Friday, March 9, 2012

Article: Polyandry: When Brothers Share a Wife

16 comments:

  1. This article was eye opening for me, because I didn't realize that there was such a thing as a wife marrying more than one husband, since a husband having more than one wife is all that I have been exposed to. It is hard to imagine something like this taking place in the United States, especially with how our society is centered around the individual. It is also hard to imagine this taking place in our culture as well because even though we have come a long way with improving conditions for women, the male still seems to be viewed as the head of the family. After further reading into the article, it was interesting to see how polyandry had different benefits than polygyny but they were still centered around the same things. One of the main benefits of polygyny is having more offspring to do more work, but polyandry is more focused on keeping everything in the family while still having offspring just by one woman. They both seem to be focused around materialistic things though, especially in agricultural societies. The last thing I also found interesting about this article was how the brothers had the option of going on their own and starting their own family if they didn't want to participate in the polyandry, but even though it was said to be an option it didn't really seem possible because of all of the hardships and tough conditions they would have to endure on their own.

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  2. I found this article to be very odd. I did not really know there was such a thing called polyandry. I always have thought of men with more than one wife but never women with more than one husband. This type of lifestyle is making sure everything stays within the family. The brothers do have the option of going off on there own and taking one wife, but many do not. This brings many hardships and rough roads ahead of them. On circumstance, when a woman marries into this type of marriage it may be that one of the brothers is much younger than the wife. When this happens this brother may not get quite as much attention as the other brothers or the wife may give him more just because he is younger. This is defiantly a lifestyle I have never seen and am new to. I was very weird but interesting at the same time to learn about what this is and comparing in to polygyny.

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  3. I thought this was very interesting. I have never heard of polyandry before now. When first reading this article it seemed so outrageous and illogical to me. But after reading more about why they say they do the things they do it started to make a lot more sense. They way their society is formed makes polyandry the most logical thing to do for a family of brothers. It really does maximize their ecological success and prevents the family possessions from being split up over generations. The diagram presented in the article comparing monogamy and polyandry really laid it out for me to see that in an economic system that thrives off of the family land, monogamy would decimate the the land shares to very little after just a few generations. So this system of polyandry and the brothers all working together and sharing their spouse and economic successes is actually a smart idea for them.

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  4. Polyandry is something I do not agree upon . It is hard to believe that it there is actually people around the world practicing it. I am a firm believer in husband and wife. There are so many downsides to polyandry. Some of the downsides that I read within the article is status, attention and desire. I feel that it doesn't create equality. Today in class you introduce the vague definition of marriage and I feel that it is not vague enough for a polyandry to fit. Polyandry should not even be recognized as a marriage because a marriage is a union. How do you have a union if all partners are not happy. Some of my friends married today say that the ,two, of them together is enough ( I just don't think a polyandry marriage really works). It is a challenge being married and adding on to it with more people, is ridiculous to me. Again I am strong believer in one plus two but at the same time I grew up in a America idealistic society. On there other hand the culture within the article has certain beliefs and that is one of them. I do not look down upon their beliefs because after all that may be all they know. I do know that I would not support it enough to try it out.

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  5. I found this article very interesting! Prior to reading this the only other knowledge I had on plural marriage was from the reality tv show Sister Wives (which is about a man having multiple wives). One of my first questions when learning about this alternative lifestyle (Polyandry) is why? It seems so foreign to me that one woman would marry a set of brothers ;however, the article provided some answers to my "why" question. The biggest answer seemed to be that they were preserving the family resources. The article included an interesting diagram of how the family land would be split in the event they did not all keep it in the family. A family member does have a choice if they would like to go off on their own ;however, they can lose their inheritance. Due to the land situation it would make it very difficult to be successful or maybe even survive. Because of this it would be very difficult to leave. Although, based on our class discussion this is a decreasing way of marriage!

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  6. I enjoyed this article having a different perspective on marriage especially in view of keeping the family together--by grouping resources, labor, land and minimizing the number of children per the diagram in the text. I did find it a little bit confusing on the differences in how the society view polygamy and the facts surrounding them, for instance that the Tibetians having a shortage of females which is not true and the fear of starvation. The concept of keeping one wife to prevent family division so that conflict with other wives and preference for their children does not happen, is a great idea. The other area I found interesting is divorce and affairs are tolerated, so you can get out of the marriage if you want. The distribution of labor was another great concept, by dividing the work up each person is not over worked, but get to share in the wealth associated with it. As far as America, we do not view the limited resources (land) as a valid reason to marry more than one person, but I can understand that under circumstances that prevent this like in Tibet that you have to admire their ability to overcome their circumstances to survive. I would find it unconventional to have more than one husband and to treat them all the same emotionally and sexually, quite tasking. Not sure I could do it! The other area I thought made a lot of sense is the perpetuate fraternal polyandry a servitude threat was a valid reason for keeping the land and money=one wife together.

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  7. I found this article very interesting due to my lack of experience with polyandry. It does put a different spin on things but I feel that for some, polyandry might pose a suitable solution to an otherwise staggering problem. In an area where resources, jobs and money are scarce, pooling what you do have with your family is a great way to share responsibility. While I understand there are real issues within a polyandrous relationship, including issues with status and attention, these pale in comparison with the issues of a single or separate life. Getting food on the table is more important than having the sole attention of your wife. I would also like to point out that even monogamous marriages have major issues over who holds the power, so this is not an issue that should be applied solely to polyandrous marriages. Also, in a Tibetian culture, the preservation of family resources is crucial for both survival and for social well-being. This makes the polyandrous marriage a good choice for them. While I feel like a polyandrous marriage would not be my choice, I have never been put in the same position as Tibetan citizens and, therefore, cannot make an unbiased decision.

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  8. I really enjoyed reading this article. I didn't really know much about polyandry. Before the article, I didn't really understand why people would have multiple wives or husbands. After the article, I understand why brothers would marry the same woman in their culture. It is important to preserve the family resources. If every brother had a wife and children, then the resources would be split and spread thin. It would also be difficult to go out on your own and leave your family's land. Although I would not have a polyandrous marriage, the article shows why the people in that culture make that choice.

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  9. I heard of polygamy and others stuff before, but i was surprised by reading this article talking about polyandry and brothers sharing a wife. it's pretty interesting and when i read about it, i kind of understand why it happens in that country. why can't there built a big house, and each brother get his own wife and they all live in the same house and still share the wealth. because they are single women living on their own, when they can be married and have a husband and kids. well at the end they have they valuables reason to why they do and like polyandrous marriage. I don't think i would really like that idea of sharing a wife with anyone, but i guess just like their culture that's the way it is in my culture.

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  10. This article was different and different due to the cultures, beliefs, and values. I had my own views on this article. one of my views on this article was that people shouldnt share wives espeically if the wife is their own sister. The brother should be able to go out and find his own wife instead of living in their older brothers shadow. Another view I felt that children should know who their father is so that one wouldnt grow up reproducing with one of their relatives like a brother or sister. Maybe in this culture this way of life works but in our society it is looked upon as a taboo.

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  11. After reading this article, I felt very unaware that some people's marriages are actually the way these peoples are. I have never thought about polyandry as an option for marriage at all. I never have understood the point to it, because I feel like there should be one man and woman and they are meant to be with each other and no one else. I believe marriages like this contain jealously that shouldn't even be there. I completely disagree with polygamous marriages, but it may work in other cultures and religions.

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  12. The concept of multiple husbands is forgein to Americans. If a woman were to be with two brothers in the United States, she would be looked down upon and honestly, she probably end up on Jerry Springer. For their culture, the arrangement kind of makes sense. I understand how having two husbands providing for the family would benefit the wife and kids and keep assets within the family. I think that it is a less than ideal way for the younger brother to live, though. The older brother leads the household and basically controls the wife. The younger brother is always in the background. In America, we also place alot of value on biology. It is taboo to us when a child does not know which man is their father. In their culture, it is a positive thing because all men treat the children as their own. Polyandry would never work in America.

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  13. This article was very strange to me. I had never heard of this type of polygamy before reading this. Being a christian American, I often think of Mormons when I think about polygamy, but never the Himalayas. I have never heard of a society where women have multiple husbands. The idea of the children knowingly addressing someone else's father as their own, is extremely strange to me. In our own society, I think we marry for the social status and economic benefits associated with that title, while those mentioned in the article marry multiple people to keep the families resources together. With how selfish we are as a whole, I don't think this type of marriage would work in the United States because the men here would not be as accepting of providing for other's children.

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  14. I feel like the things described in this article comes off as extremely bizarre to most who read it. The idea of brothers marrying and sharing one wife does sound strange and I personally wouldn't participate in something like that, but the reasoning the Tibetans have is fairly logical. For example, Dorje said he decided to marry with his brothers as opposed to taking a wife by himself was to maintain a higher standard of living and not having to divide the farm. Also, in this way, the family is larger and more cohesive. The children have more support and parental figures. It was also said the Tibetans do this to prevent family fission. Again, as bizarre as it does seem, it's difficult to argue with their reasoning behind it. If that's what works for them, makes them happy, and it's a productive means of living, I can't really say that it's wrong of them to do.

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  15. The practice of polyandry seems bizarre to many of us in our society. To them it is very beneficial economically, since they do not have to divide up the family wealth. We do not have the same worries about the amount of land that we will be able to use, because we are not dependent on the land for crops. I think it is economically beneficial for them, given their circumstances but i would never practice it myself. I am the youngest of four brothers and would rather not submit under another one.

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  16. For Americans reading this article, the idea of polyandry is an extremely odd practice. This goes especially for the part where the wife has sex with all of the brothers, and it isn't seen as unusual. However, we have to realize that the acceptance of certain practices are very subjective to the culture, and the reasoning behind polyandry is somewhat logical in being ecological, even if Americans aren't willing to compromise that aspect..

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