ANT101 wk3 a1 Essay

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Final Research Paper
ANT 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Prof. Name
December 14, 2014

Marriage is a rite of passage stemming from other puberty or adulthood rituals (Crapo, 2013). The topic of marriage practices vary from culture to culture. While many cultures share the same or similar marriage practices, some are quite different and far from the norm that I, being a Christian American, am used to. Many indigenous cultures such as the Tongans of the Vava’u Islands in the South Pacific and the Mosuo cultures of ethnic China, have maintained their own ways of life when it comes to marriage and both of their customs suit their needs for economic survival and growth and family. Before there was contact with the outside world, Tongans were very strict in their belief that girls should remain virgins until married. Breaking this sacred vow to chastity was especially common with the high ranking women in the society, but not so much the commoners. They even had rituals on the wedding night to prove the bride was a virgin. High-ranking women were also allowed to marry cousins as to not have to share the family’s wealth with outsiders or commoners. (E.E.V., 1932). Years later, the whole culture soon began to adopt monogamy and fewer marriages to cousins existed. Currently, there are no arranged marriages in the Tongan society, however marrying outside of your social class is discouraged, but still occurs. After marriage, Tongan ladies get to be subordinate to their male spouses and generally surrender any rights to their family property, which is usually inherited by the male beneficiary. She is required to support her spouse and aid him in his attempts to enhance his social position. Along these lines, even in spite of the fact that there are social systems to guarantee ladies are respected and highly regarded, social and gender inequality are necessary to the socio-cultural fabric of customary Tongan culture; women are thought to be subordinate to men and must submit. (UNICEF, 2006). Prior to Western influence, separation or divorce was fairly simple. The wife who was no longer interested in her husband could simply go home to her brother. However, post-contact and the influence of Christianity made divorce and separation more formal as to adhere to the scared covenant of marriage in Christianity. Unlike, the Tongans, the Mosuo people have had little access to Western influence and allow themselves more freedom when it comes to marriage and their sexual behaviors. The changes that have been inflicted on their way of life have come most in part by the Chinese Communists. Shockingly, the Mosuo people do not believe in marriage at all. They have a very unique way of looking at relationships with the opposite sex and how it affects family life. Men and women are not tied to any kind of economic responsibilities to each other. When a girl has experience the coming of age ceremony at age thirteen, she is able to wear a skirt and be allowed to her own private chambers in her mother’s house away from the common areas of the house, in which she can start inviting the lover or lovers of her choice for as long as she wishes. (Stacy, 2009). She can signify that she is done or uninterested with her sexual relationship with a man by simply keeping her window closed or locked that night. Her chosen lover, however, must always leave out the window the next morning and return to his mother’s