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Reader Submission: Sociology Findings
posted by Scott on Wednesday September 06, @11:11AM
from the reader-submission dept.
Feature Submission Bill Kuhl submitted a short writing on the sociology of the Nayar Indian culture, to demonstrate how men have also been marginalized in various world cultures throughout history (to contrast with the feminist party line that only men dominate and oppress). This is an interesting topic that doesn't get much attention today. Click "Read More..." to read his short essay.

The media does it's darndest to tell us about cultures and societies around the world where women appear to get the short end of the stick (that is, if you just take a superficial look at that particular society's customs). But they never tell us about society's in which the customs are such that men appear to get a raw deal. The Nayar people of India are a good example. According to "The Encyclopedia of World Cultures (South Asia edition)," in Nayar culture, "Traditional inheritance was in the matriline only. Any property a man possessed went to his sisters and their children. As men took to modern, Western professions and started accumulating personal wealth as opposed to family property, they began passing it on to their own biological children. As a result, there are today slightly different laws regulating inherited and acquired wealth. However, even today it is customary for a man to put his self-acquired property in his wife's name so that it can then be inherited matrilineally. Furthermore, a man feels greater responsibility for his sister's children than for his brothers children. Even men living away from Kerala (the Nayar's home state) in Delhi or New York are more likely to sponsor a sister's son or daughter than a brother's."

To add, the Nayar people also have complex marriage customs in which, at least as of the turn of the century in subgroups of the Nayar, it was acceptable for a wife to have more than one husband, in a sense. Again from the book mention above: "Sambandan involved a man having a "visiting husband" relationship with a woman. While such relationships were considered to be marriages by the woman's family, especially when they occurred with males of higher subcastses or castes, the males tended to view the relationships as concubinage. Traditionally Nayar women were allowed to have more than one "visiting husband" either simultaneously or serially."

This is the kind of stuff you'll never see in "Time" or on "The Today Show". As a former ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, I've met many women from cultures that are supposed to be oppressive to women. When I've asked these women about their lot in life, none of them have suggested for a moment that they would prefer to trade places with men in their culture.

Bill Kuhl

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