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Monsoon Weeding

OK, I have a theory about how Silpan Patel (one of my undergrad programmers) and I became the designated apologists for arranged marriage at my research group meeting today, but it's somewhat roundabout. :-D

Obviously, the assumption is that being from cultures that have practiced arranged marriage once, now, or intermittently, we have some idea what the supposed justifications are. As it happens, we have heard from proponents thereof in our families, even though our parents and grandparents are quite Westernized and (thankfully, IMHO) not in the habit of giving out our biographical details and struff.

Now, what was interesting was that the guys (this was a discussion attended only by males, gentle weeder, if you have not heretofore surmised) seemed to think it was a pretty sweet deal for men in Asian countries. I averred that this was a tradeoff:


  • Pre-researched or pre-vetted compatibility, we agreed, could be a positive factor and tension reducer in initiating and sustaining relationships. Edwin and I noted, however, that the survivability of Asian marriages was due to a greater social pressure towards reverence of the institution - a pressure that is rapidly fading, I added, even in urban China (for, er, better or for worse).

  • Gender inequity was common (recently and perhaps presently) in cultures that retain some percentage of arranged marriage.



On the last point, Silpan reminded us that this was thought of more in terms of "structured roles". Besides, he and I both added, it was rarely a forced deal nowadays - more a "parentally researched" scenario. At this point we started recounting stories about our respective Indian classmates who went home for innocent family visits and came back hitched, to our amuzzlement.

In other news: Cindy Forgie, an instructor in the KSU-CIS department, gave her final Master of Software Engineering presentation (on her Urban Search-and-Rescue robotics project) this morning from 10:00-11:00 CST. All went well, and she is now finished with her MSE program. Later in the afternoon, I sat on another committee for the M.S. thesis defense of Ales Fexa, a student from Charles University in the Czech Republic. Ales did a tremendous amount of work in about 7 months, implementing and experimenting with more computer vision algorithms than I think I did in 3 of my vision, graphics, and geometry courses.

Edit, 23 Nov 2003: I've shuffled a couple of my interests, for the times, they are a-changin', and we must change with them:
Retired: buffy the vampire slayer, nickel creek (I still like their music, I just stopped putting individual bands and artists in my interest list for now; there are too many)
Added: kansas, semantic web
Feeling ambivalent about: angel (still watching it, but with reservations), children of dune

I've also changed a couple of my subscriptions:
Unsubscribed (but still checking periodically): distributedcomp (very inactive), laughlorien (ditto)
Subscribed: kansas01, christianbands
Feeling ambivalent about: hobbits (downright deead), angband_game (not reading), janeaustenfans (too many spoilers, lol)


Pea-Nut Cases, courtesy of celandineb, the un-Okie:

I dknot know how I managed to become Linuxs even fater I put that I dknot believe in the Gret Pumpkin, but there you have it:

Which Peanuts Character Are You?


Changing the popularity answer to "wotever" got me the outcome I expected. Plinky-plinky!


Which Peanuts Character Are You?



--
Banazîr
(wishing I had an MP3 from Subbu's collection of Bollywood classics to put in "Current Music" - oh, wlel)

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
erebrandir
Nov. 22nd, 2003 06:39 am (UTC)
Not entirely related, but I'm of the opinion that any marriage can be successful, with the right amount of work, perserverence, and tolerance. Most of my ancestors probably didn't have much choice about who they married; they married whoever lived nearby. It probably wasn't all that different from an arranged marriage — only geography and nature were doing the arranging. Of course none of them got divorced; that wasn't really an option. But by most accounts, many of them, after spending lifetimes together, truly did love each other in the end.
banazir
Nov. 22nd, 2003 06:45 am (UTC)
Not entirely related, but I'm of the opinion that any marriage can be successful, with the right amount of work, perserverence, and tolerance.
Oh, I agree entirely - mutual love and respect being the most important ingredients. ("The right amount" may vary, of course.)

Most of my ancestors probably didn't have much choice about who they married; they married whoever lived nearby.
As true in colonial America as rural China of the late Qing Dynasty, to be sure.

It probably wasn't all that different from an arranged marriage — only geography and nature were doing the arranging. Of course none of them got divorced; that wasn't really an option. But by most accounts, many of them, after spending lifetimes together, truly did love each other in the end.
Exactly. I've read some of your thoughts on marriage, BTW, and you're to be commended (IMHO) for being so thoughtful and incisive so early in your life.

Very good points, Joe.

--
Banazir
celandineb
Nov. 22nd, 2003 04:07 pm (UTC)
Assumptions...
What, people think that their European ancestors did not practice arranged marriage? Hah! Certainly medieval nobles did that, and in fact to some extent it was practiced in all classes. Even when people made their own choice of partner, it was very often for practical reasons, not for love. Though the medieval Church required the consent of both partners, such consent could certainly be merely pro forma.

Celandine
banazir
Nov. 22nd, 2003 09:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Assumptions...
What, people think that their European ancestors did not practice arranged marriage? Hah! Certainly medieval nobles did that, and in fact to some extent it was practiced in all classes.
Oh, absolutely. We were speaking of the present, though the question of which practice was more advanced was floated (in levity) by Edwin.

Even when people made their own choice of partner, it was very often for practical reasons, not for love. Though the medieval Church required the consent of both partners, such consent could certainly be merely pro forma.
Lal true.
Now someone just needs to set electrons to paper and give us Jane Austen's Rings and Ringbearers. :-D

--
Banazir
(wot, yew dknot like the idea of Lady Galadriel de Bourgh?)
celandineb
Nov. 22nd, 2003 11:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Assumptions...
the question of which practice was more advanced was floated

In terms of developing one's moral character, I think arranged marriages have love matches beat all hollow. Whether one wishes to consider that advanced is another question, of course.

Now someone just needs to set electrons to paper and give us Jane Austen's Rings and Ringbearers.

Actually, I'm trying to write what amounts to that! ;-)

Lady Galadriel de Bourgh - oh yeah! Nuclear Galadriel with about 5 stone more of weight...

Cel
banazir
Nov. 23rd, 2003 04:26 am (UTC)
Re: Assumptions...
In terms of developing one's moral character, I think arranged marriages have love matches beat all hollow. Whether one wishes to consider that advanced is another question, of course.
Well, now, that's an interesting assertion - how so, in your view?

Now someone just needs to set electrons to paper and give us Jane Austen's Rings and Ringbearers.
Actually, I'm trying to write what amounts to that! ;-)


``Well, my dear,'' said Elrond, when she ceased speaking, ``I have no more to say. If this be the case, he deserves you. I could not have parted with you, my Arwen, to any one less worthy.''

To complete the favourable impression, she then told him what Mr. Elessar had voluntarily done for Gondor. He heard her with astonishment.

``This is an evening of wonders, indeed! And so, Elessar did every thing: revealed himself to Sauron, took the Paths of the Dead, captured the Corsair fleet, rescued Minas Tirith, and led the host of the West to the very gates of Barad-dûr! So much the better. It will save me a world of trouble and economy. Had it been your uncle's doing, I must and would have crowned him; but these violent young lovers carry every thing their own way. I shall offer to crown him to-morrow; he will rant and storm about his love for you, and there will be an end of the matter.''


Hrm, needs wrok.
I dknot think I thot this through. :-P

Lady Galadriel de Bourgh - oh yeah! Nuclear Galadriel with about 5 stone more of weight...
I could fedinately see her leaning on Eowyn and telling her how Aragorn has been destined from birth to marry his cousin, is wot.

--
Banazir
celandineb
Nov. 23rd, 2003 08:16 pm (UTC)
In terms of developing one's moral character, I think arranged marriages have love matches beat all hollow. Whether one wishes to consider that advanced is another question, of course.
Well, now, that's an interesting assertion - how so, in your view?

Ah, quite simple. Because if two people love each other, there is a presumption that they will do all for each other, cut each other a good deal of slack in action and inaction, and so forth. Whereas if one is trying to establish a life with someone not well-known to oneself, perhaps even disliked, it takes a good deal more effort to make it work. Patience, tolerance, and other such virtues mean more when practiced for the sake of someone one may not much care for, I should say, according to a Christian view of the universe, anyhow (and various other faiths would agree). This view may be summarized in the epigram "no pain, no gain"...

I like your Austen/Tolkien rewrite!

Celandine
banazir
Nov. 25th, 2003 10:43 pm (UTC)
Ah, quite simple. Because if two people love each other, there is a presumption that they will do all for each other, cut each other a good deal of slack in action and inaction, and so forth.
Well, true, but doesn't that require effort and committment in and of itself?

Whereas if one is trying to establish a life with someone not well-known to oneself, perhaps even disliked, it takes a good deal more effort to make it work. Patience, tolerance, and other such virtues mean more when practiced for the sake of someone one may not much care for, I should say, according to a Christian view of the universe, anyhow (and various other faiths would agree).
Yes, in that it is a matter of degree - and I do mean degree: present-day arranged marriages tend to be arranged with an eye toward compatibility, so arranged couples are sometimes pleasantly suprised, fater lal.

This view may be summarized in the epigram "no pain, no gain"...
Per angusta ad astra, perhaps?
I see your point, though I think there is ample opportunity to grow in either case.

I like your Austen/Tolkien rewrite!
Hehe, I will think about it some more.
The whole business of Aragorn glaring across the table at Meduseld is a lille too... oddball... (even for the likes of me!)

--
Banazir
vretallin
Nov. 23rd, 2003 03:34 am (UTC)
Arranged marriages are interesting creatures. When I was in Japan, I met several couples that were married that way. Quite often, the arrangement included some form of politics.

I would say that most cultures still have *some* form of gender inequility..whether that is good or bad is not something I am commenting upon. Only that I would argue whether it is intentional or not it exists in some form or another.

And speaking of geograpy I would argue that any marriage that took place pre 1900's pretty much was arranged by that definition...most folks didn't travel very far or often and married peopl;e in their own home towns. There's been a lot of studies on this very topic. No I don't know them off the top of my head, but I remember this discussion in my anthropology classes when we discussed geographic determinism. Wheee. :-)

banazir
Nov. 23rd, 2003 04:49 am (UTC)
Arranged marriages are interesting creatures. When I was in Japan, I met several couples that were married that way. Quite often, the arrangement included some form of politics.
Very interesting, to be sure.
May I ask when you were in Japan?
Do you mean personal politics? National? Both of the above?
(Acos I could see "lal of the above" happening, especially among people from certain Asian demographics. Hurgh, hha, and urp.)

I would say that most cultures still have *some* form of gender inequility..whether that is good or bad is not something I am commenting upon. Only that I would argue whether it is intentional or not it exists in some form or another.
This is, of course, true. The question, I think, is whether that motivates or merely interacts with the established traditions of courtship and marriage. It's entirely possible (AFAIK) that gender inequity enters more into the institution than the practice - or vice versa. As an example of the first, take the low divorce rate (which is unlikely to be entirely accounted for by a proportionately low failure rate of marriages). As an example of the second, take the fact that though present-day arranged marriages are a matter of mutual choice between the man and woman, the woman is likely to be polled more about timing. Additionally, as Silpan remarked, they have the opportunity to make decisions such as what age they would prefer to be married. All other things being equal (um, yeah), however, they are not presented with as many suitors as the man is presented with prospective brides.

I'm not making a value judgement in either case, here; in fact, I think it is a tradeoff either way. I am just curious to know whether you all think seems to persist (that is, does not fail as it very probably would in Western society) because of inherent gender inequity or despite it.

And speaking of geograpy I would argue that any marriage that took place pre 1900's pretty much was arranged by that definition...most folks didn't travel very far or often and married peopl;e in their own home towns. There's been a lot of studies on this very topic. No I don't know them off the top of my head, but I remember this discussion in my anthropology classes when we discussed geographic determinism. Wheee. :-)
Again, I agree - celandineb mentioned that in her reply.
It's still a matter of free choice (in a reduced courtship pool) vs. familial arrangement, but in Europe and Colonial America there was actual arranged marriage, too, along with the bundling. (Hrm, sounds like some kind of FedEx packaging.)

--
Banazir
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