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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Perspective [maybe]

Today I came across this article about child brides in India and Middle Eastern countries. Besides being shocked at a practice I knew existed but have never thought much about, I was of course reminded of patriocentricity. 

At first I was struck by how good we have it in the US, even most girls in patriocentric households, in comparison to girls in other parts of the world. And that's a valuable reminder. 

At the same time...that article reeks of patriocentricity. Every description of the mindset, if not the customs, in those cultures exactly matches that of patriocentricity. 

Forced early marriage thrives to this day in many regions of the world—arranged by parents for their own children, often in defiance of national laws, and understood by whole communities as an appropriate way for a young woman to grow up when the alternatives, especially if they carry a risk of her losing her virginity to someone besides her husband, are unacceptable.

The husbands may be...abductors who rape first and claim their victims as wives afterward, as is the practice in certain regions of Ethiopia.  

 Well this doesn't sound at ALL like the Old Testament laws, does it! 
Deut. 22: 28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[c] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

Remember this too: The very idea that young women have a right to select their own partners—that choosing whom to marry and where to live ought to be personal decisions, based on love and individual will—is still regarded in some parts of the world as misguided foolishness.
Some parts of the world. I take a sarcastic amusement in the shock that the author of this article would display at some of the patriocentric nonsense available right here in the US. 

He regarded me dubiously. "You have children?" he asked.
Two, I said, and the sheikh looked dismayed. "Only two!" He tipped his head toward a young woman nursing a baby in one arm while fending off two small children with the other. "This young lady is 26," he said. "She has had ten."
The sheikh made various pronouncements concerning marriage. He said no father ever forces his daughter to marry against her will. He said the medical dangers of early childbirth were greatly exaggerated. 

I am reminded of Debi Pearl's claim that the supposed dangers of multiple and too-frequent childbirths are negligible, compared to the more important 'eternal' consequences of not being quiverfull. 

"If there were any danger in early marriage, Allah would have forbidden it," a Yemeni member of parliament named Mohammed Al-Hamzi told me in the capital city of Sanaa one day. "Something that Allah himself did not forbid, we cannot forbid."Al-Hamzi, a religious conservative, is vigorously opposed to the legislative efforts in Yemen to prohibit marriage for girls below a certain age (17, in a recent version), and so far those efforts have met with failure. 

This last statement leaves me completely confused. At one time, I wish patriocentrists would take this approach: if God did not forbid women to work outside the home, go to college, or limit the number of children they have...why should we forbid it? On the other hand, the negative effects of this sort of thinking are evident in the above example: if we think that we can only make decisions on topics the Bible specifically speaks to, we will perpetually ignore real problems. 

Anyways, in's horrible to think that girls are undergoing real abuse in this way. [That is where a patriocentrist would leave it, probably with a subtle or not-so-subtle insinuation that the daughters of patriocentricity never undergo real abuse.] 

It is also horrible to remember that patriocentrists often share the same harmful values that drive families in India or Yemen to deny their daughters education, worth and freedom. 


Libby Anne said...

I read this same article - in National Geographic - and was equally horrified. The patriocentrist beast is so huge, so horrifying, so dangerous, so oppressive. Somehow - somehow - it must be defeated. Now I feel like I need a cheer. LOL.

Bethany said...

It WILL be defeated. I don't think it'll be in our lifetimes, but someday patriocentricity will no longer be a threat.
As for the might like this post :)

Sarah said...

I've never understood why it's considered moral or fair to force a woman to marry a man who has raped her. I heard someone say once that it is the most merciful thing that can be done since no man will want to marry a woman who's virginity has been taken already. What a crazy world we live in, huh?

Anonymous said...

The text says nothing, explicitly or implicitly, about the woman divorcing or leaving the "rapist". It requires the "rapist" to support her and her children for his entire life, no exceptions. "He can never divorce her as long as he lives."

Bethany, I think, your intent is an appeal to emotion against "patriocentric households" by disfavorable associations to the practice of child marriages and other real abuses and insinuations of what your ideological opponents would say about those practices.

Anonymous said...

Why does it say "and they are discovered"?

If it is rape in the traditional sense of the word it should say, "and he is discovered". It does not. Why?

Bethany said...

Tragedy, what are you driving at? Particularly in your last comment. Are you trying to say that the woman is at least partly to blame for being raped? It seems an awful lot like that.

'practice of child marriages and other real abuses'....does this imply that the abuses claimed by children of patriocentricity are NOT real? I doubt that's your meaning but it's unclear.

Anonymous said...

Bad translation: The word translated as "rapes" does not mean rape in the traditonal sense of the word. Or the word translated "discovered" means something other than the traditional sense of the word.

Anonymous said...

I do not think of myself as your ideological opponent in this matter. But you are correct in your assertion that I do not think most of the claims of abuse by children of patriocentrics are real abuses.

I was thinking of child marriages, mutilation of female genitalia, immolations, and honor killings as real abuses. Would you say that these abuses are the same caliber as the abuses generally endured by children of patriocentrics?

I do not see the similarities.

Bethany said...

Is abuse only real and valid if it involves immediate and repugnant threat to a person's body, which is arguably their least important faculty?

Anonymous said...

Can one seperate and destroy a specific faculty from the others without destroying the whole?

The total destruction of the least of one's faculties is more destructive to the whole. Than a slight damaging of all the faculties.

Do you think the emotional and mental trauma associated with the real abuses I was speaking of are of the same or a lesser caliber as the trauma of these from the abuses that you would compare them to?

Stephanie said...

Hey! Good points. I'm definitely against patriocentricity as well.

You should post more :)