Is Marriage A Patriarchal Society?

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Although marriage may have different meanings according to different cultures, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.” Spouses are partners that grow old together, sharing their lives and responsibilities. The choice of a partner, however, also depends on the culture; it can be influenced by social norms, parental approval, or individual desire. In patriarchal societies such as the ones depicted in “Giribala” and “Wedding at the Cross,” fathers are responsible to determine if a partner is suitable for their daughters. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Mahasweta Devi present in their respective works two strong, hardworking female characters faced with challenging circumstances that have to learn how to make their own choices and find their voices in a world dominated by men. A patriarchal society is one in which men dominate every aspect of life. In such societies, men make all decisions; they hold all the power. And thus facilitates women’s oppression. In patriarchal societies, women are reduced to nothing but property, to be sold and given. They are obedient and subservient, serving at the pleasure of men. This patriarchal dominance is clearly demonstrated in “Giribala” when Aulchand, guilty of selling his daughter to prostitution, tells Giribala, “I’ve shown what good it can be even if we got more daughters. So much money for a
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