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exactly just How ‘bride price’ reinforces negative stereotypes: a Ghanaian example

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exactly just How ‘bride price’ reinforces negative stereotypes: a Ghanaian example

Lecturer at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Education

Disclosure statement

Stephen Baffour Adjei doesn’t work for, consult, own stocks in or get capital from any organization or organization that will reap the benefits of this informative article, and it has disclosed no appropriate affiliations beyond their educational visit.

The discussion UK gets funding from the organisations

Republish our articles free of charge, online or in printing, under innovative Commons licence.

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Marriage is an organization typical to all or any countries. Extremely often it is followed by transfers – in many situations in the form of payments – involving the grouped categories of the groom as well as the bride.

These re re payments could be categorised into two: bride and dowry price. The dowry, more widespread in parts of asia, involves re re payments created by the bride to your groom and their family members. Bride price, having said that, means the re re payments that the potential groom and his family make up to a prospective bride along with her household. It really is a tremendously typical practice that is cultural Africa.

Historically, bride price re payment served to validate customary marriages in many African communities. It strengthened family that is new developed by marriage and legitimised young ones created to marriages.

Ghanaian culture has withstood major modifications to its cultural methods on the years that are past. One which’s altered significantly is bride cost. Into the past, re payment had been a household event. A woman’s bride cost ended up being compensated by her groom along with his family members. Bride cost had not been negotiated: the groom and their household often decided about what and exactly how much to pay. This could be voluntarily and willingly compensated into the category of the bride.

Before Ghana had been colonised because of the British in 1867, bride cost failed to include money as money hadn’t yet been introduced to the Ghanaian economy. Alternatively, it included things such as for instance containers of schnapps, ornaments, clothing and cowries for the bride’s mom, dad and brothers.

But times have actually changed. Bride-to-be price payment is now a far more specific practice. A groom primarily funds the costs of his wedding, while some families nevertheless offer monetary support with their sons during marriage.

A far more drastic development is the participation of money and bargaining. The total amount to be compensated is rigorously negotiated because of the groups of the groom while the bride. The present training is that the groom often wants a listing through the bride’s family members. Although bride cost listings can vary greatly among families and groups that are ethnic Ghana, many lists consist of products such as for instance containers of schnapps, ornaments, clothing and money for the bride`s mother, daddy and brothers.

The things regarding the need list have actually additionally taken on a contemporary look. Some families need gadgets such as for instance cellphones, laptop computers and iPads as bride price. A few facets, like the groom’s wealth and status, as well as the bride’s amount of education, decide how much a groom will pay as bride cost.

Although bride cost customized has significant social and functions that are social you can find latent, unrecognised and unintended effects associated with the training.

Our research attempted to explore how bride price payment forms cultural and sex husband-to-wife and identity punishment in Ghana.

We unearthed that there have been psychological and social implications associated with the training of bride cost. In Ghana spending the bride pricing is taken mainly being a cultural constant that features to be satisfied. But, as our studies have shown, this has both social and emotional implications for the males whom pay and also for the females for who it really is compensated.

The practice of bride price is a sensitive cultural issue, and to suggest its proscription is likely to be slow – or to fail despite our findings.

Sex identity

We conducted focus that is semi-structured conversations and in-depth specific interviews with 32 participants, composed of 16 perpetrators (males) and 16 victims (ladies) from rural and metropolitan Ghana. The individuals ages that are from 24 to 60.

Our category had been on the basis of the individuals experiences that are’ self-reported. That is, we classified feminine participants with self-reported experiences of real or abuse that is sexual or both, from present or previous marital partner as victims, and guys that has inflicted real or intimate punishment, or both, on an ongoing or past marital partner as perpetrators.

Our research found that both male and participants that are female bride cost practice ended up being essential for attaining desired masculinity and femininity in Ghana. Feminine participants saw it as a significant part of womanhood, bestowing respect and dignity in wedding. Guys, on the other side hand, viewed it as being a necessary condition for male identification in culture. Failure to fulfil it might significantly undermine their dominance and identity in wedding.

Individuals recommended that the meaning of women’s identities, and their sense of self-worth in marriage, ended up being based on guys through the buy mail order bride re payment of bride cost. It absolutely was obvious within our research that bride cost could lead females to seem worthless unless taken care of, also to be treated nonetheless a guy wants.

As an example, in response to whether or perhaps not bride price practice should really be proscribed, one feminine participant from a rural area stated:

No. Just how can we abolish our tradition? We will maybe perhaps perhaps not agree totally that a man should enter the house and simply simply take my child with no bride cost.

Also, male participants within the study described price that is bride as being a product condition for keeping culturally thought masculine identification and authority in wedding. Having a bride-priced spouse ended up being viewed as an accomplishment that is masculine.

We also discovered that spending the bride price meant there was clearly an implicit obligation that is moral a woman’s component to respect and obey her husband’s commands and desires. Psychologically, the training created an ownership mindset in guys. This could cause them to see their wives because their ‘purchase’ over whom they work out unfettered authority, including real and mental punishment.

As an example, a male participant revealed that:

In my opinion bride cost is a component regarding the reason why husbands abuse their spouses from your parents or family so they know I have to take care of you because it shows that I have acquired you. Then you must also obey what I say if i take care of you. When the household takes the bride price, in addition they accept that the girl is in my own care of course any such thing should occur to her they are going to ask me personally.

Additionally, the trade of products and cash for the bride, especially a bride that is high, produced indebtedness when you look at the minds of both the bride and her family members. This intended that when the spouse mistreated their wife in marriage, the family members felt they couldn’t intervene.

The re re payment of bride cost ended up being also linked to the perception of women as ‘acquired properties’ over whom males work out authority and control. In line with the participants’ feedback, we unearthed that the character that is transactional of training could ‘objectify’ and ‘commoditise’ ladies in wedding.

Feeling of ownership

Though our study revealed that bride cost tradition could reinforce negative stereotypes about male domination and feminine subordination in wedding, feedback through the individuals advised that the training isn’t regarded by ladies in Ghana as demeaning it does not offend any communal morality or societal ethos because they think. There is a public feeling of ownership of this bride cost training among women and men.


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