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Thread: The Immorality of Marrying Little Girls to Old Men

  1. #1
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    The Immorality of Marrying Little Girls to Old Men

    Unfortunately, we feminists are slapped in the face with the "cultural prerogatives" argument. Sorry, boys, that argument doesn't fly.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/magazine/09BRI.html

    July 9, 2006
    The Bride Price
    Photographs by STEPHANIE SINCLAIR
    Text by BARRY BEARAK
    In many societies, the term "child bride" calls to mind impetuous sweethearts, a ladder cautiously positioned beneath a bedroom window, a silent kiss in the moonlight and a young couple making an anxious getaway to a justice of the peace. But this is not a ready image the world over. In Afghanistan, a child bride is very often just that: a child, even a preteen, her innocence betrothed to someone older, even much, much older.

    Rather than a willing union between a man and woman, marriage is frequently a transaction among families, and the younger the bride, the higher the price she may fetch. Girls are valuable workers in a land where survival is scratched from the grudging soil of a half-acre parcel. In her parents' home, a girl can till fields, tend livestock and cook meals. In her husband's home, she is more useful yet. She can have sex and bear children.

    Afghanistan is not alone in this predilection toward early wedlock. Globally, the number of child brides is hard to tabulate; they live mostly in places where births, deaths and the human milestones in between go unrecorded. But there are estimates. About 1 in 7 girls in the developing world (excluding China) gets married before her 15th birthday, according to analyses done by the Population Council, an international research group.

    In the huge Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, the proportion is 36 percent; in Bangladesh, 37 percent; in northwest Nigeria, 48 percent; in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, 50 percent. Tens of millions of girls are having babies before their bodies are mature enough, increasing the likelihood of death from hemorrhaging, obstructed labor and other complications.

    Stephanie Sinclair's striking photographs of child brides in Afghanistan remind me of my own travels over remote landscapes during the time of the Taliban, when recurring years of drought had parched the final resources from millions of the destitute. Fathers then were especially keen to convert their daughters into brides. It was a way to deliver the girl from hunger — and a way to at least temporarily ward off famine for the rest of the family. Young boys were sold into bondage with the same painful practicality. Rarely have I seen anything more heartbreaking than the tears of a relinquished child.

    The drought has since passed, but the poverty remains, as does the widespread custom of early marriage. Some Afghans readily use their daughters to settle debts and assuage disputes. Polygamy is practiced. A man named Mohammed Fazal, 45, told Sinclair that village elders had urged him to take his second wife, 13-year-old Majabin, in lieu of money owed him by the girl's father. The two men had been gambling at cards while also ingesting opium and hashish.

    But the practice of early marriage stems as much from entrenched culture as from financial need. Bridal virginity is a matter of honor. Afghan men want to marry virgins, and parents prefer to yield their daughters before misbehavior or abduction has brought the family shame and made any wedding impossible.

    Unfortunately, there are no reliable data about the age of Afghans at marriage. Husbands are not ordinarily old enough to be their wives' fathers or grandfathers, but such February-September couples as those pictured here are hardly rare either. In such marriages, the man is likely to view the age difference as a fair bargain, his years of experience in exchange for her years of fecundity. At the same time, the girl's wishes are customarily disregarded. Her marriage will end her opportunities for schooling and independent work.

    On the day she witnessed the engagement party of 11-year-old Ghulam Haider to 40-year-old Faiz Mohammed, Sinclair discreetly took the girl aside. "What are you feeling today?" the photographer asked. "Nothing," the bewildered girl answered. "I do not know this man. What am I supposed to feel?"
    Brother, you can believe in stones as long as you do not hurl them at me. Wafa Sultan

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    War is sweet to those who have not tasted it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach. – Pindar

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simone
    Unfortunately, we feminists are slapped in the face with the "cultural prerogatives" argument. Sorry, boys, that argument doesn't fly.
    This is a feminist argument? Surely you realize you're preaching to the choir among conservatives on this one. Given feminism's tendency toward laxing social standards today, I'd say there's more cause for concern about relaxing age-of-consent standards with social progressives than anyone else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jyoshu
    This is a feminist argument? Surely you realize you're preaching to the choir among conservatives on this one. Given feminism's tendency toward laxing social standards today, I'd say there's more cause for concern about relaxing age-of-consent standards with social progressives than anyone else.
    Oh yeah.
    Cause everyone knows that female equality and pedophilia are just sooooo close on the political spectrum...
    If we fight for female equality, then allowing old men to marry female kids has to be next in line...
    <end sarcasm>

    Or I know. If we make standards less lax, then obviously shooting jay-walkers as a punishment must be next in line...
    < okay. REALLY ending sarcasm this time >



    This is why a lot of these "domino theory" arguments just come off as unbelievable...
    They're meaningless, made on foundationless assumptions, and provide no proof for any step of the claim...
    "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution.
    You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyoshu
    This is a feminist argument? Surely you realize you're preaching to the choir among conservatives on this one. Given feminism's tendency toward laxing social standards today, I'd say there's more cause for concern about relaxing age-of-consent standards with social progressives than anyone else.
    Social progressives, historically, are the folks who got kids out of sweat shops and into schools.

    Social progressives are the folks who pulled kids away from 12 hour work days or longer starting as young as age 5 or 6. Take a look at the real world. Where are kids still working 12-hour days, not going to school? Your repressive, patriarchal, enormously religious cultures is where.

    Feminists are the social progressives who educated the American public on the issue of rape--which education led to the condemnation of the pedophilia widely practiced by those in the priesthood, including those who serve as pastors in the Protestant community.

    Feminists are the social progressives who brought the Roman Catholic laity into a state of awareness where they challenged the godlike status of Roman Catholic priests.

    So, if we are where we, in rather a more advanced state of civilization than we were some 30, 50, or so years ago, a century ago, it is largely due to the work of social progressives. Never forget that.
    Brother, you can believe in stones as long as you do not hurl them at me. Wafa Sultan

    “War is an American way to teach geography,” British soldier

    War is sweet to those who have not tasted it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach. – Pindar

  5. #5
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    The reason children no longer have to work in sweatshops here is because capital investment in the western world reached sufficient levels that people could make more money with their brains than with their backs, and schooling was therefore a worthwhile investment rather than a waste of 10 years. You'll note that the "sweat shops" you condemn, like the stereotypical "coal mines" or "railway worker" occupations of the past no longer exist, since increased capital investment, mass production and machination made intensive personal labour of this nature wasteful.

    Applying the ideal of no-child labour in reality, that's to say criminalising youth employment where it is the norm, where capital investment has not yet reached industrial levels, results only in poverty, death and black market employment (eg child prostitution, scavenging through garbage).

    You should also know that child labor prohibition originated in the same place that racial labor prohibition and sexist labor prohibition did, in the unions where middle aged white men sought to protect their privileged position of being the only ones allowed to have certain jobs.

    So as much as I appreciate social freedoms, there's no need to mix it with ignorant economic and historical claims. And it's ironic that you'll laud with one hand "freeing" women from being prohibited from work, and then with the other cheer on "freeing" children from being permitted to work. Maybe in 100 years, children will be permitted to work and women prohibited, and the social progressives of that era can boast about their superior workplace arrangements.

    Jyoshu is also correct that "cultural perogatives" is a social progressive argument, you are in fact siding with the (neo)conservatives on this one.
    He or she who supports a State organized in a military way – whether directly or indirectly – participates in sin. Each man takes part in the sin by contributing to the maintenance of the State by paying taxes.

    ~ Gandhi

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by simone
    Social progressives, historically, are the folks who got kids out of sweat shops and into schools.

    Social progressives are the folks who pulled kids away from 12 hour work days or longer starting as young as age 5 or 6. Take a look at the real world. Where are kids still working 12-hour days, not going to school? Your repressive, patriarchal, enormously religious cultures is where.

    Feminists are the social progressives who educated the American public on the issue of rape--which education led to the condemnation of the pedophilia widely practiced by those in the priesthood, including those who serve as pastors in the Protestant community.

    Feminists are the social progressives who brought the Roman Catholic laity into a state of awareness where they challenged the godlike status of Roman Catholic priests.

    So, if we are where we, in rather a more advanced state of civilization than we were some 30, 50, or so years ago, a century ago, it is largely due to the work of social progressives. Never forget that.
    Also feminists are the ones who have made planned parenthood a household name. social progressives? So was Lincoln, but he never burneda jock strap in protest rallies. And feminism in my opinion, is just another way of screaming out to the world that you are part of a group, and not an individual. If you truely wanted to be independent, you would make your own statements, not go to hate men rallies. Godlike status of Roman presits huh? Thats a new one on me lol. Of course what do I know? Im a man.

  7. #7
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    "Hate-Men" rallies? Sorry, I've never been to one.

    But, one wonders if you haven't been to a "hate-women" rally or two or more.
    Brother, you can believe in stones as long as you do not hurl them at me. Wafa Sultan

    “War is an American way to teach geography,” British soldier

    War is sweet to those who have not tasted it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach. – Pindar

  8. #8
    Ghost Rider Guest
    All in favor of pedophile crucifictions becoming common place, signify your support by stabbing a catholic priest.

  9. #9
    Archangel Guest
    And speaking of the unnatural side effects from being from a repressive Society. check this out as another aspect of life under the authority of Radical Islam. And interestingly enough this story too takes place in Afghanistan.

    http://www.sodomylaws.org/world/afgh.../afnews009.htm

  10. #10
    antonia Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by simone View Post
    Unfortunately, we feminists are slapped in the face with the "cultural prerogatives" argument.
    When our government wanted to overthrow the Taliban, it was called tyranny against women.

    http://usinfo.state.gov/sa/Archive/2...b/20-6424.html

    Now that they're out, it's a cultural prerogative.

  11. #11
    antonia Guest
    Here is another article on recent conditions for women in Afghanistan.

    http://www.thestar.com/living/article/300711

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost Rider View Post
    All in favor of pedophile crucifictions becoming common place, signify your support by stabbing a catholic priest.
    Not all priests are wicked.
    What you say can and will be used against you.
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  13. #13
    Ghost Rider Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by jim's trucking View Post
    Not all priests are wicked.
    Well then find the closest one that is wicked and stab him instead of your local one.

  14. #14
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    These kind of 'cultural' traditions (child brides) and the repression of women in general is proof that 'cultural relativism' is an invalid position and an untenable belief. To say that all cultures are equal and equally correct but simply different is bunk and these kind of practices prove it
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    If I may play devil's advocate for a moment, how does your moral revulsion at a particular practise in another culture prove anything? If one takes the relativist view then all it proves is that one of the features of your culture is revulsion at this practise. If one actually considers the view of, say, a Somali grandmother who is determined to have her granddaughters circumcised, do you not think she would find the practise of leaving girls uncircumcised as lacivious, amoral and disgusting?

    [no, I don't think FGM is acceptable, but taking an overly simplistic view does no-one any good]

    It's also worth remembering that the idea of adulthood at 16 or 18, and of people arranging their own marriage rather than it being done for them, is a pretty recent development even in western society. The age of consent laws were introduced to combat child prostitution, and for a lot of history it was not uncommon for children as young as 14 (or younger in noble households) to marry.
    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist” - Helder Camara
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