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Polyandry in Tibet
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Dec 16th, 2019

Polyandry in Tibet

The main purpose of this article is to inform the readers and engage in fraternal polyandry in Tibet. In Tibet. Fraternal polyandry is commonly practiced, meaning that two or more brothers share one wife.

However, the people of Tibet are not limited to polyandry; monogamy and polygyny are also forms of marriage that are utilized in this culture. There are a few rules and regulations in terms of polyandry to keep the marriages running smoothly.

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Besides two or more brothers sharing one wife, another example of a rule would be that there is also the mutual respect from all of the children; no matter which brother is your father, everyone acts as a father figure. Polyandry is a completely normal practice in Tibet and doesn’t hold the same taboos as it does in other countries around the world. This age-old practice is used not only to for economic development and growth, but to also improve the quality of life and it causes less need for responsibility on just one husband.

In the article, Melvyn Goldstein goes into how polyandry functions in Tibet, why it is used, and debunking some myths about the practice itself. It begins with three brothers, Dorje is the youngest, and his eldest brothers are Pema and Sonam. They are all jointly married to the 23 year old who plays one of the most important roles in the marriage system.

Not only will she be the one who bears the children, but it is also partially the bride’s responsibility to keep a balanced sexual relationship with all of her husbands. Polyandry is the rarest form of marriage in the world so it’s not uncommon that someone from another part of the world would think that it is odd or unnatural. If we put our etic perspective past us and decide to look within, we see that while polyandry might not be so fully functional or accepted in our society, it is highly useful for the people of Tibet.

From the anthropological perspective, we should be more than interested in answering the question of why fraternal polyandry is one of the basic marriage forms in Tibet. Yes, economic reasons are relevant, but beyond solely economic factors there is a whole set of social and cultural considerations at hand, these should be taken into account when investigating the facets of marriage principles in Tibet. Certainly, Goldstein attempts to be impartial in his research, and along with the benefits and rationalization for fraternal polyandry in Tibet, he also provides a list of problems that come from the competition and conflicts between brothers.

The problem is that the author of the article does not back up his claims with either previous studies or the results of other practical researches. Additionally, Goldstein (1987) asserts that the roots of fraternal polyandry are purely economic; but what about social stratification and its impact on marriages? To review fraternal polyandry from sociobiological and social perspectives may help create a more holistic anthropological picture of Tibetans and explore the impact.

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