Five Reasons Why Matriarchy is a Minority

As I was having breakfast this morning, I bumped into a documentary on KBC. What? I was channel surfing and I saw a guy climbing a tea tree. Anyway, I watched for maybe an hour, because I like documentaries. In that one hour, I saw a pretty girl on a horse, naked men doing the twist on tea leaves, and a 16 year-old crying because of forced marriage. He was a guy.

I watched the show in bits and pieces, so I probably missed the point and the context, but I can tell you the girl on the horse was part of a caravan, the guys doing twist were processing raw tea [they weren’t completely naked – they wore loin cloths], and the 16 year-old,  well, he was just special. Here’s what happened.

In Shangri-La, society is matriarchal, so your mother pays your dowry. This little boy’s mother couldn’t pay for his wife, so she married him off to a rich family. No, that isn’t a typo. Since he had no dowry, he had to agree to be a mboch lowly worker for the bride’s family, in exchange for sex and conjugal rights marital bliss. I don’t know just how … flowered … this little boy was, but he was wailing the whole time and didn’t seem to like the idea at all.

I can’t quite tell if he was upset about leaving home, getting married, becoming a slave, or the fact that his new wife might nag him to death. The 19 year-old girl had chosen him specifically. She had been married once before, but according to their law, if a girl doesn’t like her husband, she can ditch him and marry another one. Er … yeah.

The bride’s home was far from the groom’s, so he was taken by his cousins on a caravan. The wedding was a big deal. The groom’s mother had to stay home because she was ashamed that she couldn’t afford dowry, but at the bride’s home, the guys and girls partied separately and had a blast. The couple only meets when the party is over. The groom cried for most of the ceremony, but his cousins cheered him up, reminding him that he had married well. Again, not a typo.

Now, I’m just curious here, but would this be counted as child labour and/or forced marriage? The boy is *cough*ahem*cough* only 16, and he looked pretty upset, but I don’t see any FIDA UNICEF lawyers complaining. I guess double standards aren’t just for the guys.

So, based on my brief viewing of the documentary, here are five reasons why matriarchy isn’t common.

  1. It takes advantage of double standards. In India and Maasailand, men can be prosecuted for marrying child brides. In Shagri-La, child grooms are perfectly legal.
  2. Child labour is legal, as long as the child in question is a boy.
  3. Women are allowed to have multiple husbands. Two or three brothers can marry the same woman and live happily ever after, but by law, these … er … couples (?) are only allowed to have two kids – in total.
  4. In the salt well villages, women work from 4.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. They carry barrels of water that each weigh 15 kg, then they walk uphill for 20km to the drying pan. They make up to 12 trips a day. Meanwhile the guys trade the salt, build houses … and do housework.
  5. In bigamist families, a portrait can have more than one dad, and nobody thinks it’s weird.

Still wonder why the world hates feminists? And in case you think I made this up, the name of the documentary is Tea Road To The Skies. I actually couldn’t remember the name [though I remembered the © date was 2007] so I Googled ‘tea caravan skies 2007’ and voilà! Yay Google!! Of course, it’s quite possible that things have changed by now. That was three years ago…

♫ You’re the one ♫ S.W.V ♫

For more information on 3CB, click here.

6 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why Matriarchy is a Minority

  1. Wow. Maybe I can go live there? Not for the child groom. ahem. But for the rule that I can have multiple husbands. Always hated that men were allowed to be polygamous in many cultures, while women just…aren’t.

  2. no doubt this is interesting to think about, but I find it rather offensive.

    Do you really think that patriarchy is that much better? With either one, matriarchy or patriarchy, one of the sexes is being repressed and is in a bad situation.

    If you knew anything about feminism, you would know that feminists fight for equality between the sexes, so really, it’s not feminism’s fault that matriarchy is taking place. Matriarchy has nothing to do with the goal of feminism unless it’s to abolish it as well as patriarchy.
    The goal is equality. That means niether matriarchy nor patriarchy.

    and really, people don’t hate feminists, they just don’t understand them.

    Thanks for passion on the subject though. I love to see these kinds of things brought to attention so that we can do something to fix it.

  3. sorry man, but i think you’re a little confused on this issue. hillary (other commenter) is right, patriarchy isn’t any better. and it’s precisely because men and women are equal, so it doesn’t matter if it’s men exploiting women or women exploiting men. if they’re doing it in the same degree, the two scenarios are just as bad as each other.

    as for why matriarchy is uncommon… i personally believe it probably has something to do with the basic fact of life that men are *generally* physically stronger than women. so this gives them the ability to enforce their will, when push comes to shove. if you’re actually interested in real information about matriarchy, i am sure there are plenty of anthropological studies of it.

    culture in general seems to be less about functionality than just an accumulation of indifferent accidents; i think putting a culture’s success or failure down to specific features is probably too much of a social darwinist perspective. think about it, no one plans this stuff (what a culture consists of), it’s just people living their lives; getting caught in traditions and being unwilling to change.

    in other words; not all feminists are right; but feminism in it’s basic sense unequivocally is. talking down feminists and making them out to be idiots in effect forms part of the senseless oppression of women that just shouldn’t happen.

    it’s leave your ego at the door kinda stuff. just say “women and men are equal and deserve to be treated as such” and hooray – you’re a feminist.

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