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ART & LEISURE: Is Arranged Marriage Still a Family Tradition?
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Is Arranged Marriage Still a Family Tradition?

By Rose Salas
BT 201807 Art 01     婚姻一直是人类发展和社会生活中的一项大事。它不仅关乎每个人的个人幸福和人生选择,更是整个社会的基石。在过去的旧社会中,男性主导着整个社会的话语权,女性基本没有自主选择的权利。在嫁人之后,女性会成为自己丈夫家庭的一份子,甚至被视为财产。随着社会的进步和演化,婚姻也受到法律的保障。我国建国后对于婚姻法的重大修改发生于2001年,修订后的婚姻法明确规定禁止“包二奶”等行为,并且增加了无效婚姻的规定。因胁迫结婚的,可以向婚姻登记机关或人民法院请求撤销婚姻。离婚条件同时也放宽了很多:实施家庭暴力或以其他行为虐待家庭成员、或遗弃家庭成员的,赌博或分居的也都被纳入了准予离婚的范畴。





BT 201807 Art 02he culture of marriage is still influential in this contemporary era. In 2001, the Marriage Law was amended, eradicating arranged marriages, and hence, granting freedom to the individual to have liberty in choosing his spouse.

Way back in the 1930s, parents were more authoritative when it came to marriage. Stories of arranged marriages were not regarded as being queer. Customarily, a man married a woman that was younger to him and was less educated. There was also a tradition wherein the groom gave dowry to the bride’s family in exchange for his spouse. By way of folklore, the father of the woman chose the groom for her. In 1950s, these traditional practices were abolished. For example, multiple marriage and child marriage were prohibited. Selling one’s son or daughter for marriage was no longer allowed and women were granted equality. They now enjoy equal status at home.

BT 201807 Art 03In the modern set-up, marriage is becoming a part of a global trend. As a matter of fact, couples or single professionals delay their marriage until they become successful in their careers. Nowadays, young women are not intimidated by social pressures. They can now put “demands” to their fiancé, such as having home before getting married - unlike before when men used to make all the demands and were regarded as being the only voice of one’s family. Due to this change, the parents are becoming fearful and anxious about their son or daughter not being married at the right age. They think that their family lineage will not be preserved anymore. They are worried that when they are gone, no one will take care of their “single” children.

These parents’ worries are becoming a concern even for the government. Since the percentage of marriage is declining yearly, the government removed the 7-day Honeymoon leave in the year 2016! Parents are persuading their children to give importance to marriage. When a festival calls for a reunion, they convince their unmarried son to meet a friend’s daughter and vicwe versa. They would entice them to marry that person by ensuring that they both go on a blind date or a casual date! If a close friend has an unmarried daughter, both sets of parents will try to create a “bridge” between their son and daughter and wish that they would soon end up in marriage. These match-making schemes are of course without consent of their children.

For those born in 1980-1990, now called as “millennials”- they choose to take a diverse path when it comes to settling down in life. They want to reach the peak of their careers. They meet foreigners and get influenced by their cultures. For example, in Shenzhen, more couples are adopting a “live-in” situation, where they copy Western ideas, believing that one effective way of getting to know more of their partner is by living with them for a while before getting into marriage. The idea being portrayed in western movies that a modern lifestyle is one where you can travel and live conveniently, can influence one’s mind that it can only be achieved when you are marriage-free.

BT 201807 Art 04So, is arranged marriage still a family tradition? I guess the answer is lucid. Arranged marriage is a thing of the past. Changes brought about by new technologies and working in a diverse community have rendered traditional perspectives only a page in a book one can look back on. Why? Because women are now more empowered and men are now forced to be better and successful for them to acquire their ideal wives. Nevertheless, social changes are bound to happen. As the saying goes… life is always a constant change!

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