While doing some research on the Marriage Act 2014, I came across this post that stated in part “However, Polyandry as well as same-sex marriages have not been given legal recognition under the Bill” and it got me curious about Polyandry.
Polyandry (/ˈpɒliˌændri, ˌpɒliˈæn-/; from Greek: πολυ- poly-, “many” and ἀνήρ anēr, “man”) involves marriage that includes more than two partners and can fall under the broader category of polyamory. More specifically, it is a form of polygamy whereby a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time.
After seeing that statement, I asked myself one question; how come polygamy is allowed and polyandry is not? And I went further and asked, are there places in the world that actually have polyandry happening?
Well at least most of us remember that case where two men agreed to share one woman, right? Apparently she had been torn over the two men for years and just couldn’t choose who to settle with and they came into an agreement that they will share her and the responsibilities of her house including taking care of the children. The story goes on to explain that their ‘unusual’ (actually, abnormal!) union would not stand in court unless the two men (yes, the two men!) proved that in their cultures polyandry was a common practice. Otherwise the union would be null and void.
Fascinating innit? That it is the men that would need to prove that they had such customs in their cultures and not the woman right? Like, even when she’s the one basically having two men pinning, nay, fighting over her, she still has no say over her ‘unusual marriage’.
What’s more is that one of the residents of Kisauni, where the three lived, said “We have never heard of something like this in Kenya, it is uncouth, untraditional unbiblical and against the holy books, including the Koran. Why on earth would a woman be shared by two men? They should be taken to court and punished,”.
I wondered therefore, whether there were any examples of polyandry in the bible and this conversation here just put it all in perspective. The bible basically does not recognise polyandrous unions. In fact, polyandry would have been an unheard of phenomenon, considering the fact that women were basically at the bottom of the lowest food chain there existed. Think about it, how many times did you hear the bible go “and he had two sons and two daughters named X, Y and Z”? It has always been that the boys were mentioned explicitly and the girls weren’t. If they were, it was simply a number. For example, ever wondered how come Adam and Eve only had sons? Didn’t they have daughters? Genesis 5 says that Adam and Eve had three sons, Cain, Abel and Seth and then goes on to say “and other sons and daughters”. LOL. 😒
But even then, Polyandry has been in existence in many cultures around the world. Polyandry in Tibet was a common practice and continues to a lesser extent today. In India they still practise it albeit in minority communities. It also happens in Nigeria, Namibia, among the Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania and some indigenous communities in America.
On a side note, there are several communities around the world that actually go further and have Matriarchal Systems; where the women of the
community literally ‘rule’ their world. 😀😀 The Mosuo, living near the border of Tibet are the most famous matrilineal society. There is no institution of marriage; rather, women choose their partners by literally walking to the man’s home and the couples never live together. Since children always remains in the mother’s care, sometimes the father plays little role in the upbringing. In some cases, the father’s identity is not even known. Instead, the male’s childrearing responsibilities remain in his own matrilineal household.
How’s that for an ideal society!? 😃 😄
Need more reading? See. These. Links. And the ones all over this post 🙂