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Hypergany And Woman Subordination

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 639
  • Category: Women

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Hypergamy is a system of practice whereby someone selects a spouse of higher social economic, education or any other characteristic associated with economic power. The practice existed in many human cultures across the world with women falling victims. Women were encouraged or sought suitors who were wealthier, older or more privileged as compared to themselves. In historic times it was a common thing for a king or prince to marry from the ordinary population as long as he felt that the woman was beautiful and good enough to become his wife. It did not really matter of the woman’s social class or economic power. The same applies even in the modern society.

Hypergamy affects women’s role in the society. Women are the main educators in the society; the society is shaped through what women have brought up. However this role is not respected under hypergamy. Women are perceived as assets. In fact in most African societies women were and are still treated as property in some cultures. Women had been deprived of their rights to live independently. Consequently this has led to women subordination in the society. (Kelvin, 2004)

Hypergamy encourages women to remain pure in their early lives. This is because men prefer marrying beautiful pure women who have preserved themselves. This means that women are made to be what they are by men; it is men who determine what a woman should be. According to Gordon 1999, this system of practice encourages women to be subjected to male chauvinism.

A woman would remain a virgin for several years until she got married. She preserved herself for a man of high social status, education or economic power. As a result women lost focus and were not a priority in terms of educational investment. An older man can marry a girl of a comparatively lower age in spite of her social status. Women were therefore not educated as they could be taken by men any time they were ready for marriage. Men on the other hand developed an attitude of superiority over women. The women’s standards of purity and beauty become misinterpreted as they are expected to maintain their purity to increase marriage market.

Under hypergamy, women’s concept of beauty does not determine their spouse. Most often beautiful women find themselves married to men who are physically less attractive. This is because to women’s standards of beauty are advantageous to men within high social strata. (Karin, 2004)

The subordination of women in the society is a cycle. When the woman is married in hypergamy, the husband takes advantage and becomes the sole decision maker and controls resources. Consequently women get married when they are young to preserve their purity hence they do not have enough time for education especially higher education.

Subordination of women affected the societal progress through denying women a chance to education to gain knowledge and skills important for development. Women subordination was a setback to the development of a health society. As stated earlier in this essay, women are the core educators in the society and hence deserve due respect and appreciation of their contribution in the society. (Sherry, 2002) Subordination actually brought oppression especially in the pre industrial revolution era whereby women did much of the work while men owned the resources.

Work Cited

Gordon, A. Transforming capitalism and patriarchy: Gender and development in Africa, New York: New York Press, 1999.

Sherry, B. Making gender: the politics and erotics of culture, London: McMillan Publishers, 2002.

Catherine, M. Women subordination and hypergamy, London: Oxford university Press, 2000.

Karin, G. Gender, caste and class in rural south India, Jakarta: Handybooks press, 2004.

Kelvin, N. The society: An introductory to hypergamy and subordination, New York: Penguin, 2004.

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