19 April, 2009

weekly discussion #9 (anthro 101, class)

Reflect on the readings from C&C on family and marriage and the film "Masai Women."

What do you think the purpose of marriage is for you? What is "normal" to you in terms of a family? What is your family's purpose in your life?

How is this similar or different from the other cultures that you read about and saw in the film? Did anything about the diversity in how people view sexuality, marriage and family surprise you?


One of the articles in the book spoke of arranged marriage as it is in India, and how American students have a hard time grasping the concept, generally. I would say I fall into this category; it IS hard to grasp the concept just because I don't live it and couldn't imagine a world without my freedoms of everything else, much less choosing to whom I want to be married to for the rest of eternity. One of the main reasons for arranged marriages is due to kinship and the fact, as the book states, that the parents want to get their children married off as soon as possible so they don't "mess up the system," basically. (They don't want them falling in love, messing about or eloping and thus messing up the family line, essentially.)

The book describes marriage as the "socially accepted union of two people" and I suppose this is a very accurate definition. My idea of what marriage is, is not necessarily that of everyone around me. The purpose of marriage in my life, is to be able to spend the rest of my life joined together with the man I love, living our lives as one. "Normal" for me in a family is one mum and one dad raising their children together under one roof. Now, just because I'm saying this is the "normality" for me doesn't mean it's what I've had. I'm not going to go into detail about my personal life here, I don't feel it necessary at the time, but the general idea is that I see marriage as one man and one woman.

The purpose my family serves in my life is to be a huge moral support for me as I am for them and to be the first ones I turn to when I need a helping hand. They are the closest friends I could ask for, usually.

What I see is very different than a the film and a lot of what was in the book. In the film the women are the men's slaves, basically. This is not at all how it is in America. The book speaks of arranged marriages and marrying into familial blood lines in order to stay true to the family blood, in America the whole point is to marry outside the family because marrying inside the family is viewed as grotesque and socially unacceptable. So in a lot of ways, very, very different. The Masai men also believe in having more than one wife, this is a custom we do not practice here. Trying to find ways that they are the same is difficult, as most of the points in either or are complete opposites or at least so different that they are not relatable at all.

I wouldn't say the sexual and martial views and patterns of the cultures in the film or book "surprised" me, per-say; because I knew they were out there and what they were . . . but I would say it reminded me of just how different the world is. Personally, and in light of my faith, I believe marriage is one man and one woman. It was good to be reminded what I believe, how I see the world and why I see it the way I do.

1 comment:

Kim Hedrick said...

Great discussion of the readings and your perspective.