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Marriage has been one man, one woman for centuries.

Among the Mosuo, the women practice what are called walking marriages. What does that mean? According to the documentary, the Mosuo women will give a signal to the man of their choosing and it lets him know that he is going to be walking with her to her room that night. The next morning, he will return to his mother's home.

The marriages made by these women are not marriages as we would consider them because they do not have to stay with the same man for the rest of their lives. They can invite the same one as many times as they want or never invite him again. The men always live in the homes of their mothers and they help to take care of their sisters and the children their sisters have.

When a woman has a child, that child remains with her in her home and her brothers will help her to raise him. Interestingly enough, the father of the child has very little to do with his child, but the child is not deprived of a male influence because his uncles all live in the same home with their mother and their grandmothers.

What's Even More Interesting

You may be wondering what can be more interesting than what I've already described about this particular society? The answer to that is their language. You see, in their language, there are no words for rape, war or murder and they don't have any jails. This doesn't mean that they don't know these things, they do know what rape is -- but the sentence for rape is execution and they do have a word for kill, still -- it's a nice concept.

No matter how peculiar you may think their society is - I have to admire that. I want to learn more about the Mosuo and their walking marriages. I'll let you know what I find out. Have you ever heard of the Mosuo people?


Asked by feralxat at 12:20 AM on May. 22, 2012 in Politics & Current Events

Level 45 (195,152 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (13)
  • Here are some great starting points for cultural examples of marriage:Just trying to remember some of the non-triditional ones by the western ethnocentric standard.
    the Sherpa (polyandry in Tibet), Toda and Pahari of India (only the eldest son in each family is permitted to marry) India also has a recognized thrid gender, the Irigwe of Nigeria and the Lele (secondary marriage) from the western Congo, the Bari and Yanomama of South America (polygamist/polyandrous arranged marriage), Chinese ghost marriages (one or both partners are deceased), Igbo of Nigeria (levirate marriage), Inuit of NA (sororate marriage), Maasai are polygamous and polyandrous, Sub-Saharan Africa has woman-to-woman marriage.

    Answer by emptynstr at 1:09 PM on May. 22, 2012

  • Interesting.

    Marriage between man and woman has been a sacrement for centuries in a large part of the world...not just the US.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 8:57 AM on May. 22, 2012

  • Thanks for sharing. That is interesting. It is so interesting that we think we know everything yet there are societies that we have yet to meet.

    Answer by purpleducky at 7:49 AM on May. 22, 2012

  • In some cultures, marriage is one man one woman for life (monogamy) while there are other cultures that practice polygamy. Thankfully, that is not a choice I have to make! I'll stick with the one man I have been with for 23+ years now. It's been working out pretty well for both of us!

    Answer by 29again at 11:32 AM on May. 22, 2012

  • Very Interesting. I've never heard of this before.

    As for he whole "9one man, one woman" thing, that really irritates America, marriage has been one man one woman for centuries, but most of the world has always been and still is polygamous!


    Answer by hillary819 at 1:04 AM on May. 22, 2012

  • The Mosuo are not the only culture withdifferent marriage practices then the Western one. Did you get to the part about the influx of male tourists (hoping to get picked) or that many Mosuo do form long lasting relationships. There are more examples of this family set up than the Mosuo, will have to see if I can find their info. Trying to remember the culture where widows can remarry (a female bride) and become the male head of the family.....


    Answer by emptynstr at 11:44 AM on May. 22, 2012

  • If you guys want to defend traditional marriage, you might as well forget about supporting interracial marriage!


    Answer by FreeForAll at 9:02 AM on May. 22, 2012

  • Sounds like something new and made up.

    They are an indigenous Chinese Tribe.
    Due to the very mountainous terrain they inhabit the Mosuo have not had much contact with the "outside world" except through and ancient "Tea-Horse-Road". Many of their daily needs are met through trading with a caravan.
    This ancient route heads to the North and meets the following places: Yongning-Lijiang-Zhongdian-Deqin-Mangkang-Zuogong-Leiwuqi-Naqu-Lhasa.
    There is also a Southern route which is further and it takes the caravan one whole year to make the journey to Tibet and back.
    The Mosuo community has been isolated for a very long time and has lived a self reliant and self-managed lifestyle.
    This provides very clear evidence of the validity of its culture and traditions.

    Comment by feralxat (original poster) at 1:11 AM on May. 22, 2012

  • Interesting - It's not really teaching commitment, though.

    Answer by onelove1982 at 11:52 AM on May. 22, 2012

  • Interesting - It's not really teaching commitment, though.

    yes it is. it teaches the commitment to the children supersedes all else.

    emptynstr- yes.


    Comment by feralxat (original poster) at 12:16 PM on May. 22, 2012