Married to the same man: matrilineal marriages in Bangladesh
June 2, 2013 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Although ethnic Mandi women share power with their male counterparts and are able to own property, the custom of mother-daughter joint marriages continue.

The Mandi, also known as the Garos, are one of the few remaining matrilineal societies in the world.

Although other traditional rituals have fallen by the wayside, the practice of mother-daughter joint marriages has survived. Ethnic Mandi women traditionally choose their own partners. It is women who make the first romantic move, and also propose marriage. Property is passed down the female line, and men live in their wife's household when they marry. Shulekha Mrong, head of the local women's organization states that modern Mandi women "pride themselves on not tolerating any form of abuse. We don't allow domestic violence or adultery. If a man hits his wife or cheats on her, we make him pay a fine to make amends – a few pigs, or a lump sum of cash. It's a very good deterrent."
posted by lovelygirl (6 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
From reading the post I'd assumed this was somehow an expression of women's power in that culture. And perhaps it is, considered on a wider, societal scale. But the emotional cost to the women involved - both mother and daughter - is far too great. I'm glad that the system is dying.
posted by The Confessor at 4:39 PM on June 2, 2013


So it's when a mother re-marries, the daughters aren't marrying their own fathers, which seems like an important aspect.
posted by delmoi at 4:53 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm glad the practice is dying out. I can't imagine how fraught the situation is for the women involved.
posted by arcticseal at 6:39 PM on June 2, 2013


How horrible to find out when you're ready to leave home and marry a man of your choosing that your marriage took place when you were three years old and that stepdad is now your husband.

...modern Mandi women "pride themselves on not tolerating any form of abuse.

Marrying a three year old to anyone is a form of abuse.
posted by shoesietart at 6:40 PM on June 2, 2013


That's a pretty slimy way to cherry pick a quote to respond there, shoesistart. You might want to include the previous sentence from that woman, where she says

"The custom is a great injustice to young girls. They're denied freedom of choice, and it's emotionally damaging to be in the same relationship as their mothers."

It would also be more honest to say that arranging a marriage at three is abuse, because that's what they are doing - the woman in the story didn't 'take up marital duties' until 15, which while younger than is normal in the west is of legal marriageable age in many countries. If describing it that way doesn't have enough emotional impact for you, why not?
posted by jacalata at 7:04 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


jacalata - I'm not quite sure what your point is other than to call me slimy, which I don't appreciate. I think the first sentence of my comment captures my description of what happens, which is not that different from yours.
posted by shoesietart at 2:35 AM on June 3, 2013


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