Question #2 Anthro Mideterm.wbk - To understand the status...

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To understand the status and roles of women in relation to family and marriage in India and America, an examination of the three fundamental stages of a woman’s life will be used to serve as the basis to compare and contrast the two. The fundamental stages that will be examined include: females as daughters in the family, wives in marriage, and mothers as caretakers. Ideological and functional similarities between American and Indian families occur through bonds of blood and love. In both India and America, families serve as a connection between the individual and the outside world. The individual’s identity, in large part depends on the family of origin. The individual is shaped through beliefs, values, and assumptions that the family holds about the world and that are based on family member’s experiences and collective memory. The family itself, in turn derives its values from the social, cultural, political, and philosophical assumptions and beliefs of the larger, and more dominant culture. In India, family plays a central role in an ones identity and serves as a source of moral sanction. The extended family complexed by internal hierarchal systems is the traditional family structure observed. Interdependence between members serves as the basis of this egalitarian system. The uterine family, which is the bond between mother and child, serves as the core. Following the priorities of the uterine family, filial piety is of the utmost importance. A female however, has different roles and maintains a different status from males in relation to family from birth to death. As adolescents, the status of Indian women in relation to family is changing with time and varies from family to family. Most daughters are traditionally viewed as temporary guests being raised for another family. As seen in Margery Wolf’s The House of Lim , the daughter’s-in-law gave their earnings to their husband’s family instead of 1
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their natal family. Because families do not recover the costs invested to raise a daughter and marry her off, the financial strain causes some families to marry their daughters off at a young age or to less desirable bachelors (Wolf 1968:128). This tradition is also practiced to ensure the virginity of the female. Because the sexual purity of the woman is held in high regard, contact between opposite sexes is discouraged from a young age. Thus, parents keep a closer watch on their daughters often allowing them little privacy. It is generally after marriage that a woman may ascribe to a higher status and lose such close monitoring by her parents. Marriage in India is still commonly arranged by the parents of the household. Because marriage is a union of families instead of individuals, parents rate the compatibility of the groom’s family with theirs along with the compatibility of the son and daughter. In Nanda’s article “Arranging Marriage in India,” the criteria parents use to rate a family include how conservative or liberal they are, what traditions they practice at
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Question #2 Anthro Mideterm.wbk - To understand the status...

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