After a yawn in my Sociology class, I’ve suggested a topic which was very controversial to be written as our research paper in my group. With my three other gorgeous friends, I was able to come up with a research paper titled, “Uncharted Hearts: Arranged Marriages’ Presence in the Philippine-Culture Leads to Lack of Women Empowerment.”
Sociology was one of my favorite subjects in college. Every inch of the textbook where we can find the classic Sociologists names like Durkheim, Marx, Goffman and a lot more, I’ve already inhaled.
Dusty, I know.
But these classic Sociology concepts aren’t too dusty for a 90s kid like me. It was interesting to learn almost everything about our society and how one functions, the other complicates, and just some interacts. From the Evolution Theory by Charles Darwin came the psychoanalysis by Freud that developed human beings and explains the reasons behind a man’s desire and how it affects their way of life.
There is also the Feminist Theory which we have chosen to use as a sociological perspective to textually analyzed women’s interview transcriptions who are involved in arranged marriage, of course, only in the Philippines.
Here’s a sample of what I’ve written as my part in the research:
BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE OF THE STUDY
To be married is not a shotgun decision wherein you saw that bulb light up above your head and think your man is the right one. It doesn’t happen in a blink of an eye. It doesn’t have to be a long and winding road either before you, two, decide to get hitched. Why? Because marriage is a decision of a lifetime. It’s not supposed to be something you can turn back time with and wish you never did.
But it’s something irreplaceable, irrevocable and irreversible when said and done. It’s a vow to the heavens and the earth, like a covenant between God and his prophet, the magic words that will save the world, the apocalyptic revelation that would end all negative energies that is persistent to break you down as a couple because now, you are united as one, powerful two souls that would beat the odds.
Problem is, are these people veiled by the true atmosphere of the magical love? Some marriages sprouted out of love while some marriages are not. Since our society has a wide scope of social norms and not all culture are universal, people differ in so many ways—physical appearance, religion, ethnicity, race, groups—that they sometimes strive hard for a sense of belonging. These things are also to be considered not only in forming groups but also in tying the knot with your spouse—love is just ain’t enough, as the famous song says.
Factors that conform to the society are now much important than one’s individual autonomy when it comes to marriage. In some culture, parents get to choose their child’s spouse because it is deemed traditional and due to some cultural and religious compatibility.
However, the Philippines’ stand to that is the contrary:”Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this code” (Article I of the Family Code).
Therefore, marriage is more of an individual decision than a parental verdict because it can affect not only the person’s perspective of herself but also her future family and the relationship in the long run.
So that’s a little overview of what we have discussed or what inspired us to discuss such a sensitive topic. I won’t go over the whole thing anymore. I just want to emphasize some points here.
First, arranged marriage is not bad as it is acceptable in other culture and religion– unless you are kinda ethnocentric and will insist that this is not a good thing. For me, in my feminist point of view, it only becomes wrong when a child at the age of 12 or maybe 15 is already condemned to marry a man, let’s say old enough to make her face a struggling relationship at a young age. I remember a news article before which said that a girl, at maybe 12 or 13, died in sex with her old husband (well if I remember it right he was 40 or 50– oh, the mid-life crisis). If I was her mom I would first teach her how to put a tampon on in her red days before putting her into marriage. What a shame for womanhood.
Second, is the undying search for freedom. Admit it or not, we, within ourselves, individually search for our own independence. Not only does nations knew about freedom. Not only does religious institutions know about freedom. Not only do Kings, fighters, warriors and heroes fight for freedom. Every one of us does. We all have our own battle to fight. Age is just a number. Gender is just for sex (as what I believe it the most, because we are probably just different, organ wise). So why set boundaries for each of us? Equality defines freedom. Freedom means no restrictions. It’s being capable of doing things without thinking of our differences physically, culturally…you can marry whoever you think is right for you as long as you love each other. Society doesn’t get to choose who you will be living with for the rest of your life and who you will be waking up to in a sunny morning each day.
Lastly, we have to learn how to fight for ourselves. Not that we have to hurt the opposing side. But since we are born as human beings, evolved with desires and with own different personalities, why not stand for yourselves, dignified and ready to face a new day knowing you will be happy because that is the path you choose, not the one people have chosen for you.
After all, nothing just feels right than taking a sweet morning kiss on your lips from the man you love.
(originally posted on Blogger in 2014)