Languages and Cultures, Imperialism, Western China Scholarship, Chinese Western Comparative Studies, Linguistics, the Rise of Eastern Terminologies, Political and Social Theory, and World History.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Monogamy as a Western Invention? (Big Think)
Revival of Chinese Mistress Culture (Scene from Jin Pei Mei)
We know that views and habits on sex, gender, and relationships are (partly) culturally enforced, and thus not necessarily everywhere the same. There are trends and favorites, and rules and obligations set by religious beliefs, folklore, family values, and group norms. This said, before the arrival of the European imperialists in Asia, the Hindu, the Chinese and Mongols, the Japanese, the Persians, the Arabs, etc. all preferred many wives, or one wife and concubines on the sideline, often as much as a man could afford. This all changed when the Western powers conquered the Eastern civilizations, but it is worthwhile mentioning that what the West practices and believes in when it comes to gender roles, it is far from universal and in all probability won't last forever. In fact, we are already seeing the Western departure from the Christian dogma of monogamy toward a more liberal (or shall we say "promiscuous") society in which divorce is common and having mistresses in vogue.