusion that the practice is odd and impractical. Coming from American culture, we feel as if marriage should be about love and respect rather than just baby making. Learning about these practices of polyandry actually confused me in many ways. How can brothers share a wife? How can people be comfortable with this? How do they keep out emotions such as jealousy in these types of marriage? Sure, the practice does have its benefits such as a sense of unity in the family and a more stable way to bring income into the home, but the practice just seems too complicated. The article says that the woman must show equal affection towards all of her spouses, but this is almost impossible. Should the woman show even the slightest bit of favoring towards one of her spouses, this could possibly lead to much tension towards the brothers, thus leading to jealousy and disarray in the household. Also, the feeling of not knowing who your true child is could take a heavy toll on the brothers. Though they are told to love all the children as their own, I can only imagine that they want to know which one is their child so that they can focus on raising that specific child rather than trying to focus all your attention on a large group of children. After considering all these facts, I’m glad that polyandry is not an accepted practice in America. Here it may be harder to bring income into the household without the help of your brothers, but I’m glad at the end of the day we are allowed to come home to a wife and group of children that you know belongs to you to love and never have to worry about sharing.

  30. Eric Swenson says:

    If i had to chose between the two, I would rather the arranged marriage. An arranged marriage is more beneficial economically between these two life styles. I could not be a part of a polyandry marriage, when it comes to a relationship, I would not want to have to share with others. The arranged marriage, while it takes away from the rights of women, at least involves one man and women. The benefits of polyandry if viewed as strictly economically beneficial to me are not worth sharing with others in that type of society. Also, I would like to know who my children were rather then not really know out of a group. Polyandry also violates everything most people in the US are taught about marriage. It is difficult to see the benefits of this while not really being raised in their culture.
    The arranged marriage while, not practiced in the US, was at one time much more common. The ancestors of most US citizens had practiced this at one time. However, I would not want my parents to choose who I marry. If this was practiced in the US, I would think there would be way more problems in families and divorce rates would be even higher then they are now. The upside of this would be the benefits your family received in linking with another, since this is the ultimate goal of arranged marriages. I don’t think that this practice the way it was mentioned in the article “Family and Kinship in Village India”, would work in the US for a number of reasons. First, their society is based on social class systems. Arranged marriages are a way to move in social ranks. In the US, social status is not based on lineage and it is not at all similar to way it is in India. Also, arranged marriages would be contradictive to women’s rights in America. If I had to pick, I believe the arranged marriage would be the lesser of two evils.

  31. Kandyce Harrison says:

    I chose to write about “Polyandry: When Brothers Take a Wife”. I thought this article was very interesting, but it would never be something that I would partake in. In recent years the media has hit on the topic of polygamist relationships in shows such as “Sister Wives” and the “Big Love”, but you rarely if ever hear anything about polyandry. To be completely honest I had not heard of it until reading this article.
    I personally would not be in a polyandrous relationship. Having to commit my time and self to multiple in one household would be an uncomfortable and tiring task. I don’t think I would even be able to live in a house with more than two men. From my personal experience of living with two younger brothers having, there has been many times where I had wanted to pull out my hair. Being the woman of the house would require much work such as cleaning, cooking, and taking care of household overall. One benefit of this type of lifestyle would be that there would be more income in the home from multiple sources. Another benefit would be that there would more adults in the household to watch the children. Also there would be more adults readily available to take of anything that needs to be done in and around the house.
    I believe there are many drawbacks of being in this type of marriage. Jealously is a major emotion that will appear in the household, which can lead to competition. Competition between husbands/ wives would a major drawback, competition between men almost always bound to happen. Another setback would be having to keep up with all the sexual wants and needs of all of your partners.
    Personally I’m not one to judge so this form of marriage should not be deemed unacceptable in the modern U.S. The United States is a free country so citizens should be able to practice whatever religion or culture in which they please. Although Polyandry is not typical of most Americans many people amongst other nationalities successfully maintain this lifestyle with no problem.

  32. In the article “Polyandry: When Brothers Take a Wife” I would not like to be in any kind of poly marriage. With my cultural beliefs I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. I just think it would be strange sharing your wife with your brother or brothers. Some of the benefits that a poly marriage could have are more money for the household, more parental support for the children, more people around to help with choirs, and if one of the husbands wants to leave the family he can. Some of the downfalls would be living with your brothers or you may not have a real connection with your wife if you are sharing her.

    This poly marriage is looked down on in the US right now. There are some people who do have poly marriages but, this is a very rare group right now. The US is not like Tibet where most of the husbands go off for a few mouths at a time. Also, Tibet husbands work together on the farm and with animals and more men the work gets done a lot faster than if there was just one husband.

    In the article “Family and Kinship in Village India” I am still not sure how I would react to an arranged married. Guess it would be nice to stop trying to find a date. Though I’m not sure I would want to leave that up to my parents. I do believe that this kind of marriage is acceptable in the US. Couple of reasons I do think people in the US would accept arranged marriages because the parents are trying to help their child. In the article it had a very inserting point about not leaving something like marriage in the hands of young people. When you think about it a lot of people in the US get divorce now of days. Not sure about the number in India but it would be inserting to look at.

  33. Jamal Thomas says:

    This commentary, like the choices that others elect to be right or moral purely reflect my opinions, experiences, beliefs, and culture. On the opposing end of my opinion, through patience and education I understand that humans unlike many species retain the unique quality of variation. Variety illustrated through race, culture, and beliefs. This can also derive the concept that neither monogamy nor polygamy is a definitive trait of man. To conclude both monogamy and polygamy are choices not just for one person but both sides of the party or “parties”. With all said I am without a doubt a believer in the art of monogamy. Regardless which stick I pick if participating in a polygamist relationship I would come up emotionally short based on my perspective of a relationship. Investing your life and heart into one person that is doing the same thing with multiple other people sounds like a bad romantic comedy to me. I could not happily share the girl of my dreams with eight other guys and her new boyfriend, regardless whether or not I lived in an alternate reality were my dreams were reality and I had 8 girlfriends it would still corrode my conscience with unfaithfulness. Disregarding getting my delicate feelings hurt, for a group of people who have a mutual consensus of being in a multiple party relationship I have a difficult time deducing a disadvantage to this life style. Depending on how organized the group was would directly show how well everyone would live individually and together. Multiple incomes could mean more success depending on whom or where each person worked. In other cultures and countries I have no doubt that this is over looked as any others social norm. Although in the modern United States there is an entire rainbow of colorful lingo that you and I both know would get quietly muttered under heavy breathes towards the people who associate themselves with having more than one partner. A majority of cultures and religions in America strongly support monogamy making polygamy an eccentric lifestyle to many. Finally polygamy or polyandry can be argued to be honest or selfish but in the end it only really effect the people who choose to be in these relationships. I’m not really good at these paragraph conclusions so that’ll do pig.


    p.s. Just a joke since its Halloween

  34. Bryant Morales says:

    For the article, “Polyandry: When Brothers Take a Wife”, a polyandric marriage would be a very interesting thing considering I’m a guy. Considering that it would be frowned upon and it being illegal, it would be a bad thing to do. I wouldn’t really want to be in a polyandric marriage because I feel that it would be a very unhealthy relationship for everyone involved in it. The way I grew up, I believe that a man should only marry one woman and vice versa. While a polyandric marriage does have many disadvantages, it does have it’s advantages. One of the few advantages is that there is more financial stability in the family and that even if one of the husbands or wives decide to leave, they still are fine and it doesn’t really impact them in any way. Another advantage that a polyandric marriage has is that if a parent of a child or children dies, that child is still in good hands and is less likely to result in poverty and destitution for the remaining family members.

    As everything in this world does, polyandric marriage has disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is that it could result in jealousy between the brides or the grooms. An unhealthy relationship would make for either one or more bride or groom to leave the household and go for a divorce. This would impact the financial stability because it’s not only one person that may leave the relationship, it may be even more. A women in a society that believes in polyandric marriage has considerably less power and thus if they leave a polyandric marriage, they get themselves in a terrible situation. Which is exactly why a marriage like that isn’t really acceptable in the US.

    Polyandric marriage isn’t acceptable at all in US. In fact it is basically considered illegal. In our society, we have been taught that a marriage should only consist of one man and one woman, no one else. Polyandric marriage isn’t viewed upon as the right way a marriage should be. Even though polyandric marriage has more advantages than disadvantages, it shouldn’t even cross anyones mind. It is socially unacceptable and it shouldn’t really happen at all, unless you decide you feel that it’s the right way for you.

  35. Jasmine Chavez says:

    The article “Polyandry: When Brothers Take a Wife” explains the marital tradition among the native people of Tibet in which a woman marries multiple men (typically brothers). Although economically appealing, the practice of polyandry would certainly not interest me. I would not enjoy having to live with more than one man and going through the trouble of ensuring that everyone is content. And the fact that they would be siblings as well as the possibility of one of them being underage is disturbing. A marriage like this is not based on love, which to me, should be the sole purpose of marriage. But for those in other countries living in agrarian societies, polyandry certainly has its appeal. Polyandry allows brothers to easily preserve family resources. This allows brothers to avoid any potential conflicts involving the distribution of inherited land and animals. Not having to divide the farm and animals helps achieve a higher standard of living. More husbands also means more work, which ensures economic stability for the wife and children. Lastly, Polyandry can be beneficial to the community as a whole by reducing population, therefore limiting strain on resources. In contrast, the sharing of one wife (as expected) has a downside. Since the oldest sibling is dominant in terms of managing the household, the younger siblings must “subordinate themselves.” If younger siblings are hostile and uncooperative, conflict may occur. The tension caused by sexual favoritism is also a disadvantage.
    Now, whether or not this practice should be acceptable in the U.S is difficult for me to decide. I have a strong belief in marriage equality but would question anyone’s motives for considering an arrangement like this. I certainly accept this practice in other less developed countries and understand its necessity, however I find no need for polyandry in the U.S. Americans have the luxury of being able to marry based on love as opposed to having to marry someone based on their access to resources or what’s best for their family. I do not believe Americans would willingly share a spouse.

  36. Jon C. Robinson says:

    I guess I would have to say that the article most interesting to me would be ” Family and Kinship in Village India”. I feel like arranged marriages would be a little nerve racking at first, but at the same time you would know that you will end up with someone in the end. I currently work with someone who is of Indian decent and she was telling me that back in the old days a couple had no choice in the matter, that was who you were going to be with and that’s that. Now a days there is more of a choice so it makes things a little easier for the married couple to be. In an Indian marriage, a person will marry into a family of the same class and it often times depends on how much dowry is given. I like to think that, long ago, I would put up a pretty good fight when it came to my parents telling me I would have to marry someone and not get to choose for myself. Now it does not seem like it would be so bad. I do not think most Americans would go for arranged marriages because we are really used to the idea of getting our own way, free will. Americans do not like to be told to do something, we like the choice. We are stubborn about not getting our way. We would put up a pretty good fight about it though. The more I think about it and the more I write this blog about it, I am beginning to feel more in tune with it. I guess it would not be so bad because you would marry into a family that will take care of each other. I do not mean that the bride’s side of the family will take care of the bride and vice verse, I mean that the entire family (both sides) take care of each other because that is what family does.
    I do not think that I would be good with Polyandry mainly because I would not want to share with mu own brothers. My brothers are older so I would be the young one that our wife would pay less attention to so I am already not cool with that. I can see the benefits of being in a multi husband marriage, like more money for the family and more help around the house, but I would want to live with my brothers. I would have a hard time not really connecting with my wife and having less time with her intimately as well. I feel it would just create more problems and imagine the jealousy between the brothers. Think of it like this, it is your older brothers wife that you get to be intimate with. I would feel really bad about that, even though it is o.k. to do. At least you get the option of being able to leave if the situation presented itself.

  37. Michael Dinkins says:

    After finishing reading both articles I was very surprised by the different perspectives that other cultures have for marriage. Although I now understand the reasoning behind why I still could never participate in this form of marriage. In modern day America a relationship like this one would cause extreme jealousy and distrust between partners, but in a society such as the indigenous peoples of Tibet it would be more ideal to have a polyandry to limit population growth. By limiting their population growth the indigenous peoples of Tibet have been able to subsist on their land longer than they would have if they were monogamous. The land that they live on is high enough that it limits many areas for agriculture as well as arid because it does not receive enough rain. As the younger brother in my family I definitely would not be able to be participate in this knowing that I would not be able to decide my own finances since I am the youngest. However the benefits of having more resources for future offspring does make a good argument. If I was living with the indigenous people in the mountains of Tibet then I believe that this would have been the most logical form of marriage. However the drawbacks for younger siblings has been causing some to disband from the family and start their own farms.
    In modern day America I believe that this type of marital system would be discouraged. Although it may have been seen as necessary in their culture it is considered unnecessary and repulsive in ours. In American culture there would not be a need for brothers to share a wife because our land is not substantially limited compared to the indigenous of Tibet. In America, a monogamous family would benefit more because it would eventually increase wealth further than polyandry because of the numbers of offspring. A polyandry family would be shunned by the rest of the American society around them because they would be considered abstract. Although polygamy is more common I would not want to participate in that either because it would definitely eventually lead to jealously between the partners.

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