Marriage can be defined as a social union between two spouses. The spouses can either be of different sexes or the same sex (gay marriage). In most occasions, marriage is often sealed with either a ritual, exchange of vows or a special ceremony. Marriage, however, depends on the spouses’ core values and beliefs. There are those that practice polygamy, polyandry, same sex marriage etc. depending on their beliefs.
Life without fathers describes social set up of the tribe of Na which is found in Southern China while ‘What to do with unmarried daughters’ speaks about the Tibetan society which is found in Nepal. The two communities have a totally different perception of the family. The Na society does not consist of a normal family like that in most societies. Among the Na, women and men do not have any lasting connections. Random men engage in intercourse with random women and the children never know their fathers. These men and women had multiple partners but never settled down or developed a lasting connection with each other.
The Tibetan society like the Na also had a unique perception and practices regarding family composition. The Tibetans were notorious for practicing fraternal polyandry. This is the practice in which one wife is married to at least two brothers. The wife also enjoyed sexual accessibility to all the brothers she was married to (Brettel, Caroline and Caroline p 286). Polyandry could be the marriage of a woman to different men, in Tibet these men were often brothers. In this community, the elders put trust and relied on their daughters to take care of them. Their daughters were married off while the boys brought home a single wife who they shared.
Brettell, Caroline B., and Carolyn F. Sargent. Gender in cross-cultural perspective. Pearson Higher Ed, 2012.