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研究:外国人眼中的摩梭族文化

来源:天星 更新日期:2009-07-09 点击:

What would the days be like without fathers? Maybe not so bad, according to experts on the Mosuo culture of the Chinese Himalaya.

The women of this matrilineal society shun marriage and raise their kids in homes with their entire extended families—but no dads.

By most accounts, children seem to do just fine under the arrangement. "They are a society that we know hasn't had marriage for a thousand years, and they've been able to raise kids successfully," said Stephanie Coontz, family studies professor at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Men of the Mosuo, who live around Lugu Lake on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces, do help to raise kids—just not their own, with whom the men typically have only limited relationships. Instead the men help look after all the children born to their own sisters, aunts, and other women of the family.

Rather than "one father with a kid, it will be four or five uncles. That [father] role is shared among a number of people, and these are very large extended families," explained John Lombard, director of the Lugu Lake Mosuo Cultural Development Association.

The unusual parenting arrangement makes genetic sense, in terms of extending the family line—and many Mosuo men actually think of it that way, "If you [father] a child with another woman, you can never be absolutely sure that the child really shares your genes," he said. "But if your sister has a child, you can be 100 percent sure that the kid shares some of your genes." Lombard said.

The women of the Mosuo's agricultural villages head the households, make business decisions, and own property, which they pass on to their matrilineal heirs. In the unique Mosuo tradition called the walking marriage, women invite men to visit their rooms at night—and to leave in the morning. Women may also change partners as often as they like, and promiscuity carries no social stigma.

The practice has made the Mosuo famous, particularly to male Chinese tourists, many of whom see the walking marriages as evidence of sexual liberation and wanton lust, experts say.

Though there are tourist-oriented brothels in Mosuo villages, most are staffed with non-Mosuo women and are considered shameful by the Mosuo, according to the the Lugu Lake Mosuo Cultural Development Association Web site.

"I think sometimes the media gets carried away with the possibility that the women can have all these husbands," said filmmaker Xiaoli Zhou, who produced and reported the 2006 documentary on the Mosuo, The Women's Kingdom. In fact, most Mosuo women don't change walking-marriage partners very frequently. And they rarely carry on more than one romantic relationship at a time. "Many of the women I interviewed had only had one or two relationships in their lives," Zhou said.

The lack of live-in fathers shouldn't be taken as evidence that the Mosuo don't value family life, said Lombard, of the Lugu Lake Mosuo Cultural Development Association. In fact, they value it above all other relationships—particularly those founded on the sometimes fickle feelings of male-female amour, he said.

Extended families of siblings, uncles, aunts, and others are said to be extremely stable, Lombard added. For example, there are no divorces to destablize the families. And even the death of a child's biological father has little effect on the family, given the father's distance from the family and the extensive support network in the household.

Brent Huffman, co-producer of The Women's Kingdom, said, "The society does kind of create this question: Are fathers really
necessary? It's hard to think of in Western society, but there, it works."

没有父亲的日子该怎么过?也许没那么悲伤——在中国喜马拉雅山脉一带专门研究摩梭族文化的专家如是说。

从大多数方面看来,摩梭族的孩子都生活得好好的。家庭研究专家史提芬妮·昆茨(Stephanie Coontz,华盛顿州奥林匹亚市州立常青树大学教授)说:“已延续上千年的摩梭族是一个没有婚姻的社会,但是人们却有办法把孩子抚养成人。”

摩梭人生活在云南省和四川省交界处的泸沽湖一带,那里的男子在养儿育女问题上事实上也确有帮助——但他们所养育的偏偏不是自己的孩子,没什么血缘关系。相反,这些男子帮助养育的孩子都是自己的姐妹、姨妈、姑妈及家族内的其他女人生的孩子。

对此现象,泸沽湖摩梭族文化发展协会会长约翰·拉姆巴德(John Lombard)是这么解释的:“这个社会不是一个父亲一个孩子那么简单,而是一个孩子可能有四五个叔叔伯伯。在那里,父亲的作用是由很多男人来共同承担的,这样一来,家族的延伸面就变得十分广泛。”

就家族的延续而言,这么养育孩子反而有遗传学意义,而摩梭族的男子的确就是这么看的。拉姆巴德解释说:“在摩梭族,如果一个男人以父亲的角色和一个女人共同养育一个孩子,那他永远都不敢肯定这个孩子和他有没有血缘关系。但是,如果孩子是自己的姐妹生下来的,就能100%肯定孩子和他有一定的血缘关系。”

在摩梭族农村,妇女自主安排并承担一切生计,她们拥有财产权,并有权把财产传给母系继承人。当地有一个十分独特的走婚习俗,也就是到了晚上,女子可以把男子请到家里来过夜,第二天一早,男子便一走了之。女子是可以随时随意更换男子的,完全不用背负放荡的名声。

专家们认为,摩梭族的这一习俗早就声名远播,而中国的男性游客往往会想入非非,他们中有很多人把走婚习俗当作是性解放和滥交合理的明证。

泸沽湖摩梭族文化发展协会的官方网站指出,在摩梭族的村子里,也有一些为了吸引游客而开办的妓院,可充斥其中的女子并非摩梭族人,这些色情业女子在摩梭人眼里是十分无耻的。

电影制片人周晓丽(音)2006年曾拍摄反应摩梭族文化的纪录片《女儿国》,她说:“我觉得一些媒体只专注于大肆炒作摩梭族妇女在选择男人方面的随意性,使人误以为只要女人喜欢,所有的男人都能变成她的丈夫。”实际上,大多数摩梭族女子是不会频繁更换走婚对象的,在同一时间里物色一个以上情爱关系的女子是十分罕见的。周说:“在我所采访过的摩梭族女子中,她们大多数一生只有一两个性伴侣。”

泸沽湖摩梭族文化发展协会的拉姆巴德说,生活中缺少父亲,并不能因此说明摩梭人就不重视家庭生活的价值。他认为,相反,他们会把那种家庭关系看得高于其他一切关系,特别是某些短命的男欢女爱关系,在摩梭人眼里就更不值得一提了。

拉姆巴德还说,通过姊妹、叔伯、姑姨及其他亲属而延伸出去的家族,反而非常稳固,例如,这样的家族就不会因为离婚问题而使家庭变得不稳定。而由于有血缘关系的父亲往往离孩子很远,因此即使这个父亲死亡了,对家族也不会有什么影响,相反,一个没有父亲的家庭的全部生活反而能够得到整个家族的广泛支持。

《女儿国》的另一名制片人布兰特·哈夫曼(Brent Huffman)说:“这种社会等于向我们提出这样一个问题:父亲真的是必要的吗?这种社会类型在西方社会看来简直不可思议,可是在摩梭社会却完全行得通。”

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