March 25, 2006

Should we sneer at arranged marriages?

Masuda Sultan, despite being divorced from an arranged marriage, defends the tradition in her book, "My War at Home":
"It's upsetting that people see your culture as backward, who say to me 'You poor victim,' " she said. "I think Westerners have a simplistic idea about arranged marriage. Mine didn't work out, but that was not the case for everyone, and it's not necessarily backward to do that."...

Within the United States, Afghans have been subversively transformed. Boys and girls court furtively or in Internet chat rooms. When suitors hit it off, they may ask parents to arrange the wedding, pretending they barely know each other. Still, Ms. Sultan said she would marry only a Muslim and might even allow her parents to introduce her to a prospective mate, though only on the condition that she get to know him.

"I have to believe there are people out there who can appreciate traditional values around family and community, but who can also appreciate me in my assertive, outspoken manner," she said.
All of the usual ways of getting human beings into marriage are flawed. I could be convinced that some approaches to arranged marriage are decent enough. But somehow, this article did nothing for me. Here is an author who is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government and rather antagonistic toward the American policy in Afghanistan. Why is she writing in the memoir form?
In telling her story, she has joined the growing ranks of Muslim women who are offering an insider's view of Muslim life at a post-9/11 moment when anxious Americans are curious, as Ms. Sultan says, about "what drives Muslims, how do they operate behind closed doors."

In the memoir "Reading Lolita in Tehran," Azar Nafisi describes a women's book club that debates the painful conflicts of living under Islamic law. In the novel "Brick Lane," Monica Ali writes affectingly about a Bangladeshi in London in an arranged marriage whose sister elopes in a "love marriage." And a former Wall Street Journal reporter, Asra Nomani, published "Standing Alone in Mecca," about her pilgrimage to Islam's most holy site last year.

More are on their way: Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Prize-winning Iranian human rights champion, will have a memoir out in May. And Ms. Ali's editor, Wendy Walker, is publishing a memoir in the fall by Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani woman who was gang-raped by order of a tribal court to avenge her brother's supposed misconduct.

David Ebershoff, an editor at large at Random House who edited Ms. Ebadi's book, said that these books have struck a chord with American readers because "the personal is a prism into the larger geopolitical story." Americans, he said, also respond to the conflicts of women having to juggle their working lives with more traditional roles of wife and mother — however perilous their experiences might be. In her memoir, Ms. Ebadi writes of the night that she was summoned to jail. On the way out the door she tells her daughters to order a pizza for dinner.
It seems that she's chosen the memoir form, despite the mismatch between her personal story and the message she wants to convey, because there's a good market for books like this. So the better question is perhaps not why is she writing a memoir, but why do Americans -- American women? -- love memoirs so much?

ADDED, to answer that question why we love memoirs: we like those parasocial relationships.

28 comments:

tiggeril said...

My parents' marriage was arranged. I'd rather shoot myself than do the same.

vbspurs said...

Should we sneer at arranged marriages?

Erm, why?

I know the response will centre around not being a (1) personal choice (2) not involving a coup de foudre of some kind (3) and being subjected to a demeaning situation, in terms of dowry negotiations (which these types of arranged marriages, go hand-in-hand with), but still, I'm interested why we should sneer at them.

Not like them, sure.

Not think they're modern (read, Western), certainly.

Not believe they're for feminists, absolutely.

But sneer is a judgement too far, IMHO, and precisely what the authoress meant when she said "it's upsetting that people see your culture as backward".

In my mother's family, a very old family, there were arranged marriages until the 1920s.

And even afterwards, certain situations were "encouraged", although nominally the choice was the person's to make.

Marriage for love, and out of personal conviction, I don't need to tell anyone (although I will to emphasise my point ;), is a relatively modern invention.

And a middle-class one.

Neither the rich, nor the poor could afford to marry for love, only.

Marriage for is the ultimate bourgeois ideal, and it's not surprising that Americans, 85% of whom are self-described middle-class, should be in love with love.

So the better question is perhaps not why is she writing a memoir, but why do Americans -- American women? -- love memoirs so much?

I think Americans like memoirs a lot, yes, but also, they are by far not the only ones.

In the mid-to-late 1800s, ex-President US Grant decided to pen his memoirs to raise a few bucks to forestall bankruptcy.

He lay dying of throat cancer, but with his last effort, he kept at it, chapter after chapter.

These chapters were then published in a newspaper series, in vignette form, causing an utter sensation with the American public at the time.

His memoirs, in book form, became the first real American non-fiction best-sellers.

This was at a time when novels were still not regarded as morally salubrious for women, and children around the world.

But Americans had fine writers to that date, especially novellists, and would continue that tradition until Joyce ruined the novel by doing everything he could with it.

The only thing Americans lacked, which US Grant launched them to, were non-fiction memoirs.

Reality shows are built from the documentarist tradition, which in turn was built on the autobiographical tradition.

It's hardly surprising that Americans excel at all 3, given this historical projection.

'Sides, people all around the world love finding out what makes a person tick.

I know I do.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

A point I forgot to make in my War & Peace reply, about the memoirs slant:

Queen Victoria was famously, an authoress (Disraeli's quip of "We authors, mum").

She wrote not one but two memoirs, both about her time in the Scottish highlands called.

"Leaves from our Jornal of our Life in the Highlands"

This was published circa 1868.

As you can imagine, having memoirs penned by the reclusive Queen Victoria, DURING her lifetime, was a bombshell around the world.

(It is also interesting, considering that no matter how much I or you try, we couldn't see the present Queen doing anything similar -- a comment on the times, and the woman, I think)

This autobiography launched a thousand others, until the autobiography's apogee in the 1920s, when everyone but the kitchen sink of the Kaiser, wrote one -- usually for the money.

Although the old Queen wrote a second book of memoirs, entitled rather boringly, "More Leaves from Our Journal from our Life in the Highlands" (the Queen presumably being loathe to leave the Whitmanesque evocation alone), the second memoirs tanked.

She stuck to sketching afterwards.

Cheers,
Victoria

Jennifer said...

I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with an arranged marriage. A forced marriage I have a problem with. I think we tend to perceive that arranged equals forced, when maybe that isn't always the case.

This woman's perspective seems a little odd, to me, though. "Tradition is fantastic, wonderful...I just don't want anything to do with it, thankyouverymuch." What's her point?

And I don't understand the memoir love at all. It's irritating to me when I'm going through the nonfiction area - they are all memoirs it seems.

vbspurs said...

I think we tend to perceive that arranged equals forced, when maybe that isn't always the case.

That's exactly right. Good point.

I have had a few Indian lady acquaintances, who have all had successful arranged marriages, which furthermore, matured into love in time.

Of course, that's because their society is built around these customs, and have positive expectations as well as "support mechanisms" to use an awkward sociological term (aren't they all).

Arranged marriages in the US by immigrant groups which don't have those "old country" traditions?

Ain't gonna happen.

This woman's perspective seems a little odd, to me, though. "Tradition is fantastic, wonderful...I just don't want anything to do with it, thankyouverymuch." What's her point?

That just because it didn't work for her, doesn't mean you throw out the baby with the bathwater, ergo, you don't do away with the tradition in the culture because of personal failure.

And I don't understand the memoir love at all. It's irritating to me when I'm going through the nonfiction area - they are all memoirs it seems.

I love memoirs, and biographies (as you can see above), so that's no hardship for me, but I haven't read this yet.

I do highly suggest, to those not irritated by the genre, to read "Between Two Worlds", by Shanaib Salmi.

Her story of her life as the daughter of Saddam Hussein's pilot...and of her arranged marriage, which launched her career as an advocate for abused women.

What beautiful continued irony for this thread. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

Michael Farris said...

Arranged marriages, where young people are introduced through an intermediary and after a few meetings can decide to either get married or not work well enough in cultures where that's the tradition. Usually the two people will be well matched in terms of social and educational level and have a decent enough chance of making a success of it. But neither is going into the marriage with ideas of romance, if they stick it out long enough though then sympathy bonds and love can develop (or not, it all depends).

If people from that kind of culture emigrate to a 'love marriage' culture they need to accept that their children born in the new culture probably won't be interested in arranged marriages.

Forced marriages or arranged marriages where the couple don't see each other until they get married are another sack of coffee altogether and the less said about those the better.

Jennifer said...

ADDED, to answer that question why we love memoirs: we like those parasocial relationships.

Hee hee, I guess that makes me paraantisocial, to lift another commenter's phrase.

Elizabeth said...

Victoria, if we go with the "arranged doesn't equal forced" analysis, and I think we are right to, then I don't believe arranged marriage is anathema to feminism. I doubt that it's an issue for Western families, but for women whose cultures do include arranged marriage, I would bet the two, feminism and arranged marriage, coexist just fine, as long as the negotiations reflect the values of the woman involved. For arranged marriage to continue as a practice, if feminism is a factor in a culture, the terms and practices would adapt accordingly. The fact that marriage might be viewed as a practical accommodation, rather than a romantic venture, isn't unfeminist, is it?

PatCA said...

This young woman is obviously confused about her "identity," which these days per PC dogma means whatever about her that is not Euro-American. She hated her arranged marriage and feels guilty about rejecting the culture that required it. The odd lashing out at the US war in an article about marriage I guess legitimizes her authenticity, in the narrative template of cultural relativism.

BTW a good DVD rental about modern arranged marriages in the Indian diaspora, really more matchmaking than arranging, is Monsoon Wedding by Mira Nair.

Aspasia M. said...

Yes, I think the important element is choice. A woman who is introduced to a man through a matchmaker or kin, but can choose without negative consequences from her family - that is key.

A woman who feels forced into marriage - that's a bad situation.

I was surprised how common matchmaking is in India today.

While visiting in India, a woman talked to me about my marriage. She was curious about the differences in getting to know someone well before or after marriage. She considered her parents to be liberal and she did date the man a bit before marriage. She is happy in her marriage.

However, she also moved in with her in-laws, (common in India) which I think are another kettle of fish that could be problematic.

I do like Monsoon Wedding by Mira Nair. The colors are fabulous in that movie.

Dave said...

I went to college with a devout Muslim woman whose marriage was arranged. She called herself a feminist nonetheless.

I don't really understand the concept, and I tend to think that it is a bad deal for the parties involved, but who am I to get involved in issues of relationships and culture?

Sissy Willis said...

Just what I was about to say when I read your update. The antidote? Blogging:

Might this explain the weird reasononing of many leftists?

downtownlad said...

Arranged marriages are a myth.

My friend from India has an arranged marriage. But he got to go on dates with over 100 girls his parents "arranged" for him before he picked his bride.

vbspurs said...

Victoria, if we go with the "arranged doesn't equal forced" analysis, and I think we are right to, then I don't believe arranged marriage is anathema to feminism.

Metaphysically, perhaps not.

But in practical terms, arranged marriages are un-feminist, IMHO.

Consider:

Arranged marriages are not just about parents finding partners they believe are suitable for their offspring.

As with any human dynamic, it's about control.

Control over destinies, fortunes, but also consideration of tastes, which fall into the umbrella of respect.

And unless I've very much misunderstood the goals of being a feminist, they believe a woman is entitled to the same equality and respect given a man.

And arranged marriages by parents are about others defining not only your tastes, but your very future life.

Now, as a sociologist, you could look at arranged marriage as a matter of age, as much as sex.

They are common amongst cultures and backgrounds where extreme youth is important.

It may be that in India (although you could use other countries as examplars, such as Afghanistan), urban women don't marry as young as they used to, but that's not the case elsewhere -- including some girls as young as 13, and less.

This we in the West consider exploitative, and indeed, sexual molestation -- two talking points of feminists if ever there were any.

Let's explore the matter of dowries, which go hand-in-hand with arranged marriages.

Although people from said cultures do not believe this is the reason, in effect, the FATHER of the BRIDE is supposed to fork out money, and properties to the HUSBAND and his family, in order to marry his daughter.

Now, when I marry, I have been lucky enough to be able to bring to my marriage, certain items I have inherited, including real estaste.

But whether I confer these unto my husband, is my own affair.

Prenups (or what are called in Europe, marriage contracts) used to be a preserve of royalty or the very rich, but now, every one has access to them, should they want.

When I marry, I will have a marriage contract drawn up by my lawyers, but in no way will I be giving moneys to my new husband, so that he marries me.

That I personally consider belittling to women.

(Another personal example, is that in Germany, the bride received a "Morgengabe" from the groom on the day after the wedding night, as an exchange for her "virginity". That ceased in the late 19th century, though the importance of virgin marriages certainly didn't cease. But you see that there are advances in the perception of what is acceptable or not, in society)

There are many many details I can mention here about arranged marriages, some of which have already been mentioned, such as the matchmaker tradition, where a THIRD party even enters into the business of choosing your life's spouse, which I personally believe feminists would find deplorable in relation to women.

I doubt that it's an issue for Western families, but for women whose cultures do include arranged marriage, I would bet the two, feminism and arranged marriage, coexist just fine, as long as the negotiations reflect the values of the woman involved.

I simply cannot believe that women who are for respecting the personal choices of women of whether or not to have a child, could reconcile this entire mindset with that of arranged marriages.

Maybe some can, but that's very convenient, IMHO.

For arranged marriage to continue as a practice, if feminism is a factor in a culture, the terms and practices would adapt accordingly. The fact that marriage might be viewed as a practical accommodation, rather than a romantic venture, isn't unfeminist, is it?

Let me put this way, then.

I don't think it's escaped your notice, Elizabeth, that we in the West have more lesbians, in part due to the fact that we as women can choose our partners now.

I doubt too many women have marriages arranged for them, by their fathers, with other women.

Cheers,
Victoria

Michael Farris said...

"Let's explore the matter of dowries, which go hand-in-hand with arranged marriages...the FATHER of the BRIDE is supposed to fork out money, and properties to the HUSBAND and his family, in order to marry his daughter."

I knew a woman from a (non-Asian) culture where dowries (and maybe bridewealth too? but not as common? I forget the details) anyway, she saw the dowry as assets the bride is bringing to the marriage (couldn't understand how American women could go into a marriage empty handed, didn't they have any _pride_?)

Ideally, it also can provide a kind of security since if the marriage fails for any reason thew bride takes the dowry back with her to her family (I don't know if it works that way in SAsia). In the real world it doesn't always work out that easily, but that's the idea.

"feminist, they believe a woman is entitled to the same equality and respect given a man."

What makes you think that's not the case? The young men from SAsia that I've known (OK, not a large sample) have been thoroughly under the control of the parents who have a wide variety of resources to keep them in line. Like it or not, young people of marriageable age in many cultures are expected to ask for/gratefully receive parental advice in almost everything (and fervently want to please them).

Now I think that'll change gradually with increased prosperity, but trying to direct cultural change rarely works as intended. And frankly, if I don't understand how a whole culture works, I'm not so inclined to monkey around with the bits I don't like.

Elizabeth said...

Victoria, I'm not going to go point by point, but in your reply you tend to mix terms. If feminism acknowledges the equality of men and women, and arranged marriages are arranged for both men and women, then they're being treated equally. Any other factor, the dowry, the social pressure, are all trappings, and what I meant by the custom being adaptive. As Dave, I think, mentioned, the arranged marriage custom can simply be the parents, and a matchmaker, setting up a lot of meetings and dates. Yes, I guess the idea that it involves a woman, or a man, acting to engender parental approval means that person isn't fully independent, but again, that's a cultural context.

I don't know for sure what you mean by an increase in lesbians. Since when? Which century? Which era? Do you think there are more lesbians per se, or is it that we perceive that there are more gay women and men because they're no longer closeted?

Certainly, I acknowledge that in countries with arranged marriage customs, say India, homosexuality is still repressed, and so women and men will find themselves being pressured to marry. But again, if we're not talking about forced arranged marriages, then there are choices they can make. Not good ones, I know. The gay men and women I know who grew up in India now live in the U.S., to avoid the marriage pressure.

Razib said...

And yet, Ms. Sultan, in an interview, said she wrote the book to enlighten outsiders about the virtues of an arranged marriage, like the confidence newlyweds have in a decision by their elders and the domestic bolstering a wife receives from her husband's family.

i call bullshit on this. my family is bangladeshi i know something about this sort of thing and the husband's family does not "bolster" a new wife, she is a "stranger" who is often terrorized and dominated by the older women in the family who had gone through their own harsh initiation. it might be somewhat different in muslim north indian cultures where cousin marraige is practiced, so the husbands family is your family too (often the marriages are between children of brothers), but that doesn't seem like the case here....

Balfegor said...

i call bullshit on this. my family is bangladeshi i know something about this sort of thing and the husband's family does not "bolster" a new wife, she is a "stranger" who is often terrorized and dominated by the older women in the family who had gone through their own harsh initiation.

This is certainly the stereotype, and one of my great-grandmothers was "terrorised" somewhat in this fashion (and we remember it well, almost a hundred years later). But in my mother's generation, this has not been the case at all. There is sometimes criticism, and it is sometimes hurtful, but that's no more than one hears about in Western-style love matches too, where mothers-in-law are stereotyped as vile to their sons' wives.

In my own generation, there haven't been any marriages at all yet, let alone arranged marriages, so I don't know how it will be then. And it may still be different in India -- Indian marriage traditions are different from those among the East Asian nations. But I do not think it will be that bad.

Aspasia M. said...

I think feminism can co-exist with arranged marriages if both the woman and the man have a real choice in the marriage.

There's no reason that an arranged marriage must be "less feminist" then e-harmony.

Of course, arranged marriages can be very coersive if independent choice is not present.

My Italian-American grandmother had an arranged marriage. She would have preferred to choose her own husband.

Choice is the critical element in the situation. Those who marry must make that decision freely. They must be able to make choices about their future. However, parents, kin and matchmakers can be an effective way of introducting people to each other.

Bruce Hayden said...

I know a number of people who are now getting to be too old to marry, but would have liked to have done so. I wonder whether somewhat arranged marriages might have done them better than trying on their own - which ultimately failed.

I sometimes think that, for example, my parents arranging marriages with their friends, might have done a better job than we, the kids of all of those people, ended up doing. After all, the parents had a lot in common, intellectually, socially, financially, etc.

I am also starting to question the idea of romantic love. In retrospect, so much of it seems to be hormonal. But after that wears off, what do you have? Often, it seems, two people married to each other who don't have that much really in common.

All that said, I take the points by those who have more experience with arranged marriages seriously. I hope that our society can evolve to a place somewhere in the middle, where the parents' judgement and knowledge can make a difference, but they aren't the ones making the ultimate decisions.

vbspurs said...

I knew a woman from a (non-Asian) culture where dowries (and maybe bridewealth too? but not as common? I forget the details) anyway, she saw the dowry as assets the bride is bringing to the marriage (couldn't understand how American women could go into a marriage empty handed, didn't they have any _pride_?)

Okay. She has assets.

But there is a reason the father of the GROOM doesn't provide "assets" to the father of the BRIDE to effectuate a marriage between his son and the daughter of the other family.

Why not?

There are many reasons, but if you look at it very superficially as foreigners tend to (I don't pretend to do otherwise), it seems like the father of the girl has to pay a man off to marry his daugther.

This sends the damning message that as a woman, she's a burden to him, and the man is the prize.

That above, is a negative side of a dowry. Here is a positive one.

According to the old European custom of dowries, a woman's dowry is there to be maintained by her husband, without her having any say as to how the moneys are spent (or legal right to administer them without her husband's consent, during her husband's lifetime).

What you mentioned is that should she be divorced, the dowry must be returned IN FULL plus any interest (if determined in the marriage contract) to the bride and her family, if still a minor.

So, apart from all the religious and societal pressures to stay married in the past centuries in Europe, that was another very good reason not to chuck your wife away.

Not always was the original sum of the dowry, including properties, available to the husband.

I daresay that in this respect, an arranged marriage has a beneficial side, given the custom of dowries involved in them.

In the real world it doesn't always work out that easily, but that's the idea.

Correct. It doesn't always work that way.

Oftentimes, the woman has her face burnt by her new husband in retaliation for not having received the "correct dowry".

BTW, I have an upcoming post on this general topic (specifically about Indian women), which I'll link to later.

What makes you think that's not the case?

Because a feminist might reply that bodily and intellectual freedoms must be wide-ranging and unencumbered by qualifications, for them to be real.

The young men from SAsia that I've known (OK, not a large sample) have been thoroughly under the control of the parents who have a wide variety of resources to keep them in line. Like it or not, young people of marriageable age in many cultures are expected to ask for/gratefully receive parental advice in almost everything (and fervently want to please them).

That is also my case. My parents have complete control of a trust fund administered in my name, despite the fact that I turned 21 a while ago.

They keep me in line too, although I have to tell you, that has more to do with my credit card limit than any meaningful intervention of any aspect of my life.

Now I think that'll change gradually with increased prosperity, but trying to direct cultural change rarely works as intended. And frankly, if I don't understand how a whole culture works, I'm not so inclined to monkey around with the bits I don't like.

I see.

Well, actually I don't, since the more money you have, the more control a family has over children.

Unless you mean, if a woman earns her own keep, and is allowed to work, she'll make her own decisions herself in time, thus changing societal customs.

I'm not sure that correlates either, if that's what you meant.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Victoria, I'm not going to go point by point, but in your reply you tend to mix terms. If feminism acknowledges the equality of men and women, and arranged marriages are arranged for both men and women, then they're being treated equally.

Do you really believe that, Elizabeth?

Do you mean to say that everything which goes with arranged marriages, including the need to provide a dowry to the man or his family, is an equitable situation for both man and woman?

The only real equity I see here, is that both the man and woman to be joined in marriage together.

That's the starting point.

Everything which follows it, including in countries where arranged marriages are not unheard of, that a man can often have more than one wife, but the wife cannot have more than one husband, is not.

It just isn't.

Any other factor, the dowry, the social pressure, are all trappings, and what I meant by the custom being adaptive.

True. But it is the practise, not the theory that people have to deal with.

As Dave, I think, mentioned, the arranged marriage custom can simply be the parents, and a matchmaker, setting up a lot of meetings and dates.

I think we are being a little side-tracked, in no large part to my own replies I understand.

The question we were discussing, which I raised in my original reply, was if arranged marriages are compatible with feminism.

I think not, given the many reasons I have mentioned above.

And I still haven't heard a concrete argument to say that it is.

Yes, I guess the idea that it involves a woman, or a man, acting to engender parental approval means that person isn't fully independent, but again, that's a cultural context.

Again, I don't think a true feminist would accept either the real or cultural contexts arranged marriages signify to her life.

I don't know for sure what you mean by an increase in lesbians. Since when? Which century? Which era? Do you think there are more lesbians per se, or is it that we perceive that there are more gay women and men because they're no longer closeted?

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear.

There is an increase in lesbians living an active lesbian lifestyle.

I hope that makes it clearer.

Certainly, I acknowledge that in countries with arranged marriage customs, say India, homosexuality is still repressed, and so women and men will find themselves being pressured to marry.

It's not that it is just repressed.

It places the male-female relationship as the only viable interaction in partnership, not just legally (which is the case in many parts of the West, still, obviously), but also by societal definition.

But again, if we're not talking about forced arranged marriages, then there are choices they can make.

"The Wedding Banquet" was great wasn't it?

Not good ones, I know. The gay men and women I know who grew up in India now live in the U.S., to avoid the marriage pressure.

Indeed. The ones who could afford to, and got the visa.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

I mentioned above that I was going to be blogging on a related matter, and I have done so:

The Feminist Dilemma

It's not our argument here, but rather a followup one regarding female infanticide which is common coincidentally in countries with a tradition of arranged marriages, such as India.

I hope anyone on Althouse who is a committed feminist would discuss the point I raise there.

I, of course, courtesy backlinked to this post.

Cheers,
Victoria

Palladian said...

I'm for arranged gay marriages.

PatCA said...

Bruce, I am beginning to feel like you do. Our parents' generation believed in family, and women didn't have any other practical alternatives, so they chose spouses who they thought would be good parents and in general life partners.

Our generation wanted self-fulfillment and complete freedom--and we got it! :)

I don't think we want to go back to the 50s, but I do know friends now who send their kids to a specific college in hopes they will choose a mate there, one who is in sync with their background.

Aspasia M. said...

I wonder whether somewhat arranged marriages might have done them better than trying on their own - which ultimately failed.

I think a matchmaker could be a good thing. I know I'd like to arrange a marriage for my sister!

I am also starting to question the idea of romantic love. In retrospect, so much of it seems to be hormonal. But after that wears off, what do you have? Often, it seems, two people married to each other who don't have that much really in common.

I think modern marriage insists on the concept of a companionate marriage. I'm not talking about the hormonal rush of giddiness, but rather care, love and trust.

Women can raise children on their own in the 21st century, so few are likely to accept marriage as a buisness arrangement. However, people are interested in lifetime companions & in that sense love is necessary for a secure marriage.

Melissa Chan said...

What on earth happened to our Romeo and Juliet?! Well, I still believe we need to have our own chance to choose for ourselves who we want to live with. Don't we have a stand with what we say? In Singapore, there are hardly any arranged marriages. Inter-racial marriages are common amongst our people. Eurasians make up part of our society. I don't see why we can't choose who we want to live with. What happens to us after that is our own problem, since we chose it afterall. It's our own life. True, you say hormonal changes. But having our parents make such a big decision for us, does that not mean they have control over our lives? what happened to the fact that everyone has their own stand? Parents should step in only to approve of who we want to marry, but not decide who we want to marry. It's now the modern society. We have our stand now. Everyone's equal. It's our life. We decide what we want. We live it our own way.

Melissa. =)

happilyhijaby said...

i really enjoyed reading this article . whenever i mention not seeing arranged marriage as a horrible situation i get strange looks. people seem to equate arranged marriages with forced marriages but they don't have to be, in fact they shouldn‘t be. i personally don't think I’d have an arranged marriage but if did i hope I’d look at it maturely weight my options and make a sound decision. your parents aren't just handing u to a potential spouse and sending out wedding invitations the next day they’re taking a part in one of the biggest decisions you'll ever have to make. They introduce you to someone, give you advice and all take part in this crucial choice. BUT you ultimate are the one to get married and can deny anyone who you feel would not make a good spouse. If you don’t have that option it’s no longer and arranged marriage but a forced one. i see it as choosing between apples and oranges, they're two different fruits and different people have they’re preferences but as long as its a good fruit (or a successful marriage) then there isn't a reason to sneer at it.