Marriage, Family, and Relationships: A Cross-Cultural by Gwen J. Broude

By Gwen J. Broude

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A 35 ment be broken. But the boy and girl do take the proposed arrangement seriously and will only resist an eventual marriage if they dislike one another intensely. By contrast, betrothals in many Asian cultures are almost as binding as is a marriage itself. In India, a promise between two people to marry is so serious that, if the boy dies before the marriage can take place, the girl is treated as a widow and is compelled to remain unmarried for the remainder of her life. Betrothals sometimes function as a sort of down payment for a bride.

Evidence demonstrates that physically healthy women are more successful in bearing and nursing babies than are women who are not in good physical condition. Indeed, if the percentage of fat to body weight for a woman dips below a critical level, she will become infertile even if she has already attained sexual maturity. In societies where a woman's physical stamina matters to her ability to perform subsistence activities, this too can become a criterion of attractiveness. For instance, the Kwoma of New Guinea think of a woman who can carry a heavy load as attractive, and the Chuckchee say that a woman is beautiful if her body is strong.

As each new age-set is graduated to a higher age-grade, the age-set occupying that age-grade itself moves on to the next age-grade. Age-grades are associated with particular sets of duties. The youngest is the warriors age-grade. Men in this age-grade have the job of guarding the country. " The elder warriors age-grade follows. The duties of the elder warriors are less prestigious than are those of members of the younger warriors age-grade. They are essentially in training for the administrative duties that they will shoulder when they graduate to the next agegrade of judicial elders.

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