It is 21st century and we are accustomed (more or less) that we are judged by our personality, manners, behavior… in short we are judged by who are. But it has not been like this always. Many many years ago you would be judged by the fact of being born male or female. The trouble is that even nowadays there are places, where you are still judged by this “fact”. Well, frankly speaking this seems ridiculous to today’s human being, as first of all you are not the one who can choose to be born male or female, secondly you are never superior or inferior to the opposite sex. You become loved, trusted, valued, respected due to the PERSON you create, no matter you are male or female. It seems quite all right with this way of thinking, yet not in every corner of the world. Females have always been treated as inferiors to the opposite sex, they didn’t have any rights. It’s hard to believe but even in today’s modern Europe women were looked at as inferiors, people of “third class”. Unfortunately, there are many countries where women are still deprived of many rights and are way inferior. But my today’s article will focus on quite the opposite image. It has turned out that there is an ethnic group called “Minangkabau” or “Minang”, where women are superior to men. Can you imagine that after so much information about women inferiority worldwide? I am impatient to find out the details…
This ethnic people originated in West Sumatra Province in Indonesia, though they are recognized as minorities in Netherlands, Malaysia, Singapore. They are Muslim people and are known for their hospitality and intelligence. They are the forth largest ethnic group in Indonesia and have produced many dominant figures in Indonesian politics and literature. Everything seems quite normal right? But there is one fact that will shock you: unlike the fact that it is a Muslim society this is the largest matriarchal society of the world. Very controversial – Muslim and Matriarchal. Let’s analyze this unique society…
- The grandmother is the ultimate matriarch and a power figure. Many Minangkabau villages in West Sumatra are dominated by women and the elderly while those in their communities elsewhere in Indonesia are dominated by young men and men in general.
- Property is inherited down the female line and women pick their marriage partners and do the proposing. The only thing that a man can ask of his wife is that she remain faithful to him.
- Because women own all the property, men travel the far corners of Indonesia and try to make their fortunes. Traveling is considered a mark of success. The Minangkabau are known throughout Southeast Asia as active traders.
- A young boy has his primary responsibility to his mother’s and sisters’ clans. It is considered “customary” and ideal for married sisters to remain in their parental home, with their husbands having a sort of visiting status.
5. Matriarchal descent groups called suku play an important role in Minangkabau society. Varying in size depending in their history, they are made up of clans and subclans and fit into the nagari system. Each sub clan is made up of genealogically-linked units that are also the primarily land-owning units. They in turn are dived by sub units called sabuah parulik, related kin that eat together, usually consisting of mother, grandchildren and son in law. Households are ruled by a senior matriarch who may have 70 people answering to her. Her judgment is regarded as final in all matters and everyone in her group is expected to defer to her.
6) Traditionally, married men slept as guests in the houses of their wives. Each married woman had a room where she could receive her husband. Unmarried boys used to live in sarau (communal buildings) where they learned silat (traditional martial arts) and memorized the Koran under the guidance of a religious teacher.
As you can see this culture is kind of opposite of what we used to hear once. Yet I would like the world to keep balance between men and women, as we tend to keep it in everything. It’s not fare that men are considered superior or vice versa. People should be treated according to their human kind not gender. Remember the phrase from the famous song of James Brown: this is a man’s world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl. At first sight it is a controversial statement, but it’s true: this world belongs to men (as strong gender), but it wouldn’t exist without women.