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Kinship (Essay Sample)

1. Explain the difference between bride wealth and dowry and discuss: why these practices occur. the impact of these practices on gender relations Word count:1500 words 5 references. All these criteria are important but some more than others! I have arranged them in order of importance – referencing is first because without proper referencing you will get a poor mark (or even no mark) no matter how great the essay is. Referencing: Have you adequately referenced and documented your evidence by use of citations, quotations and a bibliography? Have you used the Harvard style of referencing correctly? source..
BRIDEWEALTH AND DOWRY By [Name] Course Professor’s Name Institution Location of Institution Date Bridewealth and Dowry There are various cultures in the world that practice numerous customs and traditions. Also, these cultures provide guidelines that should be adhered to by people. Marriage is one of the issues that is practiced differently by various cultures, whereby people follow specific rules and customs regarding marriage practices. Bridewealth and dowry are usually involved in marriage. However, many people do not differentiate between the two words. Typically, dowry is practiced in many cultures, whereby the bride's father or family gives the groom’s family gifts that are apposite for the newly-wed couple. On the extreme, bridewealth is money or form of wealth that is paid by a groom or his kin to the family of the bride. There are various reasons why bridewealth and dowry practices occur in marriages, and for some ideas, these practices have some impacts on gender relations. Reasons why Bride Wealth and Dowry Practices Occur There are various reasons why the bridewealth is practiced in many cultures. For instance, some religions view it as a way of distributing family property to the newly-wed couple. In this case, the bride's wealth ratifies the marriage, and the couple can live together as wife and husband. Another reason why the bridewealth is practiced is to compensate the bride's family for the time and resources used to raise their daughter. For instance, the bridewealth in India is primarily valued and is termed as a way of appreciating the bride's family for accepting their daughter to be married (Gaulin and Boster1990, p.997). Moreover, the bridewealth can be used to support the bride's family. The compensation also counts for the loss of the bride's commercial services. In this case, bridewealth is used to pay the bride's family for the valuable services that their daughter was offering her family. Bridewealth is also significant since it binds the bride's and groom's families together in the course of their marriage. Moreover, the bridewealth contributes to the stability of the wedding, since it must be repaid in case the marriage is dissolved (Gaulin and Boster1990, p.999). Therefore, the bridewealth steers interest in the woman’s family to resolve any problems between their daughter and her husband to ensure the family is stable and avoid repaying the family. On the other hand, dowry practices are also essential in marriages. The Indian culture views the practice as a representation of security for the bride in case of divorce (Gaulin and Boster1990). In this case, dowry is used to secure the bride and ensure that she is valued and appreciated, the reason being that in case of a separation, the family can be repaid their dowry. Also, incidents of domestic violence have increased, and dowry has been used to show that women, which curbs domestic violence. Additionally, dowry brings unity to the families of the bride and groom, whereby issues affecting the family after marriage can be settled by both the husband's and the wife's families (Schlegel 1993, p.156). On the other hand, dowry is used in setting up the new household of the newly-wed couple. Moreover, financial burden may be experienced by the husband after marriage and, dowry can be used to ease some of the financial hardships. Also, dowry is practiced to show honor and respect to the groom’s family. In this case, dowry is viewed as a token of appreciation to the family of the groom. Furthermore, dowry is used to show that the bride’s family is ready to support the family of their daughter. Impact of Bride Wealth and Dowry Practices on Gender relations Both bridewealth and dowry practices have some effects on gender relations. For instance, some people view the bridewealth as a practice that shows that a man bought a woman as a commodity, and her household decision-making roles are limited (Rao and Rao 1980, p 111). In this case, the bridewealth impacts women since they are viewed as a minority in the community. Besides, the bridewealth has been termed as one of the practices that have led to increased cases of domestic violence, whereby women are at higher chances of experiencing violence (Gaulin and Boster1990, p.1001). Bridewealth also has an impact on sexual and reproductive health and rights. In this case, women are prone to sexual abuse since the husband has paid the bride price and seems to own the wife. Also, incidents of sexual harassment have been experienced, whereby men state they have paid the bride prices for their wives and have the right to control their women. Besides, some women have been affected by poor mental health due to domestic violence. In this case, policies should be implemented to curb such cases, and also limit domestic violence. Typically, the bride price reduces the power and prestige of the woman, whereby the repayment of the bridewealth creates fear of stigma and social vulnerability that may force a woman to stay in an unhealthy marriage. Furthermore, some families cannot repay the bridewealth after using it, which makes it hard for some women to ask for a divorce . Also, some families have requested for a tremendous amount of bride price based on the different educational backgrounds. In this case, brides with a high level of education are said to have used a lot of money. Therefore, the bride's family asks for a large amount of bridewealth to remunerate the funds used for their daughter's education, and this can be a burden to some groom's families. Therefore, bridewealth wealth can have an impact on both the bride and the groom. Nonetheless, women are primarily affected by the bridewealth compared to men. On the other hand, dowry practices have impacts on gender relations, whereby dowries can lead to infanticide since women can be viewed as financial burdens. Therefore, women can decide to abort their girls to ensure that they minimize their financial difficulties in their families. Correspondingly, dowry has been termed as a female competition (Schlegel 1993, p.156). In this case, marriage transactions reflect a bias in a match for a marriage partner, whereby the wide distribution of bridewealth and the rarity of dowry suggest that men frequently compete for wives. In contrast, competition among women for husbands is rarely on equal concentration (Van Willigen and Channa 1991, p. 372). Moreover, the wide distribution of the bridewealth portrays an image of the superiority of men over women. Also, some of the low socioeconomic families cannot meet some of the demands that are asked by the groom's family, leading to broken relationships. Furthermore, people are from different backgrounds, and not everyone can pay enormous dowry. Moreover, dowry is seen by women as property since it is the only share they can get in their parental property, unlike men who inherit various properties (Jain ...
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