Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No-Fathers Day

The Mosuo (摩梭) culture of the Chinese Himalaya thrives in a matrilineal society, which means men don't playing any significant role in the family. Here, women head the households, make business decisions, and own property, which they pass on to their matrilineal heirs, very much like our own Adat Pepatih in Negeri Sembilan.

And most importantly, they shun marriage.
Yes. No marriage at all. So where do the kids come from?
I guess some of you may be processing your sordid imagination by now but no, there is no incest involved.

Image: joshuaproject.net
Instead, they practise the unique Mosuo tradition called the walking marriage(走婚), where women invite men to visit their rooms at night—and to leave in the morning.

Women may also change partners as often as they like, and promiscuity carries no social significance. Most of the women, however, don't change walking-marriage partners very frequently. And they rarely carry on more than one romantic relationship at a time.
Image: chinancient.com
Men of the Mosuo, who live around Lugu Lake on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces, do help to raise kids, but not their own. In fact the men typically have only limited relationships with their biological offspring. The child will carry the mother's family name too.

Instead the men help to look after all the children born to their own sisters, aunts, and other women of the family.

Rather than one father with a kid, it will be four or five uncles. That father role is shared among a number of people, and these are very large extended families. They think that if you father a child with another woman, you can never be absolutely sure that the child really shares your genes, but if your sister has a child, you can be 100 percent sure that the kid shares some of your genes.
Image: chinaexpat.com
Moreover, extended families of siblings, uncles, aunts, and others are said to be extremely stable, and there are no divorces to destabilize the families. And even the death of a child's biological father has little effect on the family, given the father's distance from the family and the extensive support network in the household.

If the father wishes to participate in his child's upbringing, he signals his choice with gifts to the mother’s family, and stated intention to do so. This brings him a certain status within the family, but by no means a claim of kinship.

So, to all men out there, there'd be no Fathers' Day if you're a Mosuo man, and you would have no part to play in your children's lives apart from inseminating their mothers.

Info: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090619-fathers-day-2009-no-fathers_2.html

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