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When Brothers Share a Wife

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 2 (423 words)
Categories: Brother, Wife
Downloads: 33
Views: 27

The book, “When Brothers Share a Wife” talks about polyandry and how it has prevailed in Tibet because of various reasons. To start with, it is seen as a measure of population control as some females are relegated to a lifetime of spinsterhood. Another reason which according to Goldstein is untrue is the fact that female infanticide has led to the reduction in the number of women as compared to men. In addition, fraternal polyandry is perceived to support the standard of living of the Tibetans since Tibet is a barren and bare land.

Polyandry is an act that entails two, three or more brothers having one woman as a wife.

Traditionally, parents took sole responsibility of arranging marriages. Children were only allowed to say little or in some instances, they had nothing to say regarding this matter. Despite the fact that times have changed, children cannot marry without consent from their parents. Marriage ceremonies differ in income and region.

The marriage ceremonies range from all the brothers taking part in the marriage ceremony as grooms to the eldest one who is the only one that can have a formal ceremony. Age is a very critical factor in determining participation in the marriage ceremonies.

Very young brothers are not allowed to engage in the marriage ceremony, but upon reaching mid-teenage, it is typical of them to join the marriage (Goldstein, 1987). The eldest brother is considered to be in charge with regard to authority and managing the entire home. The other brothers share in the execution of duties and take part in marriage as sexual partners. The people of Tibet do not find anything unusual in sharing a spouse with regard to the sexual concept. The woman, who in this case is the wife, is supposed to give equal kind of treatment to all the brothers without favoring any one of them at the expense of the others.

The same applies to the children; they belong to all the brothers. Despite the fact that one of the brothers may know that he is the real father, he is not allowed to treat his child with favor. Political and economic changes have however played a great role in changing people’s perceptions about polyandry and its role. Non-Tibetan leaders in India, Nepal and China have also been actively involved in disparaging this act. It is believed that economic and social changes will contribute to the erosion of polyandry in Tibet with time.


Goldstein, M. C. 1987. “When Brothers Share a Wife”. Natural History, 96(3):109-112.

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When Brothers Share a Wife. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/brothers-share-wife-249-new-essay

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