Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dowry vs. Bride Price vs. Indoor Plumbing?

Traditional societies have usually taken one of two views, according to anthropologists, of women.

In one view, the female is another mouth to feed, a drain on the family, and has to come with a dowry. If she doesn't have enough to bring with her because her family is poor, she might not even get married. Traces of this are still seen in China and India, where females are often undervalued, sons are considered to be better than daughters, and in some places, the number of female babies aborted or killed as soon as they are born is so high that the men can't find enough women to go around.

Then there is the bride price view. In this take, the woman's potential to bear children, thus increasing the family and its ability to work the land, is highly valued, and a man must pay a good price to get a good wife.

In modern Western society, you see traces of both systems, which is why the bride's family provides certain things for the wedding, and the groom's family is supposed to provide other amenities.

Well, there seems to be a new side to the story.

In India, where up until a decade or so ago, a man with several daughters was considered a poor man because of all the dowries he would have to provide, no matter how wealthy he actually was, a new awareness is dawning.

It seems that more brides are refusing to marry a man who cannot provide her with indoor plumbing.

A radio jingle there says it all: "No loo? No 'I do!' "

My college professor who taught Chinese history summed up Chinese history as, they kill off lots of the female babies, the men who can't find brides go off into the mountains and become bandits, eventually there are so many such unmarried men that they end up having some sort of revolution where these excess men get killed off, and the cycle repeats.

In India, the fact that the females are a bit more scarce is instead leading to a plumbing revolution. One that will raise the standard of living for the people as a whole.

Interesting news indeed.

Link to the full story:

Today is:

Army Day, Honduras

Babbling Day

Compact Day, Marshall Islands

Independence Day, Costa Rica

Lancing Tournament

National Day, Somalia

National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day

National Shut-In Day

National Youth Health Awareness Day

Overseas Chinese Day, Taiwan

St. John of Bridlington's Day (patron against complications in childbirth)

St. Ursula's Day (patron of teachers, schoolgirls, orphans, tailors, universities; against the plague)

Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day

Trafalgar Day

Birthdays Today:

Jeremy Miller, 1976
Carrie Fisher, 1956
Benjamin Netanyahu, 1949
Judge Judy Sheindlin, 1942
Celia Cruz, 1925
Joyce Randolph, 1925
Dizzy Gillespie, 1917
Alfred Nobel, 1833
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772

Today in History:

Constantinople emperor Constantine the Great rules laws against Jews, 335
Sultan Kilidj Arslan of Nicea defeats 1st Crusaders, 1096
Martin Luther joins the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg., 1512
Ferdinand Magellen arrives at Tierra Del Fuego (Pacific Ocean), 1520
Sea battle at Dunes, Lt Admiral Maarten Tromp defeats Spanish armada under De Oquendo, 1639
First display of the word "Liberty" on a flag, raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts and which was in defiance of British rule in Colonial America, 1774
US Navy frigate Constitution, Old Ironsides, launched in Boston, 1797
Battle of Trafalgar, Adm Nelson defeats French & Spanish fleet & dies, 1805
The Penang Free School is founded in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, by the Rev Hutchings. It is the oldest English-language school in Southeast Asia, 1816
Joseph Aspdin patents Portland cement (Yorkshire England), 1824
Thomas Edison perfects carbonized cotton filament light bulb, 1879
First transatlantic radiotelephone message, Arlington, Va to Paris, 1915

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