1
   

A response I wrote to an article on Child Marriage;

 
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 12:46 pm
@chai2,
Yes, it's also that people used to die sooner. The other thing is that we define as children folks who are biologically adult (from 15 to 18).

Lafayette was 17 when he first landed on your shores.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 03:33 pm
@Olivier5,
The real issue isn't age (it is clear that human beings are biologically ready to have sex sometime between thirteen and fifteen). Western ideas about sexuality have always been pretty repressed. Our idea that sexuality should begin at age 18 only makes sense in our modern society where education is more important than reproduction. It is still far from the norm in human social behavior.

The role of marriage in society is far more relevant. Anthropologists tell us that ideal of "romantic love" in marriage, so prevalent in Western ideas, is rare in other cultures. In many societies marriage is a duty. It fulfills the need of a community to reproduce while encouraging stability in the larger society. Arranged marriages were a feature in many productive cultures.

When Western colonizers came to indigenous societies and demanded that they change their marriage customs, they were attacking the very core of their cultures. You can't change the central role that marriage plays in a culture without drastically impacting the rest of the social system.

This is still an issue in Australia, where aboriginal Australians are trying to cling to traditional marriage practices as part of their cultural heritage. These practices include kinship, polygyny and infant betrothal.

This struggle of indigenous community battling their colonizers has happened in many places.

maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 03:40 pm
@Olivier5,
I am curious about how people on this thread would deal with protected tribes like the Yanomami. These are among the few cultures that have not been impacted by the current hegemony of Western culture.

The Yanomami practice child marriage. The patriarch of a family unit gives away girls to be married as he sees fit. The anthropologists who have studied this culture, say it is thriving and function and that women and men feel happy with their culture. There was a woman who left the culture to live in Florida... she chose to return to her own culture.

I believe that we should let this culture alone... to develop and to live as they see fit. Does anyone disagree with this?

(I offer this as one end of the spectrum, the more difficult questions for me are the cultures that have been colonized and are now living in between traditional cultural practices and the new Western hegemony.)

0 Replies
 
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 03:51 pm
@Sturgis,
Quote:
If these girls were truly this thrilled by the prospect of a kept life then
how do you explain the many who flee each year, even knowing beating and death may await them if they are captured?

Max knows that child marriages are wrong. He has even said as much.
0 Replies
 
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 03:55 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Does anyone else see the grotesque hypocrisy here?

I do. You say that child marriage is wrong, but here you are defending it.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 04:38 pm
@Glennn,
I don't know if you are sincerely mistaken, or if you are just trying to start a fight (I wont respond to you if you are just trying to fight).

Child marriage is wrong in a Western cultural context. That does not mean that it is wrong in other cultural contexts.

It is far too easy for White people to judge the practices of indigenous peoples as barbaric without having any understanding of how the culture works.

I am modern American. I have a deep understanding of Western culture; the ideals, the beliefs the values and how our institutions work. I have no problem with commenting on issues in my own culture. This does not mean that I have any right to dictate my values to people in indigenous communities.

However, I do not believe that Western values are superior to those of indigenous people. I do not believe that we have the right to force our values on indigenous people. We have history of colonization and genocide I think that we should be very careful not to continue this shameful heritage.

There is a big difference between stating what isnright in your own cultural context and dictating ypur values on indigenous communities that you arw not a part of and whose society you do not understand.
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 04:53 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
I don't know if you are sincerely mistaken . . .

Mistaken about what?
Quote:
White people to judge the practices of indigenous peoples as barbaric without having any understanding of how the culture works.

Understanding how a culture works does not change the nature of barbaric acts. If one of the practices of a given culture is barbaric, then it is barbaric.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 05:07 pm
@Glennn,
We clearly disagree on this point. But I am curious about your practical view...

What would you do with the Yanomami community. They are a real community with a real culture that exists right now that practices child marriage. Should we go in and stop this practice?

Australia has specific experience doing exactly this. They decided that aboriginal communities had to follow Western values and law. They took over tribal governments and started enforcing the rules.

Of course people don't give up their traditional culture very easily, and historically people have broken laws in secret to keep their culture alive. In Australia this took place. So in order to break these cultural practices Australia started taking kids away from parents to put them in to schools. This insured that parents would be unable to learn traditional cultural beliefs that weren't deemed "appropriate" by the Australian colonial government.

A similar thing happened in Canada. Polygamy was practiced by Native American communities in Canada. The Canadian government had now infamous "Indian Schools", part of the reason was the enforce a Canadian view of marriage on indigenous communities.

Changing the role of marriage in a society changes everything. It changes the way gender is understood. It changes religious and spiritual beliefs. It changes family relationships and mechanisms for community stability. It changes the very sense of identity for people living in this culture.

Do you think we should do this to the Yanomami?


Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 05:30 pm
@maxdancona,
I just don't understand how you can defend a practice that you have declared as being wrong.
Quote:
Should we go in and stop this practice?

That's never going to happen. However, giving girls to grown men is something that you shouldn't be defending.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 06:45 pm
@Glennn,
Quote:
I just don't understand how you can defend a practice that you have declared as being wrong.


I am defending the rights of indigenous people to continue this practice.

I get that you believe it is universally wrong (I have only said it is wrong in a Western cultural context). But what should we do about it?

We could certainly go in and stop this practice among the Yanomami. We have guns (and worse) that they don't have. We can force their tribal government to stop the public policy, and we can punish families who continue in private. History shows that to truly change traditional ways of thinking we would need provide forced reeducation for the children.

Should we do this (again)?
Glennn
 
  2  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 08:48 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
I am defending the rights of indigenous people to continue this practice.

Yes, I already know that you are defending the practice of giving girls to grown men.
Quote:
I have only said it is wrong in a Western cultural context

If memory serves, you have said that you have no trouble with saying that giving girls to grown men is wrong.
Quote:
But what should we do about it?

Well, we do what we can. We can start by refraining from defending the practice.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 09:13 pm
@Glennn,
I don't know whether you are just arguing to argue. You should stop misrepresenting my position (although this is forgivable if you sincerely misunderstand it). My position is this.

1. Marriage practices must be judged within the specific cultural context where they occur. Cultures don't even agree on the meaning of "child" or on the meaning of "marriage". What is wrong in one culture is acceptable in another culture.

2. In cultures like the Yanomami, for example, I believe that child marriage is acceptable as it is practiced within their society. Again, the definition of "child" and "marriage" as they understand them are different then your understanding, as is the meaning of these practices. It is invalid to judge the effects in one culture from the values of another. Reading the reports from anthropologists, it is difficult to see objective harm in the practice.

3. As the only person questioning the simplistic Eurocentric view, it is difficult for me to expressing the ambivalence that I feel on some parts of this issue. I have no trouble expressing this... except that everyone here seems to be taking the position that the Western view of marriage is the only acceptable view.

4. That being said, I do think that Western cultures should mostly butt out from indigenous cultures. It would be a crime against humanity for us to interfere in the Yanomami culture even to stop the child marriage happening there (and fortunately it is protected). We have done this so many times in the past.

5. The difficult political considerations involved countries that Europe has already screwed over. I suspect that Middle-Eastern cultures had functioning family systems.. much of the worst dysfunction is because of Western colonialism.

Anthropologists say that there are functioning, societies that provide full lives for men and women that include "child marriage" (however child marriage is defined). This may be difficult for someone indoctrinated in Western culture to accept... but by any objective measure it seems to be true.

6. I do believe there there is a prevalent sense of Western Superiority in liberal thinking that makes multiculturalism impossible to accept.

Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 09:34 pm
@maxdancona,
Max, you really did say that you have no trouble saying that child marriage is wrong. Those were your own words.
Quote:
Cultures don't even agree on the meaning of "child"

As to members of a culture who believe it is proper to give a girl to a grown man, I would be highly interested in hearing their definition of "child."
maxdancona
 
  -2  
Reply Sun 10 Nov, 2019 10:02 pm
@Glennn,
My understanding is that many cultures from Hebrew to Kenyan Maasai to Native American Navajo start adulthood at 13 or 14. It isn't surprising that adulthood would start at the onset of puberty (i.e. the age that someone can reproduce).

Our age of adulthood is 18 which is rather arbitrary. Our society relies on education, young people need time to choose and develop one of the many careers in society. This requires a long period of adolescence. The point is that different cultures have different needs and different ways of meeting these needs. The definitions of "adult" and "marriage" are part of this.

Glennn wrote:

Max, you really did say that you have no trouble saying that child marriage is wrong.


If I said this, I likely was saying it within the Western cultural context. I am an American, this would be appropriate. This doesn't mean that it applies in the Yanomami culture context. If I did say this in the Yanomami cultural context (and I would be interested in seeing a link), then I believe I was incorrect.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2019 01:39 am
@maxdancona,
Cultural imperialism is nothing new, though. And it has historically been practised by countless nations and civilizations. Not just "whites".

E.g. Karamoja is in northern Uganda, an ex-British colony. The Karamojon men traditionally wander around naked. Less and less so, as for the past decade or so they tended to wear shorts instead. Not because of the Brits, but because of the cultural pressure from the rest of the country.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2019 06:03 am
@maxdancona,
Circumcision is another good example. Should we invade the US to stop them barbarian Americans from mutilating their infants' genitals?
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2019 08:57 am
@Olivier5,
So, you believe that the foreskin of a male is the physical equivalent of the clitoris of a female? Explain.
Glennn
 
  3  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2019 09:12 am
@maxdancona,
If you believe that the pairing of a full grown man with a young girl is as reasonable as the pairing of a full grown man with a full grown woman, then that is what you believe. However, could you provide your rationale for believing that a mature adult male pairing up with an emotionally, intellectually, and physically immature female child is appropriate? Oddly, you seem to chalk up your inability to understand the inappropriateness of such a bonding to your own cultural indoctrination. Do you think it's an illusion that the adult male will have nothing in common with a girl child? What will they have in common? Speak up man.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2019 09:50 am
@Glennn,
Glennn wrote:

So, you believe that the foreskin of a male is the physical equivalent of the clitoris of a female? Explain.

So? You can't figure out the following statement is a facetious one? A bit of hyperbole as an exclamation point to his argument? He's clearly NOT being literal.
Olivier5 wrote:

Circumcision is another good example. Should we invade the US to stop them barbarian Americans from mutilating their infants' genitals?
Glennn
 
  0  
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2019 05:39 pm
@tsarstepan,
Quote:
So? You can't figure out the following statement is a facetious one?

Do you understand what sarcasm is?
0 Replies
 
 

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