Originally Posted by Claudius
That Marriage 101 spiel is one sided and ignorant of history, sociology, psychology and cultural anthropology.
It takes the assumption that men and women view themselves as only irrational beings when in fact what seperates us from primates is rationality and the ability to (at times) control our irrational thoughts.
No, not really. What happened was, with the emergence of civilization, unprecedentedly large numbers of people started grouping together. Prior to civilization, humans lived in small groups where different and simpler structures of organization worked well enough, so in those instances of very small cultures, you very well might have found instances where male and female roles were very different than what we've seen in mainstream western and eastern culture. I doubt there was anything going on that was too flattering, frankly. The problem with polygamy and hypergamy would likely be worse in most cases.
But we're not talking about these small fringe pockets of people, we're talking about what happens when you have the chaos of tens, even hundreds of thousands of people living under the same cultural identity for the first time. Things are very different when you have that many people, and we haven't had this situation for very long in our history. As I'm sure you know, agriculture made it possible, and this created all kinds of challenges.
So when these unprecedentedly large populations formed for the first time due to agriculture and metallurgy, the elite of the elite (comprising the ruling class) needed to come up with a system to bring stability and order to their populations so that labor could be done more efficiently to strengthen the nation. Marriage, especially when paired with religion, became the most useful tool, and had fantastic success at helping produce a strong nation that could defend and conquer.
So basically, very, very intelligent men, rulers, created a system to bring predictability to people who were less educated and more emotional. The rulers were better off, and in some cases, the men and women were better off, insofar as marriage did work pretty good at giving everyone stability, despite a certain lack of freedom (freedom which is always a dangerous thing).
It also presumes that men and women subscribe to certain gender roles and limits these gender roles to only two, meanwhile there is plenty of evidence that manyt cultures have more than simply two genders and varying roles within them.
My analysis refers to more western and eastern mainstream culture, where large populations with density, create different pressures and problems.
Also, these stories of fringe cultures should be taken with a grain of salt, anthropology isn't much of science, chock full of bias and feminism. (feminism does have some good ideas, but a lot of misconceptions and wishful thinking, too)