Stephen Jay Gould (via lavender-labia)
I never thought about that before. Fuck, man.
Last night we had a brilliant discussion in Dutch class. It took about an hour for us all to sufficiently understand each other because our Dutch is nowhere near good enough for proper conversations haha, but it was great nonetheless.
My class is supposed to have around 19 people in it, but most days there’s only about 8-10 of us. The class is mostly comprised of guys from Morocco/Syria/Turkey and a mix of people from Brazil/The Dominican Republic. Last night our tutor Rens got us to translate a newspaper article about an Iraqi man who married two cousins at once - to his family’s surprise. All the guys from Morocco, Syria and Turkey are Muslim so my tutor asked him if this was normal, what they thought about it, and the conversation developed from there. It turns out that Islam allows up to four wives for a man, but in reality only rich men tend to take more than one wife. Also, most guys (and apparently the women too) think it is crazy and madness and that having one partner is trouble enough, hahaha. They kept saying “Een vrouw, geen probleem! Meer vrouwen, alleen probelemen!” (One woman, no problem! More women, only problems!) which is quite right, too, I should imagine. The guys from Morocco were particularly like ‘helllllllll no’ hahaha. The one guy from Syria, Ari, has a girlfriend and said that she’s so “gek” (crazy) that he’s not allowed to look at other women in the street, so he definitely wouldn’t be allowed another woman. Hahaha! He said he would quite happily take another woman, but only if it wouldn’t upset his current girlfriend (which it would)…which is nice…I suppose!
Rens then said that he had a theory, and that was that perhaps women consented more to polygamous marriages in certain parts of the world/cultures because they either can’t or simply don’t have financial independence. The Moroccan guys said this was definitely a contributing factor. Then we had a long, long, LONG confusing time trying to ask these guys whether if a woman had her own job & money, and she had the choice between marrying a rich man that already had two wives or a man with less money but was single, who would she choose? And they all said without a doubt she would never marry the rich man+2 wives. So that kind of backed up his theory. The guys said that in Morocco it’s still definitely Islamic but that our generation is definitely far more equal and women have a little more choice than their parents did - however, women outnumber men by something bonkers like 1:7, so polygamous marriages might still occur because of that reason.
I asked them if they knew people here that had polygamous relationships and they said no, not a single Muslim person they knew had more than one wife (legal or otherwise). Although I did get the impression that some of the men play around a bit and probably tend to have a couple of women on the go before they get married!
It was all fascinating. But I did wonder how objective their assessment was - after all, they have moved to a secular, liberal (compared to Islamic countries) country so they must have a degree of liberalism to them? I think? Maybe if we went to Morocco and spoke to people that hadn’t left we would find the majority hold more traditional views. I dunno.
Anyway, het was een hele goed discussie!