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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Quick Thought on Inter-Racial Marriage


    by Shariq on 1st December, 2008 at 10:20 am    

    Ta Nehisi Coates has an interesting post on inter-racial dating/marriage. Reading the post and the comments, one thing which struck me was how cultural attitudes amongst african-americans are inverse to those amongst south asians.

    Culturally, it is generally ok if a black woman decides to marry a white man. However, there is more disapproval if a black man decides to marry a light skinned brown or white woman. On the other hand British Asians families tend to disapprove more of girls marrying men of a different race/religion than vice versa, sometimes with tragic effects.

    Does anyone have any explanations for this or is my analysis totally wrong?



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    165 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Leon — on 1st December, 2008 at 10:40 am  

      disapprove

      That’s putting it lightly mate, very lightly indeed.

    2. Ashik — on 1st December, 2008 at 11:36 am  

      Inter-racial marriages are not the societal norm amongst South Asians. I can’t speak for the black community.

      I think part of the reaction amongst both Black and South Asian people against such unions is down to the negative impacts of British imperialism.

      Slavery devastated the African slave’s family structure as husbands, wives and children were so often sold apart from each other. The legacy of African women and especially grandparents looking after children has lead to increased family breakdowns and some experts blame this for high crime levels amongst black youths. I guess the history of how blacks were treated has something to do with any aversion to such unions.

      Conversely experience of the British Raj led many South Asian men who were disempowered in colonial ordered society to ensure that their home remained their own preserve and so women had to conform to more rigid societal expectations. Any how amongst our peoples honour and chastity are strongly bound together by both culture and religion. The woman is the vessel of honour for the family. Her dishonor stains the whole family. Of course most people don’t go so far as to carry out honour killings.

    3. Beavis — on 1st December, 2008 at 11:47 am  

      Ashik

      Or some people are plain racist.

    4. Ashik — on 1st December, 2008 at 11:57 am  

      You can’t point at x or y community and say ‘why are they like that’ without looking at the root cause: in this case century’s of colonialism which skewed development and effected entire societies both in the public and private sphere. Of course, this is only a part of it.

      People who oppose inter-racial marriages are not racists, at least not comparable to the BNP. It’s not a political ideology. There is usually more than one motive. For example many South Asian Muslims oppose such unions because Islam pretty much forbids marrying out. Then again marriage amongst different South Asian groups even from the same country is often opposed. It’s a lot more complex than simple racism.

    5. Sid — on 1st December, 2008 at 12:05 pm  

      There is usually more than one motive. For example many South Asian Muslims oppose such unions because Islam pretty much forbids marrying out.

      Really? So when the prophet married Mary the Copt, he was committing an act which Islam forbids? How revolutionary of him.

      Please post a link to the Islamic fiqh (jurisprudnce) which shows that Islam forbids “marrying out”.

      Because from my understanding, Islamic law allows muslim men and women to marry anything that moves as long as it is to a muslim. But cultural and social norms, not to mention personal prejudice, are a different matter altogether.

    6. Ashik — on 1st December, 2008 at 12:47 pm  

      As I said:
      ‘pretty much forbids marrying out’

      Pretty much is right. As I stated religion is an additional barrier preventing marriage outside ones own community. Although blokes can marry out (of Islam) it is highly frowned upon by scholars. Women can’t marry out at all.

      A women may be married for four reasons: Wealth, beauty, family lineage, and faith. So marry a women of faith. [ Bukhari, muslim and others ]

      Islam is a religion which covers all bases. Marrying for lineage recognises factors such as race/culture. Most people regardless of faith or culture tend to marry their own.

    7. Beavis — on 1st December, 2008 at 12:49 pm  

      “A women may be married for four reasons: Wealth, beauty, family lineage, and faith. So marry a women of faith. [ Bukhari, muslim and others ]”

      No mention of love.

    8. shariq — on 1st December, 2008 at 1:15 pm  

      Leon, point taken. It should have read, freak out/go mental/lose the plot or something similar.

    9. Sid — on 1st December, 2008 at 1:32 pm  

      No mention of love

      Not to mention race.

    10. Ashik — on 1st December, 2008 at 1:38 pm  

      Ahem…Family lineage…

    11. Jai — on 1st December, 2008 at 1:46 pm  

      On the other hand British Asians families tend to disapprove more of girls marrying men of a different race/religion than vice versa, sometimes with tragic effects…..Does anyone have any explanations for this or is my analysis totally wrong?

      Maybe British Asian society/culture is just more patriarchal than the black community — the majority originating in the northern half of the subcontinent certainly is (both here and back “over there”, compared to some of our southern cousins).

      There are also some parallels with the more traditional/orthodox patriarchal ideas which historically used to be prevalent in Western culture, with regards to the notion of “giving daughters away” in marriage, women marrying “into” another family, etc etc.

      Which is possibly an explanation of why some of the more conservative elements amongst the white population sometimes get more wound up about the idea of white women getting involved with non-white guys compared to white guys/non-white women; this ain’t just an Asian phenomenon, y’know. It’s all to do with notions of presumed possessive “ownership”, thinking in terms of “tribalised” groups rather than individuals, “us and them”, etc etc.

      I think part of the reaction amongst both Black and South Asian people against such unions is down to the negative impacts of British imperialism…..Conversely experience of the British Raj led many South Asian men who were disempowered in colonial ordered society to ensure that their home remained their own preserve and so women had to conform to more rigid societal expectations.

      I’m not in a position to comment on people of African descent, but in relation to South Asians, there are 2 main points contradicting what at first glance is a plausible-sounding theory:

      1. Patriarchal attitudes in northern subcontinental society and culture were endemic long before the British colonial period.

      2. Later on, these attitudes were also entrenched in many of the former Princely States in the north, which were semi-autonomous and never literally a part of the British Empire. The men in these regions were certainly not “disempowered” by the Brits, especially in the manner which has been suggested in #2.

    12. Sid — on 1st December, 2008 at 1:47 pm  

      ‘Family lineage’ means a person of good family not ‘of the same race’. This sounds like a race supremacist who uses religion to justify their racism.

    13. shariq — on 1st December, 2008 at 1:57 pm  

      Excellent comment Jai. Agree with pretty much everything you said. I wonder if the decline in patriarchy in the west is in any way related to the decline of extended/rise in nuclear family.

    14. Jai — on 1st December, 2008 at 2:28 pm  

      Shariq,

      I think it’s logical that the increasing independence of women and their ability to live separate or semi-separate lives from family members (especially those who would presume to be in some kind of position of authority over them) would contribute to a decrease in patriarchy in the culture/society concerned.

      In my opinion this would apply to any part of the world, not just the West. It’s been going on in India for a little while already — the occurance of some of the more affluent professional young women in the really big cities living on their own or sharing an apartment with other young women before marriage isn’t as uncommon as it used to be, although obviously it isn’t as widespread (yet) as it is here in the UK or the US.

    15. Ashik — on 1st December, 2008 at 2:40 pm  

      ‘I think it’s logical that the increasing independence of women and their ability to live separate or semi-separate lives from family members’

      Japan has been Westernised and industrialised since at least the end of WWII. Women are liberated in Japan when compared to India. They are on a par with their sisters in the West in terms of employment and education. Yet on occasions where Japanese females enter into a relationship, usually with US army personnel, they can face opposition from family. One of the objections, aside from differing culture, is that Japanese see themselves as fastidiously cleanly.

      My lecturer in Property Law at Uni was Japanese. She once told us how at meetings of corporations in Japan the female boardmember is expected to make and serve tea to the male members.

      Despite accourtaments of Western civilisation and modernity, eastern cultures always retain more conservative views and family centric behaviour. This is not just a Subcontinental thang.

    16. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 2:45 pm  

      it’s interesting the various reactions.

      so many of my black female friends do seem to get really annoyed even if we’re walking down the street and and see a black man with anyone else but a black woman. i can’t help teasing them about their possessiveness.

      a bit of insight - into one of my friends’ experience- i asked her these questions in some seriousness this june.. her reasoning for this is as follows:

      first thing is she will only date black men. so she then said so she feels she is up against more and unfair competion for what she calls the “limited” pool of black men.

      on why she would consider a non-black woman any more competition (or unfair) than a black woman came down to a) apparently there aren’t enough black men who are dateable by her standards because she wants a professional man and there aren’t that many professional black men according to her. (or she hasn’t met that many) and also she thinks/suspects that black men aren’t really attracted to real black women and if there is a more paler-skinned/straight haired skinny woman around (black or white,think beyonce) well then that will be more in demand than the ‘real’ black woman. which given the music videos of gangsta rappers with skinny black women who look like they’re 75% white, my friend thinks is a realistic assumption for her to make. also she grew up in croydon in what she calls a mostly white school and says the popular girls were all blonde and she felt inferior to them ( i pointed out that even in monoracial environments people often hold complexes developed by being around the ‘popular’ people in school and feeling nothing like them, but hey, i get what she was talking about)

      so that’s where her resentment comes from, perceived competitiveness and some deep-seated beliefs/anxieties/paranoia that ‘black girls’ weren’t good enough for anyone.

      so then i asked her, well why do you feel you have to be with a black man, is that your preference blah blah and after MUCH digging (because she really wants to have kids, is 40 so I did suggest she might want to widen the pool of possible fathers) it turns out that actually, she does find other men who are not black, attractive, and doesn’t think there would be any cultural probs i.e. her family wouldn’t mind, but she imagines the ‘other’ men would never consider dating a black woman, or even find ‘black women’ attractive. (based on the thinking that if a black man doesn’t really find a black woman attractive, why would anyone else who ‘doesn’t have to!’ and isn’t bound by his community to do so!

      so my poor friend has some pretty fixed ideas (and troublesome for her, given she wants to be in a relationship and a mother fairly soon) on race+attraction, it never even occurred to her that she is an attractive woman to men full-stop never mind what race. attraction seems to her something that only happens ‘within’ a race -oddly she seems to think she is ‘asexual’ to people of other races. (very strange idea to hold onto in london but there you go)

      so that’s her story, i thought it was interesting insight into “collective” ideas about self-worth etc. ideas on who should be marrying whom, and ‘pairing up’.

      re: ashik’s comment: what he says about the reaction of some men to colonialism of the British Raj, is certainly valid. however, long before the British Raj came along, many centuries before, I think you will find us lot’s ancestors were even more ‘purist’ and weren’t into inter-caste inter-religion or inter-ethnicity marriages either. we’ve just been very ‘pure-blooded’ types for a LONG LONG time. and we have MANY axes on which to discriminate, not just ‘Race’. our social construct of division is incredibly fine - we have serious social stratification issues when it comes to marriage. this is easily realised when you look at south-asian arranged marriages - its hardly as if we see ads for ‘bengali boy seeks bengali girl’. and that’s it! who is considered a suitable boy or suitable girl depends on more than one factor.

      just seen Jai has already pointed this out pretty much. but i don’t know that i’d call them ‘patriarchal’ so much because the matriarchs have so much of the business of carrying on what are usually called ‘patriarchal’ attitudes, but we are referring to the same things i think. (think rishta aunties)

      and i’m not so sure its lightly looked upon when asian men do it - plenty of boys i knew at uni would die before telling their momma’s they wouldn’t marry their cousin from mirpur after they’d finished uni - they were terrified. its a big problem for blokes because so many of them are under Momma’s thumb, of course if they stood up to her she’d crumble eventually because her precious Son is so important to her (future) + social standing, but i’d argue that as young people, either male or female, its difficult, in different ways.. of course women are considered to be the vessel of honour as Ashik points out, and are easily ’soiled’ and cast off, but that’s the point. no one wants to cast off their son because a son is traditionally seen to be the future, so in many ways, there is a lot riding on that as well. so its different pressures on the different ways of placing importance on a son and a daughter.

    17. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 2:50 pm  

      Or rather, i would say, if an asian guy is ‘getting away lightly’ then that is down to what his Mother thinks, and how relaxed she is about it, and her standing within the ‘Community’ of aunties, i.e. if she is one of the Top Dog Aunties, then no-one will say anything,(or a bit of whispering but not blatantly) if she isn’t, then there will be more direct comments about the family.

      so again, it comes down to more ’social’ strata issues.

    18. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 2:59 pm  

      so if you’re a Top Dog Auntie’s ( i like this term, i will use it more) son or daughter, then you can get away with it without you “Community” ’sneering’ in your face, because you have got married, done it the right way, blah blah. ostensibly your family let you get away with it, and because of the social issues, no one else can’t say anything to them directly (we never say things socially we mean, right? its all this hee hee how are you? business - even if they wouldn’t let their sons/daughters do the same thing, they can’t say much about you. Of course, everyone is very happily spending as much time as they can saying to foreign spouse ” ah now you are one of us! do you eat X do you do Y have you gone to temple/mosque/x/y/z” and all that sort of thing.

    19. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:10 pm  

      Oh and of course the diasporic thing makes British Asians very uptight indeed about maintaining traditions and marriage/caste/suitability is a key ‘traditional’ tenet to maintain.

      in the indian subcontinent, things are far more varied nowadays, if you have what’s so cutely termed a “love marriage” it’s not THAT unusual, and it’s understood why you might want to! once ‘accepted’ by family, becomes a bit of a ‘oh you guys are so lucky, i wish i had been that lucky in my youth, type nostalgia with examples of bollywood movies being brought up and various hero/heroines you might resemble and silly things like that.

      and most young people feel able to criticise the expectation families have of them being in arranged marriages without being told they are losing their culture, yes they’d be called ‘modern’ but you don’t have to deal with this same fear of having to freeze traditions and not having your kids turn out to be ‘English’. i.e. proving your Asian-ness.

      we know how obsessed people get with that. And plus it comes back to familial control of children and still thinking they can ‘arrange’ their kids marriages to whomever they like, and if they are hankering after the old country, they’ll disapprove of their kids marrying British Asians of any description, nevermind #out of the group!# and so many want to marry them off to some particular village in some particular area. Given that’s the level of narrow-mindedness we’re talking about here…(as ashik has pointed out many a time, i’m sure his idea of a suitable spouse for himself/his daughter if he’s old enough, is certainly not going to be anyone who isn’t sylheti, and most certainly not a ‘Dhakaiya’ - right Ashik?)

    20. Ashik — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:11 pm  

      Actually ‘Top-dog auntie’ is more likely to oppose her son/daughter’s marriage to an unsuitable person because she has more to lose both socially and economically. Always remembering that marriages amongst Deshis are mutual familial social and economic alliances as much as two individual people getting together.

      In my experience highly religious people are mostly amongst the minority of Muslim Asians in Britain likely to accept a Non-Asian partner for their child. Especially if the Non-Asian person converted to Islam for genuine reasons well before marriage. There is a lot of Sunnath (like, ‘brownie-points’) for people who help others find Islam and those who help them.

    21. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:15 pm  

      nope Ashik, when you have a strong person within a group, who is seen to be one of the ‘top’ strata, they might not like something, but if they pretend to, everyone else will take the lead from them, we know what sheep are like. it’s only if you’re middle Dog or lower Dog, that you worry about people’s perceptions AND can’t change them. all self-fulfilling prophecies of course.

    22. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:17 pm  

      of course you are talking about your Sylheti community in this country, and I admittedly know nothing about their views.

      It’s pretty clear to me that i have a very different ‘Community’ to contend with.

      but in any case, i happened to be thinking of aunties in Communities here, (not Sylheti though) and specific cases, where Top Dog Auntie criticised everyone else’s daughter for going out wearing short skirts/etc./marrying out but when her own daughter did all of the above, it was fine ;-) and women are very ‘group’ creatures…follow the leader in public (amidst much bitching in private of course, but not the chutzpah to defy the Leader Woman) and all the Community’s gossip = came from - surprise surprise, the Aunties!

    23. Jai — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:21 pm  

      Top Dog Auntie’s ( i like this term, i will use it more)

      “Alpha Auntie” ?

      ;)

      the upper classes set the standard,that’s how it works. when you have a strong person within a group, they might not like something, but if they pretend to, everyone else will take the lead from them, if they are the Top DOg.

      Unless someone’s a stubbornly contrarian type. Which, amongst other things, is their way of refusing to be “subordinate” to any alleged Top Dogs, ie. they’ll deliberately be more conservative if the latter are more liberal, etc etc.

    24. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:32 pm  

      yes good observation jai

      alpha auntie - i like that too! :-)

      where’s Desi Italiana - we need her contribution to this post !

    25. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:35 pm  

      “Always remembering that marriages amongst Deshis are mutual familial social and economic alliances as much as two individual people getting together.”

      yes precisely, its not about individual people getting together, but once Top Dog AUntie decides in her/her clan’sinterest to seem satisfied and to keep the ‘family face’, she will use her social influence accordingly (and in arch tones, do a swift turn-around from only last week when she was condemning Middle Dog Auntie’s son for marrying a gori/Dhakaiya/heh) and point out what wonderful advantages there are to this ‘match’.

    26. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:36 pm  

      I guess Ashik you have spent more time at the Mosque than with the Aunties so you cannot possibly be expected to know/understand all this.

    27. Ashik — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:39 pm  

      I hope Non-South Asians reading this thread note that it is usually females eg. Mothers, aunties and older sisters who often define and enforce matters of honour in a family. It is by no means a simple case of men enforcing such conditioning.

      We blokes get an unfair bad rep! :)

      ps. As a bloke I’d not be welcome in aunties circle.

    28. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 3:43 pm  

      i agree with you ashik wholeheartedly in 27. (rare i know but there you go) it’s the thing so many ‘traditional’ feminists completely miss out on when they insist on blaming ‘men’ as a group for ‘patriarchy’. in the indian context, it is extremely clear that mother-in-laws and mothers (i.e. senior women) play a central role in keeping up up rigid codes of what a woman’s worth/value/behaviour is and should be. (including throwing any young woman who refuses to agree - into the proverbial doghouse and calling her a ‘bad girl’)

      interestingly, they also often insist on passing on religious customs, unquestioned, to their children.

      and yes, i guessed you weren’t spending time at the Auntie’s’ circles! :-) hence why i thought i’d better do some ‘explaining’..

    29. Amrit — on 1st December, 2008 at 4:47 pm  

      Most of my girl-mates who are black say the same thing Sonia’s friend said, about how they feel it is unfair when they see black men with women of other races, because there is a ‘limited pool’ to choose from.

      Jai’s comment was totally on-point, and what Ashik said at #20: ‘marriages amongst Deshis are mutual familial social and economic alliances as much as two individual people getting together’ is very true too.

      In a very hypocritical way, daughters tend to have a ‘value’ (I wouldn’t use that term) that sons don’t, in that you have to ‘pay’ to get rid of them (i.e. through the wedding), and that’s partly why some parents go apeshit - it’s a ‘lost investment’, if you will, awful as that sounds. They see it as having lost a chance to climb socially and ‘make the family name proud.’ Whereas if your son’s wife doesn’t ‘come up to scratch,’ you can just blame her for that instead of having a go at your son for the choice he made. Happy days!

      I’m sorry, but I think it’s just unforgivable for men to vent their apparently colonialism-based complexes on women. They were subordinate too, you know, and probably got raped and taken advantage of just as much! If you ask me, this is just a bogus excuse to justify increasing rates of female foeticide. I love how women get blamed for things that ultimately begin with men - like all the recreational rape that occurred during Partition.

      Nobody’s saying all men are guilty and all women are blameless, but on the whole it has been men who start these things, precisely because the women were stuck at home!

      I think for a lot of parents, the woman’s choice of partner is also seen as a direct assertion of sexuality, which is threatening and terrifying to them. I mean, if she wants to marry him, she’s obviously dated him, and if they’ve dated, they’ve kissed… and hai hai! :-P

    30. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 5:08 pm  

      amrit - last para -spot on, absolutely, a very big threat and sign of independent thinking!

    31. Sunny — on 1st December, 2008 at 7:02 pm  

      Jai, good point about patriarchy… but I think black patriarchy is expressed in different ways (hip hop music videos for example), than Asians.

      With Asian families it is expressed by transferring all ‘izzat’ on to the woman… and thus trying to control her. I think thats the crucial difference is how inter-racial marriages are perceived among blacks and Asians.

    32. halima — on 1st December, 2008 at 7:58 pm  

      In my limited experience, it seems that inter-racial marriage and dating is more common in middle classes, whereas in low-income groups , when it happens, lots of negative reactions follow .. This is very true of British South Asians.

      Going back to college days, i think it’s also fair to say there was a fair amount of dating between black and white young people, but less so , between Asians and non-Asians - or perhaps it wasn’t as open. But it seems something changes when we get into our 20s and professional life - we’re older and there’s more serious contemplation of life partners.

      The limited pool syndrome is a problem, not because their is a lack of black men, but because our sisters want black lawyers and doctors and professionals. When we were younger such considerations didn’t apply - dating was dating - but later, dating gets linked to social status and social mobility.

      There’s still a fair amount of ’selling out’ allegations that go on everywhere. ’selling out’ from what i am never sure, but there you go.

      I also recall, having a shock when I discovered aged 16 that a lot of so-called British Asian boys that look ‘traditional’ will have already dated a few nice white girls along the way - but always kept it secret - indeed, many might have fathered children - and then left the girl in question, because they couldn’t break the news to their traditional families. This is still going on. All the Bangladeshi restaurents dotted across the country also tell a story about numerous inter-racial dating going on behind the scenes.

    33. halima — on 1st December, 2008 at 7:59 pm  

      Then there is the racial pecking order which never goes away - dating white for Asians is one thing, but dating black, is seen as a complete no no.

      But dating white people is sometimes frowned upon by some sections of communities because having a white partner is seen as a status symbol by the non-white person dating. This is really annoying to say the least - and there are black and asian boys out where who will wear a white girlfriend like a trophy ( coz she’s white - yes, this still happens, and this is why many black friends get irked when black men date out) and equally - I know British Asian women dating white guys who feel status and superiority dating white men. None would admit to it in public chat - but it’s there.

      I see this phenomenon most clearly here in Nepal - some Nepali handsome man will have married a nice white lady from the home counties in the UK , and his social status is immediately up-graded - because of the influence, networks and wealth that having a white partner brings. It’s economics that matters here of coarse, but you can’t get away from the way in which being white brings so much patronage in South Asia - it’s quite sickening to see, and makes most of my white friends cringe when an Asian person gets ignored in a restaurent time and time again.

      Of coarse, in the UK, the economics are not as stark, but the symbolism of having a white partner still sticks.

      Shoot me down if you want - but i’ve always been critical of inter-racial marriages and relationships where it always happens that the non-white partner is economically less well off and so ends up having to trail the spouse around everywhere - esp if the couple met abroad. I have a problem with that - somewhere, but can never explain it very well. I have a problem with it because I think relationships should be based on equality - and amount of times i have seen inter-racial couples where non-white partner is making the career sacrifices and so on to accommodate a relationship, is disappointing.

    34. halima — on 1st December, 2008 at 8:07 pm  

      And my mates and I have been in many situations where a white guy will approach us because we look nice and exotic which is rather offensive to say the least. sometimes they don’t even know they are doing it. it’s always white men with a few anthropology letters to their name, or work in development agencies and NGOs and are on some crusade like honour killing or understanding ‘culture’ of some remote part of Asia that none of us have heard of .. living and growing up in deepest and darkest East London of coarse. :-)

      Right , that’s nuff mischief from me

    35. sonia — on 1st December, 2008 at 8:54 pm  

      “All the Bangladeshi restaurents dotted across the country also tell a story about numerous inter-racial dating going on behind the scenes.”

      Good point.

    36. MixTogether — on 1st December, 2008 at 10:02 pm  

      “People who oppose inter-racial marriages are not racists, at least not comparable to the BNP. It’s not a political ideology.”

      I have come to love it when Asians try and excuse racism on their own side as somehow better or not quite as bad as the BNP’s.

      It’s cho chveet!

    37. mediasheep — on 1st December, 2008 at 10:26 pm  

      Ashik

      ” For example many South Asian Muslims oppose such unions because Islam pretty much forbids marrying out.”

      Utter lies. They oppose it because they are racists. You seem to want us to believe that ignorant villagers who cling to culture are actually Muslim scholars.

      If islam forbids marrying out why did the Prophet marrying Zayd a black man to Zaina a white Arab lady?

      “A women may be married for four reasons: Wealth, beauty, family lineage, and faith. So marry a women of faith. [ Bukhari, muslim and others ]

      Islam is a religion which covers all bases. Marrying for lineage recognises factors such as race/culture. Most people regardless of faith or culture tend to marry their own.”

      LOL. A hindu scholar of Islam. Its unbelieveable that you quote a hadith telling people to marry on the basis of piety as evidence that they should marry for lineage. And you translation is flawed - it says “a woman is married for” meaning these are the main reason a woman is married and they should be ignored and a pious woman married.

    38. Roger — on 2nd December, 2008 at 8:38 am  

      I thought it was impossible to double post here!.

    39. Roger — on 2nd December, 2008 at 8:38 am  

      Actually, islam does forbid marrying out for women and restricts it for men- only “chaste” monotheists and if there is a shortage of muslim women.

    40. sonia — on 2nd December, 2008 at 1:45 pm  

      you mean if there’s a shortage of muslim men?

    41. fugstar — on 2nd December, 2008 at 2:08 pm  

      Hybrid kids must go through a lot, thats why Allah makes them even more beautiful.

    42. Roger — on 2nd December, 2008 at 9:00 pm  

      “you mean if there’s a shortage of muslim men?”
      Sorry Sonia, I mean: Actually, islam does forbid marrying out for women and restricts it for men- only if the women are “chaste” monotheists and if there is a shortage of muslim women. If there’s a shortage of muslim men plygamy isjustified.

    43. Ashik — on 2nd December, 2008 at 9:43 pm  

      Mediasheep:

      ‘ it says “a woman is married for” meaning these are the main reason a woman is married and they should be ignored and a pious woman married’.

      This is your ‘purist’ interpretation and a minority one at that (hence most Muslim ppl marry from their own kind). Lineage and marrying into a good family necessarily equates to South Asian/Arab etc parents, families and their children wishing to marry a person from a similar ethnic as well as social background.

      Our Prophet (PBUH) was guided by Allah (SWT). He also married more than four occasions, a path forbidden to Muslims in the Qur’an. Therefore using the Prophet (PBUH) as an example in this matter is not possible.

      While Islam does not forbid inter-racial marriages within Islam, it is recognised that lineage is a factor which does play a part. And lest we forget there are numerous differences in the practice of Islam which differs between differing Muslim ethnic groups eg. South Asian observance of Shob-e Borath which the Arabs do not recognise. Even everyday dietary differences owing to geography/culture eg. consumation of prawns which is considered by some to be Makruh (something one should refrain from). Then there is the Madhab problem (schools of thought like Hanafi and Hanbali etc) and don’t even get me started on the Sunni-Shia ish…..

    44. Ravi Naik — on 3rd December, 2008 at 10:47 am  

      Our Prophet (PBUH) was guided by Allah (SWT). He also married more than four occasions, a path forbidden to Muslims in the Qur’an. Therefore using the Prophet (PBUH) as an example in this matter is not possible.

      So, your Prophet cannot be used as an example for the righteous path? That sounds like blasphemy to me.

    45. Ravi Naik — on 3rd December, 2008 at 10:53 am  

      People who oppose inter-racial marriages are not racists, at least not comparable to the BNP. It’s not a political ideology

      People who oppose inter-racial marriages *ARE* racist. Any religion/policy/law that forbids inter-racial relationships *IS* racist. The mindset is identical to the BNP - no more, no less. Asians who are against inter-racial marriages are no different than whites who oppose the same.

    46. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 1:26 pm  

      fugstar hybrid kids only go through a lot because of the prejudice of families. in india, there is a hell of a lot of prejudice around what we consider ‘marrying out’ and that no one else in the world would consider marrying out (e.g. when a gujarati marries a punjabi!)

      use your God given agency to not discriminate, why don’t you? blaming everything on god//ah its their kismet to be discriminated against. ridiculous. what defeatist thinking!

      To the rest of the world we are the same “race”, shows how much they know (and how race is a social construct and breeding pool that keeps on breeding only within a set social boundary, and we desis are just better at discriminating)

      ‘inter-racial’ marriages/unions have been the mainstay of our own Islamic civilisation. And yes, let’s not take the Prophet’s example - we don’t need do - we can simply look at the Caliphs and their descendants, and so on and so forth.

      And i don’t know that the religion talks about lineage as important in marriage - I always thought (in theory) Islam regarded each muslim as equal before the Lord, and left it up to the guardian to make their decision as to who is suitable. Yes families want lineage and all that -(and don’t follow religion when it suits them) of course they do, and as you point out, every one has a different interpretation fo religion.

      Interesting though, when the marrying of ’slaves’ was in question - do you think they were concerned about the lineage of the slave? or given the married slave was a servant with extra privileges (ooh can’t see the difference there really with mediaeval views of marriage, i suppose marriage was slavery pretty much, so maybe that’s why they couldn’t see why slavery was bad)

      p.s. can someone tell Saudi men the servant sex slave thing isn’t allowed anymore? they won’t listen to me.

    47. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 1:32 pm  

      44 and 43. Heh heh, a good trick isn’t it.

      “Therefore using the Prophet (PBUH) as an example in this matter is not possible.”

      yes there are a few areas where the Prophet’s example cannot be emulated by the rest of us. (And thank goodness for that - just as well. otherwise there would be trouble. )

      interesting isn’t it - it should be blasphemy saying we can’t follow the prophet’s example. Alas, its not, its ‘praise’ - because he and ‘his special relationship with God’ that we don’t have. you get to start wars, have as many women as you like that you’ve captured in battle, marry more than the average man (why to give an ‘example’ even though they can’t take up that example) very nice indeed, what man wouldn’t want to be a prophet hmm?

      (When i first read the dodgy hadiths i thought they were well blasphemous, given what they were saying about the Prophet and what he did! of course i hadn’t realised then that one simply has to let go of the moral framework that might make one think those were bad things. ah well, prophets know best don’t they!

    48. persephone — on 3rd December, 2008 at 3:35 pm  

      And sometimes another aspect can overtake racism & perhaps is a factor in more inter-racial marriages being within ‘middle class’ asians. That is some asians more readily accept a non asian if they were what they considered to be in a status profession.

      It was wonderfully depicted in a sketch from Good Gracious Me where an asian girl brings her black fiance to her parents home for the first time. THe girls father (mock)faints with the shock. At this, the black fiance come to the father’s aid & tells him that he is a doctor. The father has an immediate recovery & calls him ‘my son’.

    49. Ashik — on 3rd December, 2008 at 5:12 pm  

      To clarify, the reason we can’t equate to the Prophet (PBUH) in this area is because he is a Prophet of our religion. He received the Divine word of Allah (SWT). There are paths open to him that are not open to us as discussed above.

      And Sonia @ 47. It is also interesting that you can go out every night, get ‘wasted’ and vomit on the pavement. Be taken advantage of and cry rape, and wake up next to a different man every morning. Yet this is considered ‘progress’ and seen as quite ‘normal’ in our society. My, how women are respected. Who wouldn’t want to be ladette here!

      It’s interesting that PP is so interested in discussing Asian attitudes to inter-racial marriages but not caste, social class and education which are equally factors parents look at in a partner for their children. Is it normal for a degree-holding Asian lass to marry a freshie cab driver in the UK? Such unions can equally lead to honour crime situations. You can’t look at race in isolation. I suspect several PP’ers are in such relationships hence the interest.

      And Naik, you don’t hear Asians complaining about Whites only marrying within their community in the UK. The criticism is always directed the way of Asian people. I suspect Asian people view this matter quite differently. Marriage is seen as a private and familial affair amongst Asians.

    50. Beavis — on 3rd December, 2008 at 5:15 pm  

      “And Sonia @ 47. It is also interesting that you can go out every night, get ‘wasted’ and vomit on the pavement. Be taken advantage of and cry rape, and wake up next to a different man every morning. Yet this is considered ‘progress’ and seen as quite ‘normal’ in our society. My, how women are respected. Who wouldn’t want to be ladette here!”

      The key word here is “can”, it’s down to personal choice, as should marriage be.

    51. Ashik — on 3rd December, 2008 at 5:59 pm  

      ‘The key word here is “can”, it’s down to personal choice, as should marriage be’.

      And the same goes for ex-Muslim Sonia’s jaundiced view of Islam and our Prophet (PBUH). Or do you really think we all Muslims start wars, take female slaves and are polygamous? :(

      PP is apparently here to give an Asian perspective but the people here seem to forget that religion is an important part of average Asian persons identity and life be they Muslim, Hindu or Christian. PP should advertise themselves as an athiest forum the amount of religion bashing that goes on here.

      How come no thread about Baby P on PP? Perhaps because it shows shortcomings in Caucasian society which some Asians here wish to ape, that a child can be so brutally treated while friends, family and extended family stand aside in our irreligious society while this responsibility is shifted to public bodies and social workers.

    52. Beavis — on 3rd December, 2008 at 6:47 pm  

      Is child abuse a purely caucasian event?

      What nationality was the DR involved…

      I prefer to think as people as humans first, their race and religion are secondary in my mind.

      Could you please supply stats to how many Asians see themselves as religious, or is this just based on your circle?

      By religious I mean going to mosque/temple/ gurdwara at least one a week. Not religious as in the the avereage Brit saying C of e because they go to the odd wedding or christening.

    53. Ravi Naik — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:27 pm  

      And Sonia @ 47. It is also interesting that you can go out every night, get ‘wasted’ and vomit on the pavement. Be taken advantage of and cry rape, and wake up next to a different man every morning. Yet this is considered ‘progress’

      No one considers getting wasted, vomiting on the pavement, and being taken advantage of as progress, you silly sod.

      It’s interesting that PP is so interested in discussing Asian attitudes to inter-racial marriages but not caste, social class and education which are equally factors parents look at in a partner for their children. Is it normal for a degree-holding Asian lass to marry a freshie cab driver in the UK?

      Caste and race are not equal factors to education. The reason is rather obvious.

      How come no thread about Baby P on PP? Perhaps because it shows shortcomings in Caucasian society which some Asians here wish to ape

      You are a freaking idiot. So Asians want to abuse babies? Not to mention a bonafide racist for considering that Baby P is a “Caucasian problem”.

    54. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:45 pm  

      48. persephone - heh heh good one. there was also a sketch of the guy who comes home with his boyfriend and says im gay..and the dad’s like..but why couldn’t you find an indian boy! :-)

      im impressed how ashik in my comment at no. 47 somehow managed to see any opinion i’d expressed of ‘ladette’ behaviour! mind you, i’d say the Hadiths were definitely ‘lad’ behaviour - blokes having sex with women on the battlefield and asking their prophet if they could pull out and spill their seed? Definitely Loaded magazine, NOT the hadith. Such an opinion on my part might suggest shock that such prurient behaviour fills the pages of holy texts. what’s this got to do with lads or ladettes - i can’t tell. if someone wants to be a lad or a ladette- that’s their business. It’s our business, if they’re trying to pass themselves off as a Prophet.

      But that’s ok Ashik, i understand - i daresay - being the moralist you clearly are -you also find it troubling that such behaviour is attributed to our Prophet. i mean -you might expect it of some english lads right? but our Prophet! that is worthy of some comment.

    55. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:53 pm  

      what strange comments from ashik. people have already discussed class and other forms of social discrimination - it hasn’t been restricted to ‘race’. i’d say you’re more concerned broadly with ‘race’ ashik, than anyone else here. and that you are highly race-conscious.

      i suppose growing up here Sylheti meant that you would. of course had you grown up in Bangladesh, i suppose you would be just class-conscious, and either ashamed/gloating about your family background. you’re just such a group yes man, aren’t you- never mind what that ‘group’ thinks it has in common, race, religion, class, whatever.

      and you might want to think why it is that people have jaundiced views of the Prophet once they actually bother reading the Hadiths. I had a ‘glowing image’ of the man when i simply listened to my Mother’s tales. Sometimes i wish i’d stuck to that, it would have been easier in many ways. Still, one has to search for the truth! from the perspective of spreading the religion, you might want to think about that.

    56. Rumbold — on 3rd December, 2008 at 8:10 pm  

      Ashik:

      “How come no thread about Baby P on PP? Perhaps because it shows shortcomings in Caucasian society which some Asians here wish to ape, that a child can be so brutally treated while friends, family and extended family stand aside in our irreligious society while this responsibility is shifted to public bodies and social workers.”

      Well as you know Ashik, we were all sitting round the PP desk hoping that an Asian would be involved, so that we could blame them, allowing us don our white hoods and start burning some crosses.

    57. halima — on 3rd December, 2008 at 10:04 pm  

      Do we have to be so personal with our comments! Let’s try not to be ..

      I do think on the whole most people marry within their ‘racial’ and socio-economic groups - and where they manage to straddle the ‘race’ thing they still tend to marry on socio-economic commonalities. It ain’t ‘race’ age but class that seems to be the chemistry.

      This is my whole beef with people talking about arranged marriages and non-arranged marriages as though the two are radically different. The cynic in me doesn’t believe that people randomly just ‘fall in love’, but we sub consciously fall in love with partners more like us, than not. If chemistry was so random etc we wouldn’t be marrying/dating people like ourselves. And I am going to use that terribly socio-logical phrase my mate uses when we discuss ‘love’, which is that love is a social construction, it’s mostly you projecting onto someone else feelings and insecurities about yourself. Of coarse I told my friend he should be careful with his words when he talks to his girlfriend and tells her love is nothing but social constructiion!

      Anyways, if we agree that love, attraction are socially determined and constructed, it follows that most people I know will only marry into a family with similar aspirations and ambitions as themselves - OK, an artist might marry a stockbroker , but they will mostly be from the same socio-economic classes. This is what arranged marriages do, except, we also do this within our own cultural/racial groups. But then most white people also marry white - I think actually think white folks are more homogeneous in their choice of friends and life partners than non-white folks.

      It’s not that being in inter-racial marriage itself are a good or bad thing - though some might elevate it somewhat because it’s PC and ‘progressive’ ( though why this is so , i can’t tell, just because i have white friends, does this make me more or less integrated?)

      I suspect inter-racial relationships are an issue for this blog because we know that attitudes to inter-racial relations in South Asian communities are still very negative.

      PS I am more likely to lead a campaign against child abuse in Asian communities than honour killings. To my mind, it is despicable how South Asian families ignore child abuse, and we fail children - the most innocent and weakest in society who cannot defend their own rights. On many, many occasions I have walked out of family and relatives gatherings because of the presence of pedophiles and informed everyone publicly they should protect their kiddies from such and such man - and this hasn’t made me popular, but there you go.

    58. persephone — on 3rd December, 2008 at 11:22 pm  

      Bull crap at 51: “child can be so brutally treated while friends, family and extended family stand aside in our irreligious society while this responsibility is shifted to public bodies and social workers.”

      How odd you seem to correlate child abuse with irreligious society. Have you not heard of the child abuse cases where it is priests who are the abusers.

      And another thing, child abusers through the ages have been clever at identifying & targeting those that are isolated or vulnerable (which you get in any racial society in any era). It is not an outcome of modern society.

      The biggest difference is that in modern society abuse is brought out more into the open so it is percieved (by some) to be more prevalent in modern times

    59. persephone — on 3rd December, 2008 at 11:30 pm  

      Sonia at 54 - I vaguely recall it - will have to see if it i son you tube.

      Halima at 57 - well done in outing the abusers. My only question is why are they roaming free?

    60. Ravi Naik — on 4th December, 2008 at 12:21 am  

      I do think on the whole most people marry within their ‘racial’ and socio-economic groups - and where they manage to straddle the ‘race’ thing they still tend to marry on socio-economic commonalities.

      But this is not the issue at all. When you choose your potential partner, you do discriminate in a number of issues - and that’s fine. The real issue is for family, community and society to restrict or forbid a relationship when it is solely based on superficial things like race.

      This is my whole beef with people talking about arranged marriages and non-arranged marriages as though the two are radically different. The cynic in me doesn’t believe that people randomly just ‘fall in love’, but we sub consciously fall in love with partners more like us, than not….Anyways, if we agree that love, attraction are socially determined and constructed, it follows that most people I know will only marry into a family with similar aspirations and ambitions as themselves - OK, an artist might marry a stockbroker , but they will mostly be from the same socio-economic classes.

      You make a good point. It is true that people of the same age, cultural, educational and socio-economic level are more likely to have more things in common than those where there is a gap in any of these factors. I agree that in that aspect arranged marriages (and dating services) can be successful in making good matches. Still, the thought of making a life commitment with someone you barely know is rather scary.

      And no, love and sexual attraction are not social constructs. You need to fall madly in love with someone, and then have your heart broken in a thousand pieces to understand that.

    61. halima — on 4th December, 2008 at 5:35 pm  

      “well done in outing the abusers. My only question is why are they roaming free?”

      I guess it’s mostly children that know who the abusers are - and by the time the children grow up and as adults confront an issue - the world has moved on. Not much evidence to go on to file charges. We always knew who the peodofiles were on our estate. And we always knew the children that were targetted. Children from broken families - or where there weren’t strong role models, or where the parents were going to be unlikely to do anything about the abuse. As kids when you mentioned it, the adults would never take these issues seriously - sweeping it under the carpet etc.

      Sad.

    62. halima — on 4th December, 2008 at 6:10 pm  

      “Still, the thought of making a life commitment with someone you barely know is rather scary.”

      This is the natural reaction for young people who have grown up with the idea that they will select their own partners.

      The natural reaction of someone who has grown up with the idea that his/her parents will choose, won’t find this so scary - or as scary - or might find it scary and reject.

      My point is that our social values and expectations we grow up with make something scary/familiar , not the actual act of committing to someone we do or don’t know.

      “And no, love and sexual attraction are not social constructs. You need to fall madly in love with someone, and then have your heart broken in a thousand pieces to understand that.”

      But this means going through pain to believe - and I am not sure I am that religious about love.

    63. billericaydicky — on 4th December, 2008 at 6:41 pm  

      Good to see Halima posting here agin with her usual sanity.

      Let me tell you all my experiences of more than forty years of being involved ,as a white man, with non white women, and how things have changed, or not as the case may be.

      Back in 1964 as a young bricklayer with a nice few quid in my pocket every weekend I, with a few of my mates, use to go up the west end of London.

      Around the end of that year, driving a Mini Cooper, I used to hang around Wardour Street and met a young black lady, no, not what you are thinking, who lived in Stockwell.

      She worked in a London Transport canteen and we had a shared interest in Motown and staying out late and getting pissed!

      I was at the time living near Brighton and so it wasn’t that difficult to nip up twice a week or so to meet her. The problem was that, at that time it was virtually impossible for us to go anywhere.

      She was seen as a traitor by black people for not going with her own and when we went to even smart places such as the Windmill on Clapham Common, even then the place where the South London white left used to hang out, we would be shunned.

      Quite obviously this didn’t do anything for the relationship and it just ran into the sand. It was simply not enough to spend our time in the West End to keep it going, there had to be more and at that time it simply wasn’t possible.

      It is still interesting today to read the two main black papers The Voice and New Nation and to see the racial hostility, mostly from black women, to inter racial unions which, inevitably, involve a black man and a white woman. Some of the stuff falls foul of race equality laws. Violent hatred of inter racial unions of the kind of stuff that can be found on far right web sites.

      Non of this should be a surprise when some of the black press, and in particular New Nation actually espouse racial segregation in their support for Louis Farrakhan. Their letters pages are openly racist against whites but at the same time they espouse models with light skin and advertise skin lightening creams. Sick or what?

      Asian communities are of course different and I wonder why some of the discussions that go on here actually do. The chances of any Shyleti marrying out, even to a white person are zero. Dhakoya possibly but that would be for prestige as the Dhaka people mught be marrying into money!

      At the end of the day things change but the human tradegy is always there. A sister of my father in Northern Ireland married a Protestant and was cut off by the family. She moved to Coventry wher I remember going to visit with my father and not understanding why Aunt Molly could not come to see us, and this was with white people onlt fifty years ago.

      I’ll get back to you all about me and Asian ladies after I’ve had my dinner!

    64. Don — on 4th December, 2008 at 6:52 pm  

      I’ll get back to you all about me and Asian ladies after I’ve had my dinner!

      There’s no hurry.

      Halima, I can speak only for myself but the whole love/pain thing - totally worth it.

    65. Don — on 4th December, 2008 at 6:57 pm  

      Obviously I mean in a Gram Parsons/ Emmy Lou way rather than Max Mosley.

    66. Rumbold — on 4th December, 2008 at 7:03 pm  

      And the clarification ruins it.

    67. Jai — on 4th December, 2008 at 7:10 pm  

      Halima, I can speak only for myself but the whole love/pain thing - totally worth it.

      Agreed. In fact, I’d describe it as quite a major life-changing experience if someone’s never had such strong feelings for another person before.

      *************************

      On a slightly more blokey note, and one only tenuously related to the subject of inter-racial relationships, I’ve noticed that Miss Hot Blonde Tank-top Girl has been replaced by a variety of her friends in those ads on the right. Like that hot brunette in the stripey mini-dress.

    68. Jai — on 4th December, 2008 at 7:20 pm  

      Don/Rumbold,

      Regarding the whole love/pain dichotomy:

      To be honest with you, tying up a suitably foxy brunette in a stripey mini-dress with silk handkerchiefs & furry pink handcuffs and spanking the naughty girl to within an inch of her life hadn’t even occurred to me until #65, but it’s interesting to see how your minds work, innit.

    69. halima — on 4th December, 2008 at 8:27 pm  

      Don, Jai,

      OK, I am going to shut up now! I believe yo’ all! I am now too shy to take part in a conversation with too many undertones that any respectable girl can’t confess to understanding!

      Billy

      Nice to hear from you!

      I guess your story in Northern Ireland could be told by other people, and you’re right - there is always a human cost at the beginning , we tend to forget that. I don’t know why people get so het up about women marrying out - it’s like women are invested with so much symbolism that when they marry out - it somehow hits a raw nerve and points more to society’s expectations that women carry the burden of preserving tradition and culture. But it goes deeper i think. Surely it’s got to do with people’s fears that relationships between two people is as intimate as the anti-racism argument can get - and this intimacy is way more powerful than argument and debate. I guess this also explains people’s attitudes to homosexuality - homophobes probably wouldn’t be as homophobic without the sex and intimacy involved. This sorta explains the statement you sometimes hear, ” I don’t mind gays as long as it’s kept private’ meaning they can’t tolerate the thought of public intimacy that doesn’t confirm to social norms.

    70. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:54 am  

      “Culturally, it is generally ok if a black woman decides to marry a white man. However, there is more disapproval if a black man decides to marry a light skinned brown or white woman. On the other hand British Asians families tend to disapprove more of girls marrying men of a different race/religion than vice versa, sometimes with tragic effects.”

      As usual, I talk with my US experiences, so:

      1. Maybe “ok” if a black woman decides to marry a white dude, but how is the white amour seen as in the larger society?

      2. I don’t see any disapproval of black guys marrying white /fair skinned ladies

      3. But there IS some disapproval of fair skinned ladies, particularly South Asian ones, who marry black guys

      4. South Asian American families disapprove daughters marrying ANYONE that is not a particular religion, caste, etc within its OWN communities, let alone race. For their sons it’s slightly ok because of their patriarchal view that the wife and kids will inevitably be the receptacle of whatever ethnicity and religion the husband is.

    71. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:58 am  

      Halima:

      “but i’ve always been critical of inter-racial marriages and relationships where it always happens that the non-white partner is economically less well off and so ends up having to trail the spouse around everywhere - esp if the couple met abroad.”

      To be sure, there are some racial undertones to this (I remember being REALLY uncomfortable with the richer, older white males/poorer, younger Nepali women couples), but I’ve also found that in some South Asian marriages where the guy is considerably well-off and more “educated” will have a wife from a village who hasn’t had “too much education” just to not have “problems.” Meaning: I want a subservient women who makes me excellent daal, roti, subji and bhaat, doesn’t talk back, and doesn’t look outside the home for fulfilling any of those odd itches of having her own life and outside of the home that has little to do with me. These fucking wankers, I tell you.

    72. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 8:05 am  

      Seriously, screw the “community.” Let them suffer- especially the fucking nosey ass aunties whose only purpose in life is to make the younger women’s lives as dreary, unsatisfactory, and unhappy as their own lives are- in the stinky, festering layers of their own statism, backwardsness, and tribalistic mentalities.

      Picklers, I urge you to “pickle” anyone that pickles your heart and loins. Be fruitful and multiply 7 times over.

    73. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 8:11 am  

      Jai #14:

      “I think it’s logical that the increasing independence of women and their ability to live separate or semi-separate lives from family members (especially those who would presume to be in some kind of position of authority over them) would contribute to a decrease in patriarchy in the culture/society concerned.”

      But do you really feel that women being relatively more independent than before (by going to school, having a career, etc) are actually taking steps to continue with that kind of lifestyle for the REST of her life? Because I have seen more often than not, women caving into the “norms” by the time they hit their 30s, despite having achieved their “independence.” It breaks my heart that in the end, many of us are pressured or led to believe that in the end, we have no logical choice but to go with the flow- the very flow that we tried so hard to break from in the beginning. So many achievements, determination, etc gone to waste when you finally decide to “settle down” with a mate who is of liking to your family (whether it’s “arranged,” mediated, or not.)

    74. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 8:14 am  

      Ashik #27:

      “ps. As a bloke I’d not be welcome in aunties circle.”

      I don’t think you’d want to, and you ain’t missing out on much. Unless you like gossiping about so-and-so who failed to conform to the ‘right way’ of doing things, talking about the latest episodes of Indian soap operas, voicing your opinion on how adorable or not the latest contestant is on Indian Idol or Sa Re Ga Ma or the millionth permutation of such, etc.

    75. Jai — on 9th December, 2008 at 12:35 pm  

      But do you really feel that women being relatively more independent than before (by going to school, having a career, etc) are actually taking steps to continue with that kind of lifestyle for the REST of her life?…..So many achievements, determination, etc gone to waste when you finally decide to “settle down” with a mate who is of liking to your family (whether it’s “arranged,” mediated, or not.)

      I know what you mean, although it depends a lot on the specific woman and also what her husband is like.

      Also, in many ways Indian guys have to go through the same sort of thing, especially if they’re from fairly typical sheltered/over-protective/relatively conservative family backgrounds, and most of all if (for whatever reason) they end up having to move back with their parents after university or (especially) after getting married.

      3. But there IS some disapproval of fair skinned ladies, particularly South Asian ones, who marry black guys

      It’s for the same reasons that many white rednecks here in Britain go nuts at the idea of really hot white women getting romantically/physically involved with (or even marrying) South Asian guys, but they’re much less bothered if the girl is less attractive.

      In both situations, it’s because the women in these cases are viewed as more “prized”. Bigotted people can get pretty weird and neurotic about this sort of thing; they’ll ignore/override the woman’s own feelings and wishes, and it all becomes much more about indignant egotism, possessiveness, racist “tribalism” etc. Nasty stuff.

    76. Jai — on 9th December, 2008 at 12:42 pm  

      but I’ve also found that in some South Asian marriages where the guy is considerably well-off and more “educated” will have a wife from a village who hasn’t had “too much education” just to not have “problems.” Meaning: I want a subservient women who makes me excellent daal, roti, subji and bhaat, doesn’t talk back, and doesn’t look outside the home for fulfilling any of those odd itches of having her own life and outside of the home that has little to do with me.

      Agreed, although that’s not necessarily a specifically desi thing either. For example, there are plenty of white guys around with “trophy wives”, where there is a considerable (in some cases “huge”) disparity between the spouses’ respective educational backgrounds and earning power.

      The investment banking sector is full of such people — for example, it’s not that unusual for some high-flying trader with superb academics ending up marrying an attractive PA (or equivalent) whose own background and salary is quite different — and it’s only since I’ve met a lot of people from that sector during the past few years that I’ve realised that the rationale and dynamics involved are often strikingly similar to the desi example you’ve given.

      Unfortunately with some of the same negative issues and outcomes too, of course; there have been times when I’ve actually been silently shaking my head and thinking “X & Y’s relationship is like some disastrously dysfunctional arranged marriage, and one that looks great on the surface but in reality has gone horribly wrong because love was never a factor and they married each other for all the wrong reasons”.

      So these things do happen amongst people from other ethnic/racial backgrounds too, with the same negative attitudes involved, but it’s just that the whole process may be a bit more formalised amongst South Asians, with more overt/direct involvement from their parents.

    77. Amrit — on 9th December, 2008 at 1:12 pm  

      3. But there IS some disapproval of fair skinned ladies, particularly South Asian ones, who marry black guys

      It’s for the same reasons that many white rednecks here in Britain go nuts at the idea of really hot white women getting romantically/physically involved with (or even marrying) South Asian guys, but they’re much less bothered if the girl is less attractive.

      In both situations, it’s because the women in these cases are viewed as more “prized”. Bigoted people can get pretty weird and neurotic about this sort of thing; they’ll ignore/override the woman’s own feelings and wishes, and it all becomes much more about indignant egotism, possessiveness, racist “tribalism” etc. Nasty stuff.’

      Ironic too, because bigots often present their concerns as grandiose, usually invoking the name of tradition and/or religion while in fact being totally superficial. Then again, I suppose it makes perfect sense in their brains: ‘Must keep the best fillies for OUR breeding…!’ I can’t help seeing a parallel with white eugenicists here which is, again, very ironic.

    78. sonia — on 9th December, 2008 at 6:12 pm  

      60 - Ravi Naik:

      “But this is not the issue at all. When you choose your potential partner, you do discriminate in a number of issues - and that’s fine. The real issue is for family, community and society to restrict or forbid a relationship when it is solely based on superficial things like race.”

      Spot on - thank you. that is the real crux of the matter. I never understand when discussions like this take place, so many people seem to miss this point and feel they are ‘under pressure’ for not being ‘cool’ or something!

      Also - as a very important corollary - is that many families, in the end, or some early on, accept the situation with limited fuss. Which is handle-able - the real issue again, is for the families who completely cut off contact, and disown their kid/do something worse. that’s the kind of control which seems to trigger some families to commit violence towards the ‘non-conforming’ children. thankfully rare compared to the millions under some kind of social pressure, but still - too many . for most of us in the end, its generally ok. its not for those unlucky few. clearly there is a reason why we should explore underlying attitudes/ideas/convictions that ‘groups’ hold about who their ‘members’ should or shouldn’t marry, to understand how to stop the violence of the few.

    79. sonia — on 9th December, 2008 at 6:38 pm  

      62 -

      The natural reaction of someone who has grown up with the idea that his/her parents will choose, won’t find this so scary - or as scary - or might find it scary and reject.

      sorry halima, that’s somewhat oversimplistic. you’re grouping people into two lumps and assuming human emotions/fears doesn’t somehow cross those boundaries!
      everyone has fears even if they know this is the job they want to take and will have for the rest of their life - you still have hopes right! gosh, that’s only HUMAN. plus if you think its forever, unless you’re emotionally dead, you WILL have hopes that it is easier rather than harder. PArticularly when you know it could easily be one or the other.

      of course what we expect is significant but are you really presuming to suggest that those who are pretty sure they have an arranged marriage - still don’t have hopes of a good life! really that is somewhat depressing and a blanket statement. there is also an assumption that people who go for an ‘arranged marriage’ do not want their husbands and wives to ‘love’ them! they may not “expect” love in the “romance fairy tale” way and who is to say who/which ‘culture’ has the monopoly on “love”? Please read this post - “arranged marriage after a year: everyone loves a story” - it is very lovely.

      i am fully aware that only a few of my
      friends werent scared about who they were going to end up with (people i grew up with who expected their families to arrange their marriages). its a different kind of worry perhaps to worrying about who you should date, but only if you are letting your parents choose your partner for you. nowadays as we all know modern arranged marriages take time and effort and much choosing! are you really suggesting all those people weren’t feeling ’scared’ at some point that they might have chosen the wrong [suitable] prospect.

      perhaps i misunderstood what you said - it really does seem to suggest that you think people who conform to traditional expectations do not have ‘emotions’ or ‘feelings’ or romantic expectations. this is very strange thinking, to me anyway. they are obviously not the same expectations perhaps but they are expectations none the less. surely you cannot be human if you do not expect, or you are emotionally dead. one may not express those expectations, and also may not ‘do’ anything if it all turns out rubbish, and also i think the entire bollywood industry shows us what our ‘hopes’ are..we all want romance, whether we think we are entitled to it or not

      indian cinema is very revealing of our societies desires and taboos. i find it ironic when so many british asians claim the desire for romance and love is a “white/western” thing, and somehow ‘not part’ of any relationship option/self-initiated or not. (perhaps they have internalised the nonense their parents told them) Perhaps its a diasporic dichotomy. its very strange when you see and meet all the romeos of the subcontinent, all the songs! all jilted lovers doing their ‘devdash’ trick and all that talk of prem..and wanting to find it. people are worried as well because they know they have not much agency themselves! people may not find what they want and do what their parents want because its easier but it is somehow weird to think that they didn’t want something for themselves and were worried they wouldn’t be able to pull it off/mamma and pappa would marry them off to someone horrible mustachioed man who wouldn’t romance them in some way!

      young people everywhere feel scared full stop! my best friend who is from karachi had a traditional arranged marriage- of course she was terrified, she had no idea what the ‘reality’ of life she had accepted was going to be like. and because she knew she didnt have a get-out clause, she felt there was a LOT riding on it. she was really thankful because it was fine, but she said, it so easily have become a hell she would have to bear.

      ok long comment.

    80. halima — on 9th December, 2008 at 6:49 pm  

      Sonia

      “I never understand when discussions like this take place, so many people seem to miss this point and feel they are ‘under pressure’ for not being ‘cool’ or something”

      I have missed your point altogether , not because I object to inter-racial marriage, but because I don’t follow?

      What’s being cool or uncool gotta to do with who we marry - marrying by it’s nature is perhaps not that cutting edge - it’s being institutionalised, some would say. But that’s another set of values altogether about commitment and how we express our commitment in public terms - and usually in monogomous ways.

      But I am sure you meant something else by your above comment - which has gone over my head a bit.

    81. sonia — on 9th December, 2008 at 6:50 pm  

      this is what i said on that bloke nehisi coates page and ill say it again, the connection with imperialism and the race relations agenda only will hold if you insist on seeing a person primarily as a representative of a “race” /group and not primarily as an individual person!

      its the relationship between groups that people are talking about generally when they talk about ‘inter-racial’ (what a term) not really relationships between individuals who can be attributed to some group/s or other

    82. halima — on 9th December, 2008 at 6:51 pm  

      “of course what we expect is significant but are you really presuming to suggest that those who are pretty sure they have an arranged marriage - still don’t have hopes of a good life”

      I had assumed people who opt for arranged marriage also hope for a good life - an arranged marriage doesn’t cancel out hopes for a good life.

    83. halima — on 9th December, 2008 at 6:55 pm  

      81 - sure, people, but what’s this gotta to do with being cool or uncool? And what’s the connection between feelin under pressure for being uncool and inter-r relationships? Still miffed..

    84. sonia — on 9th December, 2008 at 6:59 pm  

      Desi - knew you’d get here at some point! :-) we needed you here..

      70 -

      “4. South Asian American families disapprove daughters marrying ANYONE that is not a particular religion, caste, etc within its OWN communities, let alone race. For their sons it’s slightly ok because of their patriarchal view that the wife and kids will inevitably be the receptacle of whatever ethnicity and religion the husband is”

      heh yep! also - let’s not forget in many cases, it doesn’t matter if the bloke fits into ALL boxes that need ticking, if she has announced HE is HER choice, not pappa or mamas. one of the Forced Marriage Unit rescuees was having a relationship with her cousin, but no she was married off to ANOTHER cousin, in Pakistan. so there you go.

      halima - precisely that’s my point - it isn’t about what’s cool or not ( i refer to sth you said yourself way up as to why this is interesting for PP) = as ravi said, its about the barriers society and our ‘groups’ bring up - that’s why its being talked about. its not about ‘us’ making value judgements on who should be going out with who, (i.e. this is a bad thing,or this is a good thing) but about making the point that individuals are not finding it easy- whatever decision they have made - to gain acceptance from their families, and in many cases, much worse.

      my value judgement here is that individuals should be able to do as they please, including making mistakes, and that it is the learning process, which is valuable to a human.

    85. halima — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:03 pm  

      And yes, there has been an mis-understanding. I am trying not to give any assumptions here about what I’m implying and at the moment - I am actually stating very open views to love, marriage and romance . Quite liberal , liberal enough to take in the different interpretations of love within arranged and non-arranged marriages.

      I don’t assume that people going for arranged marriages don’t have expectations of love and romance - quite the opposite, acutually. Love isn’t something that just starts with dating - but can start after marriage and from afresh. Like you say - there is no cultural monopoly over love ..

      And actually Bollywood is more revealing of love in a non-wstern sense - it isn’t about dating or indeed always about dating or even declaring words like ‘I love you ‘ but its love is expressed differently. I’ve never heard my parents ever say i love you to each other, and they probably don’t say it even privately - but that’s coz they express love in different ways.

      There has been those East asian films on love..

      And yeah - who can define love. Will read your link with interest, I’m interested in these discussions, something which more masculine oriented blogs don’t talk about as much!

      I actually belive that non-wstern cultures have a stronger tradition of love - something that is less routed in the physical sense.

    86. sonia — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:05 pm  

      this i would say - is poles apart to say Ashik’s view which is more how individuals contribute to [his view] of an ideal society and so he (in my view) wants to promote those structures in place that he thinks will lead to an ideal society.

      (p.s. i wasn’t suggesting Halima that I thought you were opposed to inter-racial dating or marriage, it was a wider point, not a personal one, i apologise if you thought that is what i am saying) in a round about way what i meant to say is what i’ve just said in the previous comment - i.e. its about freedoms that ‘groups’ give to individuals they perceive under their control. and when we discuss that, people start saying whether they think its right or not. but that’s the point!

    87. halima — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:12 pm  

      Desi

      Yes, I think mixed race relationships are also mixed up with just as equally strange economics and unequal powers of negotiations - between men and women - as any relationships are.

      Relationships per se are complex and complicated.

      I geninuinely marvel when i see an equal relationship between a man and an women ( here i am only thining of straight relationships).. Sure some are more equal than others - but where one is equal we hear society saying things like ‘SHE wears the trousers’. Etc etc, you get my drift.

      Society and our expectations of women within relationships is still very conservative - even in the most liberal so called white middle class , gender sensitised families.

    88. halima — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:17 pm  

      Sonia

      I know you were not implying I was against inter-r relationships - hell I am even saying I all up for non-monogomous relationships, just not for me, so I am a fairly open minded chick .

      I am just trying to tie up the different strands of these discussions, and perhaps provide an alternative way of viewing relationships per se - and to critique the premise on which some mixed relationships are based on. That’s not the imperialism project - but the anti-imperialism project!

      And yes, ‘community ‘ control is a horror - and happy to fight it where it props up !

    89. sonia — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:19 pm  

      72: :-)

      “Let them suffer– especially the fucking nosey ass aunties whose only purpose in life is to make the younger women’s lives as dreary, unsatisfactory, and unhappy as their own lives are– in the stinky, festering layers of their own statism, backwardsness, and tribalistic mentalities.”

      we should have this up on a wall somewhere = i say we do it as a tagline (perhaps shortened!) of our collaborative effort desi..

      amrit - “‘Must keep the best fillies for OUR breeding…!”

      yep:-) and similarly….”marry the darker girls off to other blokes, we don’t want them! take them!”

      this is why im always convinced my parents were secretly relieved when i turned up with my ‘own find’ they’d been thinking how are we going to find this one any proposals?? (my sisters are all much fairer than me so you get the pic eh?)

    90. halima — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:21 pm  

      “it was a wider point, not a personal one”

      perfectly understood, but thanks for the clarification.

    91. sonia — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:21 pm  

      halima:

      “Relationships per se are complex and complicated.”

      yes - that is the key i think. never mind anything else…

      as a young [militant] feminist i swore never to get married and never to have relationships.

      sigh!

    92. halima — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:22 pm  

      “as a young [militant] feminist i swore never to get married and never to have relationships.

      sigh!”

      And then love got in the way!

      I , on the other hand, believed in Bollywood as a kid and still swear by it - even though my head tells me it’s not true and it’s all social construction! Sigh!

    93. sonia — on 9th December, 2008 at 7:24 pm  

      you’re welcome, and i have serious issues with “dependence” within relationships…again, perhaps from my feminist militancy in the past. i think we would all like an ideal world where all partnerships are ‘equal’ and precisely that - partner-ships, rather than ‘dependence-ships’. in my view, it shouldn’t be seen as a ‘weaker’ person being supported, but rather a partnership where both are valued as equals and both parties’ contributions are valued.

      as you say, its all very complicated. .! And as desi points out in no. 73, this seems to become very difficult in many situations ( and not just ‘desi’ ones either, i think its much more universal than that, as i see it, the minute children come into the equation..)

    94. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 9:32 pm  

      Jai #76:

      “Agreed, although that’s not necessarily a specifically desi thing either. For example, there are plenty of white guys around with “trophy wives”, where there is a considerable (in some cases “huge”) disparity between the spouses’ respective educational backgrounds and earning power.”

      So true, and thanks for pointing that out. This idea seems to pervade a lot of middle class families, especially where one spouse (usually the dude) is financially successful.

      Halima #85:

      “I actually belive that non-wstern cultures have a stronger tradition of love - something that is less routed in the physical sense.”

      Hmmm…I am not sure about that (if you’re being serious). I think songs,poems, movies about sexual desires coupled with passion and love are more absent in, say, Bollywood style pop culture than in Western pop culture, where sex often plays a central role. But I wouldn’t say non-Western cultures have “a stronger tradition of love” (and by non-West, we also have to take into account not just the sub-continent and the Arab World, but many other geographical entities). And yo, those Japanese comics and cartoons?! That’s like modern day Kama Sutra!!

      And I am reminded of some really, really sweet Mariachi songs about love- no sex involved- and old Italian lores about love. I guess the Desi pop culture is just much better at bottling up the sex part (though have you seen some recent Bollywood movies where they show people having sex under the sheets and yelping screams of pleasure?!) and the poetic tradition we have been left with from during the Moghul empire spoke often about love and longing, and that is what sticks out in the Desi public imagination because the golden age of the Moghul Empire is what is the nearest “history” we have (interestingly, the lit during the British Empire is nicely packaged and stamped with the label TAGORE).

      And while Desis pat themselves on the back for having a ’superior” culture which values love over sex, there are about a thousand brothels in India where millions of women are trafficked everyday.

    95. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 9:38 pm  

      Hello Sonia!

      #93

      “i have serious issues with “dependence” within relationships…again, perhaps from my feminist militancy in the past. i think we would all like an ideal world where all partnerships are ‘equal’ and precisely that - partner-ships, rather than ‘dependence-ships’. in my view, it shouldn’t be seen as a ‘weaker’ person being supported, but rather a partnership where both are valued as equals and both parties’ contributions are valued.”

      I finished reading “The Bastard on the Couch” last week, edited by Daniel Jones. It’s a series of essays by men and their take on relationships. Interestingly, they all talked about how they and their female significant others were living up- or at least trying to- to the ideal of “equality” that many of us have been ingrained with, and how much it created strife, and how much of a struggle it was. I think some of those problems were quite genuine (meaning, I don’t think it was the case of the guy CLAIMING to want equality but in reality is the Bastard on the Couch just wanting his woman to fulfill the stereotypical notions of gender dynamics) but I think it can be quite difficult in some cases. You should check it out, if not to laugh at the cover of the book and read some funny essays.

    96. persephone — on 9th December, 2008 at 9:42 pm  

      @ 85 “I actually belive that non-wstern cultures have a stronger tradition of love - something that is less routed in the physical sense.”

      This is a rather sweeping statement & judgemental of other cultures.

      In non western cultures is it really a stronger tradition of love or of something else?

      In reality non western cultures have a greater sense of duty/’honour’/collective responsibility that is instilled to over-ride love/physical longing happening before some elders would like it to. Control would be a better way to describe it.

      Added to this, in non western cultures, there is also a greater reluctance to be open about or admit to having physical & romantic desires which have to be subsumed for duty/honour & the rest etc.

      The main outlet for all of this seems to be in the popularity of bollywood with its heavily stylised & melodramatic central romantic storylines & songs, erotic dance moves, top male actors going musclebound so that they can go topless (well better than them wearing those black mesh porn T shirts..)

      And the comment also suggests that ‘true’ love cannot have a physical beginning which seems to suggest that only ‘emotional/cerebral’ love is the best starting place when in reality you can be physically attracted to someone before falling in love with them.

      In my mind we cannot be judgemental as to how love should start to be true love. Or that some cultures have any greater ability to love. Or am I being a romantic now?

    97. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 9:52 pm  

      Perse:

      “And the comment also suggests that ‘true’ love cannot have a physical beginning which seems to suggest that only ‘emotional/cerebral’ love is the best starting place when in reality you can be physically attracted to someone before falling in love with them.”

      So true.

    98. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 9:58 pm  

      And like the ghazals about women with fair skin, black hair, black eyes.

    99. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:05 pm  

      Amrit #79:

      “Ironic too, because bigots often present their concerns as grandiose, usually invoking the name of tradition and/or religion while in fact being totally superficial. Then again, I suppose it makes perfect sense in their brains: ‘Must keep the best fillies for OUR breeding…!’ I can’t help seeing a parallel with white eugenicists here which is, again, very ironic.”

      Women are regarded as being the social and societal carriers of norms through sexual activity and so controlling their sexual activities is controlling, defining, and maintaining those norms. This is why guys are let off the hook for doing things “respectable” girls/women can’t do- like “sowing their wild oats,” fucking around, dating and sleeping with women prior to marriage, etc. Men aren’t expected much to instill social values and norms- in fact, even having them until the day of the “viewing”- embodiment and transmission of these norms falls on the shoulders of the lady of the house.

      Sex being associated and infused with social symbolism and all.

    100. persephone — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:14 pm  

      And why is it that the main audience of romance ridden bollywood movies are the traditional aunty set?

      Whenever I have been forced to watch a bolly movie at another persons house it is the auntys who stare transfixed at the tv screen, yelping with rapture when their fave male star appears & mopping their brows with their dupattas because the central heating is too hot…

    101. persephone — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:16 pm  

      Desi “And like the ghazals about women with …. black eyes.”

      that must be the domestic violence

    102. Ashik — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:21 pm  

      Some commentators dwell on the Western paradigm as the ultimate expression of love and quality of relationship in a marriage. However, regardless of level of integration, education & career, most Asian people will not make the same choices of life partner as their Western peers. Consideration has to be taken of cultural factors . The family has a greater role in our Asian social life. Even the most Westernised Asian person will have differing values and outlook from an English person in a relationship due to being bought up in a culture at home which is more traditional, reserved and family conscious. The immigrant/diaspora minority narrative and experiences will also affect choices. Such factors tend to grow in importance as a person matures and prepares for married life, most visibly at 30+. For example, a person may become more conscious of religious practice in later life which would change dynamics in an inter-racial relationship. Generally people are more open to experiment in their youth ie. relationships at University but may settle down with a partner from a more suitable background in marriage.

      I think it is frankly overly simplistic to suggest that as Asians integrate evermore into mainstream UK society we will become Westernised in the sense of individuality as king and view of marriage as a fashionable diversion. Marriage still has a sanctity amongst Asians which it has lost in the West in recent times. Standing the test of time is a higher priority than momentary happiness in Asian marriage strategies. The resurgence of religious identity amongst Muslims and Hindus generally also bodes ill for mixed marriages.
      It is rather interersting to see this debate evolve from inter-racial marriages to the reletative merits of ‘love’ and ‘arranged’ marriages, with the predictable split in positions by members of PP. I think it is wise to remind everyone that the vast majority of arranged marriages (which all come in different shapes and sizes) are entered into as voluntarily as love marriages. Although numbers of love marriages are increasing, arranged marriages are still the norm.

    103. persephone — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:25 pm  

      @ 99. How far removed from long ago when women were revered as being mother nature and their fertility being celebrated.

      Now we seem to have retrograded into being asexual (until marriage when suddenly you are urged to make babies) or empty vessels within which others pour forth their ambitions, religious values & a whole manner of ism’s.

    104. Ashik — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:32 pm  

      Rule of thumb:

      Regardless of race and culture whenever it comes to issues of relationships, marriage, sex, family etc society always expects women to sacrifice and be mindful of her responsibilities.

      Women are conditioned to accept that they have to be reconciliating; giving, sharing and sacrificing. This is illustrated in the types of games little girls play as children.

      Basically blokes have rights and women have responsibilities.

    105. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:32 pm  

      Ashik, I for one am not talking about the differences between arranged marriages and love marriages.

      And there are “PP members”? Are there cards that we should be carrying? If so, how come I don’t have a PP card?

    106. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:34 pm  

      Perse #103:

      “How far removed from long ago when women were revered as being mother nature and their fertility being celebrated.”

      Oh, it’s still there- just that this must be practiced in controlled settings, i.e. the institution of marital mating.

      That fertility is celebrated especially when a boy is conceived, despite the fact that the sex of the baby is determined by the deva, but whatever, you know?

    107. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:35 pm  

      Ashik #104, really dead-on. Totally agree. I especially like the bit “men have rights, women have responsibilities.”

    108. persephone — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:37 pm  

      @ 102 “Standing the test of time is a higher priority than momentary happiness in Asian marriage strategies”

      Momentary happiness? There are many examples of love also standing the test of time & not being a momentary thing.

      Marriage strategies - I thought you said in your post that most asian arranged marriages were voluntary? If there is a strategy involved that reeks of someone (other than the people marrying) being planned into it & tactically controlled to marry according to ano’s wishes. Its called control. If it was totally voluntary there would be no need of a strategy.

      The use of the word strategy also invokes the feeling that the aim & desired end result is to make a financial profit. In that you are right to use the word strategy. For, after all, in an inter racial marriage there is no dowry or gifts etc to be had.

    109. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:41 pm  

      Halima:

      “PS I am more likely to lead a campaign against child abuse in Asian communities than honour killings. To my mind, it is despicable how South Asian families ignore child abuse, and we fail children - the most innocent and weakest in society who cannot defend their own rights. On many, many occasions I have walked out of family and relatives gatherings because of the presence of pedophiles and informed everyone publicly they should protect their kiddies from such and such man - and this hasn’t made me popular, but there you go.”

      Hell yes, I am with you on that one. I wrote about that abuse when I was blogging at Pass the Roti, and tried to address the abuse of children that seems so accepted and tolerated in some circles of the diaspora.

      http://www.passtheroti.com/?p=289

    110. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 10:48 pm  

      Halima:

      “To my mind, it is despicable how South Asian families ignore child abuse, and we fail children”

      So interesting you say that, and I wrote what I did in my comment about child abuse being tolerated in in South Asian diaspora circles, when right now, I am reading “Couldn’t Keep It To Myself, and the Women of York Correctional Institution”, edited by Wally Lamb. It is a compilation of female prisoners’ stories, and in line with female prisoner statistics, 9/11 of these women were sexually abused as children. Most of these women are white, and some are black (no Desis, which is the point I am making). In their stories, they write about how they felt when their mothers, upon discovering sexual abuse that their children endured from their FATHERS or GRANDFATHERS, asked their daughters to not ever talk about it to anyone. They felt that there was no one to protect them, they felt hurt and angry that their mothers could not stand up for them or take more action.

      Looks like sexual abuse of children is shrouded in silence in many circles, not just the South Asian one, so I take back singling out the South Asian community when there are horrendous stories out there about little girls giving birth to their fathers’ child, being molested by their grandfathers or stepdads or male cousins, and mothers knowing but not saying or doing anything to draw attention to these vile acts because of the social and familial implications of doing so. Really breaks my heart to read how some people have to endure such things.

    111. persephone — on 9th December, 2008 at 11:10 pm  

      @ 104 I must then tell my parents that they brought me up/conditioned me in the wrong way.

      @ 102 Quite a few of the asians at my uni married their college boyfriend/girlfriend.

      Again, you seek to paint a picture that is rapidly outdated. Or perhaps you don’t get out much.

    112. persephone — on 9th December, 2008 at 11:18 pm  

      Desi

      @ 106 “That fertility is celebrated especially when a boy is conceived, despite the fact that the sex of the baby is determined by the deva, but whatever, you know?”

      I wonder how the ‘traditionalists’ would weigh up the birth of a girl by parents from the same race and that of the birth of a boy from an inter racial marriage?

      Thoughts anyone?

    113. Shamit — on 9th December, 2008 at 11:29 pm  

      “Basically blokes have rights and women have responsibilities.”

      As a bloke I find that statement way behind times — maybe some people are still stuck there but I think the world has moved on.

      This banal observation is a little pathetic but has a ring of truth in it. As Obama very eloquently put in his book:

      “No matter how liberated I liked to see myself as . . . the fact was that when children showed up, it was Michelle and not I who was expected to make the necessary adjustments,”

      “Sure, I helped, but it was always on my terms, on my schedule. Meanwhile, she was the one who had to put her career on hold.”

      I think that is the story of many modern families across cultures — does not make it right.

      And there is an inherent conflict I often see in my wife between her urges to be a mum who is always there for her son and her aspirations to be a successful professional. When she feels she is letting any part down — she does get angry at the unfairness of it all. Even though she sometimes craves just to be a mum. But as Obama said somehow even in our most liberated state we expect this.

      But that is far more complex than trying to fit it in a chauvinistic line of Blokes have rights and so forth. The wrong attitude - wrong time & place.

    114. Ravi Naik — on 9th December, 2008 at 11:30 pm  

      And yeah - who can define love. Will read your link with interest, I’m interested in these discussions, something which more masculine oriented blogs don’t talk about as much!
      I actually belive that non-wstern cultures have a stronger tradition of love - something that is less routed in the physical sense.

      Halima, love is not cultural, it is biological. Culture merely defines the norms in which love can be expressed. It is a powerful emotion that goes beyond liking someone, or feeling sexually attracted to.

    115. Ravi Naik — on 9th December, 2008 at 11:40 pm  

      Pretty good post, Shamit (#113). I totally agree.

    116. persephone — on 9th December, 2008 at 11:47 pm  

      Ravi @ 114 touches upon biology. Being attracted to someone before knowing them can be due to pheromes/subconscious recognises someone with whom you have a biological affinity, positive indicator of fertility. Perhaps all that love boils down to is the survival of the fittest.

    117. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 11:48 pm  

      Shamit,

      If I’m not mistaken, I think Ashik in #104 was making an observation on the assumptions that pervade society, he’s not issuing it as a directive.

      “As a bloke I find that statement way behind times — maybe some people are still stuck there but I think the world has moved on.”

      Maybe, but I have seen this underlying assumption and expectation that men have rights while women have responsibilities more often than not, even in supposedly liberal and progressive marriages/relationships- in the US, of people of every ethnic background, in Italy, and countless other places I’ve been to. That is why I agree with Ashik’s observation that this is usually the rule of the thumb- whether implicitly or explicitly.

    118. Desi Italiana — on 9th December, 2008 at 11:54 pm  

      Ravi:

      “Halima, love is not cultural, it is biological. Culture merely defines the norms in which love can be expressed.”

      I don’t agree. I think notions about love also differ, and those are conditioned by what we are taught, etc. So love is not entirely biological.

    119. Shamit — on 9th December, 2008 at 11:57 pm  

      Desi @ 117- no disagreements there. Good points.

    120. Ravi Naik — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:01 am  

      I think notions about love also differ, and those are conditioned by what we are taught, etc. So love is not entirely biological.

      Well, every human emotion/instinct/urges can be conditioned one way or the other by the environment. However, like sexual attraction, I believe love is universal, and cannot be taught.

    121. Desi Italiana — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:17 am  

      Ravi:

      “I believe love is entirely biological, like sexual attraction. It cannot be taught, though it can be conditioned like every other human emotion.”

      ENTIRELY?

      I don’t know. Are we confusing love with sex, are we conflating the two in the sentence you write about?

      And how to separate “nature” vs. “nurture”? Are we conditioned to fall in love a certain way, with certain kinds of people, or is that just “nature”? Like loving people who abuse you, because you yourself were raised in an abusive environment and that is all that is familiar to you? This is an extreme example, but you get what I mean.

    122. Desi Italiana — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:19 am  

      Ravi:
      “However, like sexual attraction, I believe love is universal, and cannot be taught.”

      Ok, fair enough. So love is a universal emotion like sexual attraction is a universal urge, but I think both manifest themselves according to what we’ve been taught and exposed to.

    123. rod — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:51 am  

      If it was all reduced to simply getting your end away we would all be a lot happier. The village idiot I may be but I’m in bliss compared to the thinkers out there.

    124. halima — on 10th December, 2008 at 1:20 am  

      “Perhaps all that love boils down to is the survival of the fittest.”

      Yes, lots of people looking at the science of love and what have you , will exactly this - esp in context of human being’s reproductive functions and women’s innate ability to look for a mate that would guarantee the best efforts to secure the gene pool.

      sorry - i believe in romance, but love and romanace isn’t just about chemistry - there’s the law of the jungle even in the types of -physical attraction we feel ..

      “However, like sexual attraction, I believe love is universal, and cannot be taught.”

      If this was true we’d have more relationships where people are dating, marrying people who are different from them - coz you can’t control who you feel for, but in the end it seems we ‘choose’ to be with people like ourselves - so again, there’s the survival of the fittest, or expressed an another way, socio-economic advantage…

    125. halima — on 10th December, 2008 at 1:30 am  

      Desi 101 …

      Sure, it’s not a SA phenomenon, but do you feel that where it happens elsewhere, though MUms cover it up when it’s happening - at least there is a public debate that it happens ? I don’t see the same level of discussion in SA circles about child abuse as i see about other matters such as honour killing, arranged marriage and so on. Sure the medial brings more debate on marriage and honour etc and less on child abuse - perhaps as you say, because child abuse is universal, sadly.

      And your observations in that book you are reading is spot on.#
      I have personally known in London several people , non-asian males serving in good jobs who have a history of pedophilia and the police also know, but no one does anything.

    126. halima — on 10th December, 2008 at 1:33 am  

      HI Desi , will check out your blog which I’ve been missing - cancels somewhat my above point, we don’t blog about it much!

    127. halima — on 10th December, 2008 at 1:43 am  

      ““I actually belive that non-wstern cultures have a stronger tradition of love - something that is less routed in the physical sense.”

      Could’ve been better phrased - but i think i had a more fundamental point about the way in non-western cultures love and relationships are approached differently - not to pass judgment how how strong/weak our/their love is! Will need to think more about this one and get back to persophene and desi …

      “In my mind we cannot be judgemental as to how love should start to be true love. Or that some cultures have any greater ability to love. Or am I being a romantic now?”

      No, you are very right. My point is probably that love isn’t just something that is universal or unrelated to ecnomics, that makes me less romantic perhaps!

      Shamit, Desi

      the rights and responsibilities falls directly into that SA thing we call izat - where woman can lose it or maintain or preserve it within communities, and men can defend it. It’s entirely rooted in gender, men defend it, and women lost it.

    128. halima — on 10th December, 2008 at 1:51 am  

      “And the comment also suggests that ‘true’ love cannot have a physical beginning which seems to suggest that only ‘emotional/cerebral’ love is the best starting place when in reality you can be physically attracted to someone before falling in love with them.

      In my mind we cannot be judgemental as to how love should start to be true love. Or that some cultures have any greater ability to love. Or am I being a romantic now?”

      I agree with you , but think there’s probably something about lust and love there somewhere when folks first meet and this being confused with love at first sight and what have you … But i am saying that love is sometimes overwhelmed by sex - and the two are not the same thing - though obviously there is an intimate connection between them.

    129. Desi Italiana — on 10th December, 2008 at 4:37 am  

      “But i am saying that love is sometimes overwhelmed by sex - and the two are not the same thing -”

      But sometimes inextricably linked.

    130. persephone — on 10th December, 2008 at 10:54 am  

      Halima @ 128 and Desi @ 129

      Indeed why do we have to separate the two?

      Looking at why it is separated in SA cultures:

      - to avoid what(culturally)is deemed to be too overly prurient in the hope that sexual feelings will be negated by not talking about sex etc

      - vast majority of asian parents do not like to recognise that their children are grown adults with natural desires

      - to condition the younger generation to the ethos of arranged marriages as these MAY not be based on physical attraction/love. I know people can fall in love & be attracted to each other in an arranged marriage but this is not seen as the starting point in such a marriage.

      - the separation is supported in the hope that you do not date or experiment before marriage as these would dampen your chances of making a ‘good marriage’ - arranged or otherwise. (the feminist in me also thinks this may be so that you are also not able to make comparisons…)

    131. Suzy — on 10th December, 2008 at 11:33 am  

      And my mates and I have been in many situations where a white guy will approach us because we look nice and exotic which is rather offensive to say the least. sometimes they don’t even know they are doing it. it’s always white men with a few anthropology letters to their name, or work in development agencies and NGOs and are on some crusade like honour killing or understanding ‘culture’ of some remote part of Asia that none of us have heard of

      Halima, I think you just cut quite close to the bone of a few of the white men who hang around and write on Pickled Politics! :-)

    132. halima — on 10th December, 2008 at 12:53 pm  

      persephene

      Why the two are separated? You mean love and lust - or dating and marriage?

      Guess in some cultures dating - or courtship as it used to be known in Europe or Jane Austin books is seen as making the girl impure? Impurity is associated with fewer marriage prospects - that’s why a lad can sleep with many girls ( still assuming a hetereosex argument here) and be called a player and a girl can’t do the same without being called a slut. Or some other name like that.

      In some South Asian cultures - and that being the big generalization it sounds, being a slut can also mean no guy wants to marry you - there’s something about the conquest of a girl in all cultures - and if she’s been the subject of ‘conquest’ she ain’t as worthy for another man to ‘conquest’ Maybe it all goes back to biologics and gender and men hunting and so on!

      Or maybe it’s going back to romance - most couples want to believe they have been the only object of adoration in other lovers’ eyes… who knows ! :-)
      “I think you just cut quite close to the bone of a few of the white men who hang around and write on Pickled Politics! :-)”

      Just saying it!

    133. Jai — on 10th December, 2008 at 2:24 pm  

      Persephone,

      Re: #130

      Another one to possibly add is the fact that Asian society still includes a lot of feudal attitudes — the whole thing about thinking clannishly terms of the (possibly extended/joint) family etc — so you have the whole thing about “marriage between 2 families, not just 2 individuals” and so on. This obviously results in more politics involved when it comes to exactly who your son/daughter gets hitched to, because of the subsequent “alliance” with the other party’s family, who you “have” to socialise with via the extended familial social network, etc etc.

      The last point probably has an extra twist in the diaspora (at least here in the UK, I can’t speak for the US etc), because of the tendency for Asians to frequently “stick together” for various reasons and especially when it comes to the older/parental generation, who are often even cliquier than the younger crowd when it comes to mixing with people from different backgrounds.

      It’s all quite Victorian and also (in the case of the aristocracy) probably quite medieval, not just in Europe but everywhere that “marital alliances” were involved.

      Of course, historically in many cases it was tacitly or explicitly expected that the bloke involved would marry a suitably respectable girl who’d fit in with the rest of the family and whose own immediate family (parents, siblings etc) would be a suitable match for the family she’d be marrying into, and if the guy wasn’t necessarily heaving with lust or love for her he’d bonk her enough to produce children but would satisfy his other urges via mistresses, courtesans, (in some cases, depending on the specific region of the world) concubines, etc etc, who would probably be a bit more overtly foxy and in many cases very learned, eloquent, etc. So you’d end up having a gharwali-baharwali situation.

      There would sometimes be a fair bit of hypocrisy involved, depending on the prevaling local culture, ie. whether the whole courtesan/concubine thing was formalised or if the dude was expected to keep all that “on the side” and all parties concerned were supposed to sweep everything under the carpet in order to keep up appearances. Either way, not very pleasant for wifey, of course.

      Like I said, this happened all over the world where marrying for love wasn’t necessarily feasible — not just in the subcontinent but also when it came to the European aristocracy (including England), Samurai in Japan, and so on.

      The problem in the modern day, if people are going to insist on manouvering kids into arranged marriages to spouses they don’t necessarily have any real passion for, is whether they are going to allow or accept dissatisfied younger folk having “bits on the side” as a pressure valve and in order to keep the peace. Not sure who would fill this role (unless you think lapdancers are the modern equivalent of courtesans, natch girls etc !), but in any case this whole mindset is a recipe for disaster in terms of triggering affairs with suitably willing partners, especially as mixing with members of the opposite sex is a hell of a lot easier than it used to be.

      And yes, I’ve also seen all that amongst some affluent white folk who originally got married for political/arranged-marriage-type reasons, and not necessarily because hubby or wifey was really the love of their life any genuine sense.

    134. Jai — on 10th December, 2008 at 2:26 pm  

      As for love being a Western thing as opposed to something relevant to the subcontinent…..well, apart from Bollywood films, think about Heer-Ranjha and legends involving other romantic couples from the region’s medieval period, the ghazals which Desi Italiana mentioned, along with Urdu/Persian “shairi”/poetry, or the incredible passion of many qawaalis (which use deeply-felt romantic love as an analogy).

      Another twist is that the cultural emphasis on marrying for reasons other than love makes people want to experience “real” love even more, and also increases the poignancy of the experience (as indicated by those those examples I’ve just listed).

      Incidentally, I would disagree with people who say that Western culture is more “physically” inclined than non-Western cultures in such matters; it’s just that the availability of contraception during the past 40+ years and women’s liberation in these areas has made it easier to people to jump into the physical side before marriage in this part of the world. Depending on general local cultural attitudes at the time, in many parts of the West (both Europe and America) there used to be plenty of emphasis on courting, “chasteness”, and other attitudes you would identify more with Raj Kapoor or Dilip Kumar in one of their old black & white movies ;)

    135. Jai — on 10th December, 2008 at 2:39 pm  

      Incidentally, I would disagree with people who say that Western culture is more “physically” inclined than non-Western cultures in such matters;

      Intrinsically more physically inclined…..” would have been a more accurate phrase; I would agree that — in the case of women — it’s more overtly sexualised than modern-day India, for example (although popular culture in the latter has been rapidly changing in recent years), but that doesn’t mean that all kinds of emotionally/sexually-charged stuff isn’t going on under the surface amongst Indians over there too, even those who (for whatever reason) aren’t necessarily in a position to act on their urges. In fact, in the case of the latter, I’d say the experience is probably heightened even further.

      Some of you may be aware that, for example, once upon a time amongst members of the older Indian generations, “X is in a hurry to get married” was frequently used as a sly euphemism to imply that X was feeling uncontrollably randy and therefore wanted to “get married quick” for obvious reasons…..

    136. Ravi Naik — on 10th December, 2008 at 3:52 pm  

      I agree with you , but think there’s probably something about lust and love there somewhere when folks first meet and this being confused with love at first sight and what have you … But i am saying that love is sometimes overwhelmed by sex - and the two are not the same thing - though obviously there is an intimate connection between them.

      The only difference I see between Western and Asian societies in this context is that Western societies tend to be more permissive in public displays of affection, and more liberal towards sexual freedoms of men and women. The rest… love, hate, jealousy, passion, anger are universal - you can watch an Iranian movie or a Chinese movie, and you will see them depicted in a number of ways. But the raw emotions are the same.

      The fact that Western societies are more liberal towards sex does not mean that people confuse what love is, or that more conservative societies have a monopoly on pure love.

      I see no difference in that respect. But I do believe that societies that restrict our sexual nature are not conduits to happiness. Consenting adults should be able to explore their love, urges and whatever they fancy without being persecuted or judged by cultural or moral prerogatives.

    137. halima — on 10th December, 2008 at 6:32 pm  

      Jai , Jai and Ravi

      It’s been interesting hearing your views - quite refreshing. Enjoyed reading your responses - and the posts above from Perse, Ashik, Desi and Sonia, too. ;)
      I’ve often wondered about societies where public affection isn’t allowed etc or arranged or socially arranged marriage leads to some frustration - and where the role of courtesans and other equivalents fit in. There is contemporary Japan for example where all sorts of traditions and conservatism exists - and spaces exist for men to experiment/enjoy/ female company - whatever the name is for it. Japan is also a country with the ’strangest’ sexual fetishes in mainstream society . I wonder why so?

      Though - this view seems to imply that only men will be frustrated - and they need more release and scope to be in passionate affairs than the women. Still valid point - but it’s mostly men that seem to need the extra mile, - perhaps this boils down to men being more physical creatures than women.

      Ravi, yes, take your point about public displays, but I am going to touch on very , very shaky grounds here, isn’t it also the case that there many cases where perhaps you might still make room for extra-curricular affairs because wives/girlfriends didn’t go every where.. If we follow the logic of nature urges and desires and whatever turns someone on - once we go down that line we can be as liberal as we like. I am not saying it’s wrong - but perhaps within context of monogamy and trust, it won’t work. But this is a general point about marriages - not about marriages in different cultures.

    138. persephone — on 10th December, 2008 at 11:22 pm  

      Halima “You mean love and lust - or dating and marriage?”

      I meant love and lust

      Jai @ 133 Yep and the landed gentry in the UK were very programmed in their arranged marriages to the extent that they would encourage alliances b/n those who owned a neighbouring estate so that upon marriage the land would become co-joined.

      I spose the most famous example of marrying for family lineage & having a virginal bride from the right sort of background must be our very own Prince Charles who ended up with a mistress to satisfy his real desires. And look where all that ended up.

    139. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:08 am  

      Very droll Suzy and Halima.

    140. sonia — on 11th December, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

      halima - your questions in no. 137 -again - it is interesting. you seem to ( no offence) take the subcontinent at face value? men visiting prositutes is more ‘visible’ and there is definitely a an assumption that women aren’t #physical# and also that women are faithful and not having affairs. i am afraid, that is again, ‘appearance’ and clearly not many women are going to go out of their way to change that thinking. (look at the brick lane fuss) a lot of men and women are looking elsewhere and that is the reality of life for so many people - where - as the prince charles example! they cannot find what they want within their ‘official’ relationships. why we should find it shocking that asian women in the subcontinent have affairs, i’m not sure (perhaps because we were all brought up to think that’s not true) but the men are not having sex with just their wives and prostitutes -there are other women - very often - married women - involved. Ironically, from what i have seen and heard, there is less ‘guilt’ involved because no one expects their husbands to be interested in them, and there is an unstated underlying assumption that of course you’re going to want a lover when you’ve got a fat old man for a husband, as long as you can get away with it of course. and if you think your husband is going to be faithful, older married women tease you for being ‘naive’ and optimistic. a lot of bitter bitchy women out there as well.

      its actually all quite unpleasant - the system is set up so that really everyone is aware of the marital ’sham’.

      personally i think it’s just asking for dishonesty.

      136 - ravi said it all i think, and said it best. on that note…i will bid adieu to this thread!

    141. halima — on 11th December, 2008 at 3:32 pm  

      “Though - this view seems to imply that only men will be frustrated - and they need more release and scope to be in passionate affairs than the women.”

      Sonia - i think i said here at 137 that women will be just as likely to be frustrated.

      As to taking the ’subcontinent’ at face value, but just again, I checked to see if i was talking about that part of the world at 137, i don’t follow your thinking - i’ve talked about societies and different cultures, not the ’subcontinent’ , a term i don’t use much because of the strange Indian centric leaning that it has. I think i’ve talked about Japanese cultures in the particular post you’re referring to - and there i was interested in Japanese fetish around older men dating young schools girls which is a mainstream thing in japan - so blasts anything we know /discuss about peodephilia - and as far as i know this particular fetish to like school girls is mostly a male fetish. Could be wider , but i suppose i might have to research that one before giving an opinion or taking this at face value - the numbers of older Japanese ladies into school girls and school boys. . ;)

    142. halima — on 11th December, 2008 at 3:52 pm  

      “Very droll Suzy and Halima.”

      Rumbold, you seem a little bit too innocent to be capable of aping the anthropolgists i refer to! That’s a compliment . ;)

    143. Rumbold — on 11th December, 2008 at 4:48 pm  

      Halima:

      Heh. Oh good. Anyway, I have found a wonderful lady, so have no need for ‘chat-up’ lines.

    144. Ravi Naik — on 11th December, 2008 at 10:58 pm  

      Ravi, yes, take your point about public displays, but I am going to touch on very , very shaky grounds here, isn’t it also the case that there many cases where perhaps you might still make room for extra-curricular affairs because wives/girlfriends didn’t go every where.. If we follow the logic of nature urges and desires and whatever turns someone on - once we go down that line we can be as liberal as we like.

      Halima, I said that “Consenting adults should be able to explore their love, urges and whatever they fancy without being persecuted or judged by cultural or moral prerogatives..

      If you get married and you cheat on your wife, that’s her you should answer for. It should not be the state or a religious body to punish you for “adultery”. Ditto for sodomy, and whatnot. Obviously there is always temptation in a marriage, it does not mean you need or even want to act on your urges. And then there are open marriages, swingers, etc. which are forms of non-monogamous marriages.

    145. Roger — on 12th December, 2008 at 1:12 am  

      “I spose the most famous example of marrying for family lineage & having a virginal bride from the right sort of background must be our very own Prince Charles who ended up with a mistress to satisfy his real desires.”
      No, Prince Charles started off with a mistress. He acquired a wife to satisfy his obligations. Many of his predecessors did the same. If you believe in Prince Charles’s divinely-granted right to be king- and I think Prince Charles must to honestly accept his position- then you will accept the obligation to marry a virginal bride from the right sort of background.

    146. Desi Italiana — on 12th December, 2008 at 9:47 am  

      Halima:

      “Ravi, yes, take your point about public displays, but I am going to touch on very but I am going to touch on very , very shaky grounds here, isn’t it also the case that there many cases where perhaps you might still make room for extra-curricular affairs because wives/girlfriends didn’t go every where.”

      This is necessarily not true. I have heard about a lot of stories of Desi people having affairs. Sure, they don’t flaunt it, and it’s not something that is brought up often in conversation, but this doesn’t mean that there have been LOTS of extra-marital affairs. Sex and infidelity exist and occur everywhere, but what differs is how people hide it due to social stigmas, and societal views on such behavior.

    147. Desi Italiana — on 12th December, 2008 at 9:52 am  

      Someone very dear to me in Kathmandu suggested the When Harry Met Sally-rip off Bollywood movie Hum Tum as a manual for relationships.

      See, love over physical urges. That is Bollywood for you…oops, I mean Hollywood ;)

    148. persephone — on 12th December, 2008 at 11:09 am  

      @ 145 “No, Prince Charles started off with a mistress. He acquired a wife to satisfy his obligations. Many of his predecessors did the same”

      But where he differed from his predecessors was that he also married his mistress. From what my rusty memory on history can recall I don’t believe any of his predecessors (when in reign) did marry their mistresses. The only one who did (ie Edward & Wallis Simpson) had to stand down as king.

      And why did Charles do it? Because times have changed. He obviously got tired of filling his obligations & felt he had a right, as a private individual, to fulfill his real desires. So his obligation as a yet putative king only existed thus far. His private inclination superceded the collective/royal obligation.

      “If you believe in Prince Charles’s divinely-granted right to be king - and I think Prince Charles must to honestly accept his position”

      Following the logic through, the question is can Charles still honestly accept his position now? If we are to go by precedent then he too must decline the crown & follow in his uncle Edward’s footsteps.

      Apologies if this is now is going off-post

    149. persephone — on 12th December, 2008 at 11:28 am  

      Getting back more closely to topic, in The Guardian a few days ago there was a small article about how you choose your partner based on what your opposite sexed parent looks like. Studies showed we picked partners with the same hair/eye colour/same smell - especially if emotionally close to that opposite sexed parent. This included adopted girls being attracted to guys like their adopted father if they had been close to him.

      It also mentioned a study on mixed race marriages - 67% of people with mixed race parents had a partner of the same ethnicity as their opposite sexed parent. THis pattern extended to second marriages.

    150. sonia — on 12th December, 2008 at 12:50 pm  

      yes halima, i know you said both men and women were frustrated, but when you said this

      “Still valid point - but it’s mostly men that seem to need the extra mile, - perhaps this boils down to men being more physical creatures than women.”

      it suggests [to me] that [you think] more men are acting on their frustrations than women.”

      hence the points i made in my post. to me it sounded like you were repeating the commonly held stereotype that men are more physical creatures.

      as far as i can see, it has been more socially acceptable for men to be physical, without their ‘honour/sanctity/respectability’ being brought into question.

      which is a very big driver for social relations in the indian subcontinent (and also in victorian england) - men could have affairs much more openly, go to prostitutes etc. than women who had to do all their extra-marital activity in a much more concealed fashjion. hence again that’s why i mentioned ‘taking the indian subcontinent at face value’ - i meant that in ou- men can that’s why i commented on it. that was in our society, it is far more concealed -the matter of female extra-marital activity. that’s why i commented on it. that was my thinking…i.e. i din’t think its about whether men are more physical creatures or not, its about the social acceptability of the environment. it doesn’t really matter where the environment is, whether ‘india’ or ‘here’ there is still a widespread stereotype that men are more ‘physical’ than women. ( and i’m not sure where you’re going with the fetish thing..it doesn’t really matter to me ‘what kind of sexual activity’ we’re talking about - i’m not talking about that - i’m talking very generally about stereotypes held universally that men are more interested in sex than women.

    151. sonia — on 12th December, 2008 at 12:54 pm  

      maybe the reason i feel quite strongly about it is these kinds of stereotypes have always been used to keep women down into a ‘nurturing’ role and repressing and feeling guilty about our sexuality

    152. sonia — on 12th December, 2008 at 12:56 pm  

      144 - ravi
      “If you get married and you cheat on your wife, that’s her you should answer for. It should not be the state or a religious body to punish you for “adultery”.

      spot on.

    153. Jai — on 12th December, 2008 at 12:57 pm  

      No, Prince Charles started off with a mistress. He acquired a wife to satisfy his obligations. Many of his predecessors did the same. If you believe in Prince Charles’s divinely-granted right to be king- and I think Prince Charles must to honestly accept his position- then you will accept the obligation to marry a virginal bride from the right sort of background.

      Having girlfriends your parents may or may not approve of and then marrying a “nice girl” from “the right sort of background” as per your family obligations is actually a very Asian thing to do. Not very nice for all the young women involved, of course, and it’s definitely less common these days amongst British Indians (as usual, I can’t speak for the Pakistanis etc) as many parents are a lot more liberal than they used to be, but this sort of thing does happen.

      Ultimately I guess it depends on how “homely”/conservative etc the guy’s mother is and how willing she is to accept some foxy minxy glamorous sex-kitten into the family ;) Some aunties are more pragmatic and worldly than others.

      Not that all this doesn’t also happen amongst non-Asians (including white people) too — we’ve all heard white people use the term “a girl you can take home to your mother”, for example — but perhaps some of the expectations and stereotypes are a bit stricter amongst some (not all) desi families.

    154. Jai — on 12th December, 2008 at 12:58 pm  

      Studies showed we picked partners with the same hair/eye colour/same smell - especially if emotionally close to that opposite sexed parent.

      Hmmm…..good point, but the twist for Indians is the fact that the majority (obviously not all) of Indians have black hair and dark brown eyes. Despite all those contact-lensed & dyed-haired actresses you see on certain saas-bahu serials…..So your chances of ending up with a partner who looks like your opposite-sex parent is obviously going to be a bit higher than, for example, it would be for many Europeans. At least in the case of people living within the subcontinent or Indians overseas who marry other Indians.

      If you’re talking specifically about “mixed marriages”, then it would depend on whether it’s more common for desi guys to hook up with brunettes or mediterranean types rather than some nordic blonde Heidi Klum type.

      Incidentally, as someone who probably watches more Bollywood films than is healthy, I’ve noticed that when depicting interracial relationships desi film-makers seem to deliberately cast conspicuously blonde white actresses far more frequently than the dark brunette type (eg. “Out of Control”, “Kisna”, “Rang de Basanti”, “Namastey London”, “Marigold”). Interesting. In fact, the only brunette actress I can recall is that Australian babe with Javed Jaffrey in “Salaam Namaste”.

      Obviously all this is from a male-centric perspective, so I’ll let the ladies out there give the corresponding female point of view.

    155. persephone — on 12th December, 2008 at 2:00 pm  

      @ 154 the link was more specific than just colour of eyes but also found the distance b/n features such as eyes, nose etc matched the opposite sex parent.

    156. persephone — on 12th December, 2008 at 2:05 pm  

      ” when depicting interracial relationships desi film-makers seem to deliberately cast conspicuously blonde white actresses far more frequently than the dark brunette type”

      Are there any bollywood films where the inter racial relationship explored is b/n an asian actress and white blonde man?

      As to other stereotyping in Bolly films I always laugh at the roles where a bad woman is always depicted as very western & commonly very assertive, with short hair, wearing western clothes (normally sleeveless tops & skirts) smoking & educated. As if these things & being ‘westernised’ is bad in itself - which does not help with the acceptance of inter racial relationships.

    157. sonia — on 12th December, 2008 at 2:51 pm  

      well hollywood (and therefore bollywood) generally do favour blondes don’t they. after all blondes are supposed to have more fun. which is why so many women dye their hair blonde!

    158. Jai — on 12th December, 2008 at 2:59 pm  

      Are there any bollywood films where the inter racial relationship explored is b/n an asian actress and white blonde man?

      Not as far as I know. Gurinder Chadha’s movies seem to have cornered the market on that sort of thing ;)

      As to other stereotyping in Bolly films I always laugh at the roles where a bad woman is always depicted as very western & commonly very assertive, with short hair, wearing western clothes (normally sleeveless tops & skirts) smoking & educated. As if these things & being ‘westernised’ is bad in itself

      These days that’s actually much less common in Bollywood films than it used to be, although unfortunately it’s still prevalent in many Indian soaps, especially the saas-bahu variety a la Ekta Kapoor.

    159. Jai — on 12th December, 2008 at 3:10 pm  

      Sonia,

      Re: #157

      That was definitely true not so long ago but I’m not sure if that’s still the case. Otherwise Angelina Jolie wouldn’t be regarded as the most smoking hot woman in the known universe, for example.

      Also, think about the popularity of Salma Hayek, Anne Hathaway, J-Lo etc etc.

      Bollywood probably picks blonde actresses rather than brunettes in order to emphasise the supposed racial difference between the desi hero and the ferengi (no not the Star Trek kind) gori heroine. Having some dark brunette probably wouldn’t make the point so effectively, especially when you have Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor, Diya Mirza etc, along with various actresses in all those soaps.

    160. sonia — on 12th December, 2008 at 3:33 pm  

      yep jai its changing in hollywood, definitely, let’s not forget the gorgeous catherine zeta-jones! yes when one has beauty and charisma, one doesn’t need anything else. hollywood starlets know this. but more ordinary women still are dying their blonde..why who knows?!

      yeah i agree bollywood probably want someone who sticks out - given the skin colour of the indian heroines is practically white anyway (compared to real ‘brown’ people on the streets) - they’d have to get a blonde in wouldn’t they..otherwise a brunette would just look..indian or something.

    161. Ravi Naik — on 12th December, 2008 at 3:47 pm  

      Bollywood probably picks blonde actresses rather than brunettes in order to emphasise the supposed racial difference between the desi hero and the ferengi (no not the Star Trek kind) gori heroine.

      Good for Bollywood to be able to attract class-C blonde women in predictable cheesy movies. I guess once the audiences become fed up with blondes, we might see African women as heroines. I find them hot, so I can imagine a lot of Indians would do as well, instead of the same stereotyped faces in movies. But you are right, Jai, on that point. A lot of Bollywood actors and actresses could pass as Southern Europeans.

      but more ordinary women still are dying their blonde..why who knows?!

      In Finland and Germany, women paint their hair brown or black - as it is seen to be more attractive… or shall I say exotic?

    162. halima — on 12th December, 2008 at 5:02 pm  

      “maybe the reason i feel quite strongly about it is these kinds of stereotypes have always been used to keep women down into a ‘nurturing’ role and repressing and feeling guilty about our sexuality”

      Perhaps, Sonia, quite a lot of us feel strongly about stereotypes, both on the right and the left.

      Having said this, I don’t think it’s a stereotype to suggest men might be more physcial - without wanting to take things down to basics - men will always feel the need to masturbate, I am not sure it’s the same for women, though many women will. I hear that women find it less easy to have one night stands because they’re not as likely to seperate sex and intimacy - this is what i meant when i said men are more likely to be physical. Is this controversial? Shouldn’t be.

      I think you’re taking this a little too seriously, but if we want to talk stereotypes , isn’t most of this thread, including, yours, mostly assuming sexuality is to do with straight couples - I’ve tried to qualify this heterosexual world view here without wanting to be boring , but there you go.

    163. halima — on 12th December, 2008 at 5:15 pm  

      PS .. Let’s talk about the UK. More men are likely to go to see sex workers than women - and men who have sex with men are also likely to go to sex workers. I don’t know where lesbians stand on sex workers.

      I am assuming men are therefore more physcial based on this - the fact that they can seperate the sex from the intimacy. I could be wrong here - but this will reflect my naivity in sexual relations and encounters- not a tendency to stereotype! :-)

    164. halima — on 12th December, 2008 at 5:29 pm  

      Desi

      I don’t understand what we are disagreeing with here:

      “Ravi, yes, take your point about public displays, but I am going to touch on very but I am going to touch on very , very shaky grounds here, isn’t it also the case that there many cases where perhaps you might still make room for extra-curricular affairs because wives/girlfriends didn’t go every where.””

      I am not suggesting affairs don’t happen every where…

      I am saying … and i just have to be blunt here now so strike me down for being so explicit …

      Men and women sometimes (because we live in a conventional world most of the time) will be shy to demand things within a relationship becuase they will try and maintain sexual roles - and when they want something more - and are too shy or repressed to ask for it - they may look elsewhere. This to a great extent explains why indivuduals go to sex workers in many societies, or plain and simple have an afffair.

      This isn’t about South Asian couples per se. It’s about sex, relationships. The only distinction with South Asian cultures is this - cox we expect South Asian girls to be ‘pure’ , we tend to be more shy asking them to perform sexual fantasies - because the girl in question if she performs or conforms might be ‘judged’ in some way. I know, many straight Asian men who will openly admit to having sex transaction because they haven’t demanded the same within their relationships. Beyond this i don’t want to go into this too much - it’s shaky grounds for me, and i am not a women of the world as such - no pressure to conform to anyone’s standards, here but just haven’t got the bredth of experience :-)

    165. halima — on 12th December, 2008 at 5:42 pm  

      Desi

      “Someone very dear to me in Kathmandu suggested the When Harry Met Sally-rip off Bollywood movie Hum Tum as a manual for relationships.”

      I can publicly own up to it - and i love Hum Tum much more than Harry Met Sally! :-)
      and I still vote for love (however we define it) over physical urges - though would like to think the two can together for the longest period.



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