The Women’s Kingdom

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A sensitive portrayal of extraordinary women struggling to hold on to their extraordinary society filmed by Xiaoli Zhou and Brent E. Huffman, shown by PBS Frontline Broadcast.

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The Mosuo women in a remote area of southwest China live beyond the strictures of mainstream Chinese culture – enjoying great freedoms and carrying heavy responsibilities. They are the keepers of one of the last matriarchal societies in the world; they control their own finances and do not marry or live with partners – they practice what they call “walking marriage.” A man may be invited into a woman’s hut to spend a “sweet night,” but must leave by daybreak. While tourism has brought wealth and 21st century conveniences to this remote area, it has also introduced difficult challenges to the Mosuo culture – from pollution in the lake, to the establishment of brothels, to mainstream ideas about women, beauty and family.

Osho says, “The father is an unnatural phenomenon. It is artificial, arbitrary, it is social; the mother is natural. Fathers have not always been in existence. At the most fathers have existed for five thousand years; before that the institution was non-existential. There was a matriarchy, the mother was all; and all the children were known not by the name of their father but by the name of their mother. Nobody used to ask anybody ‘Who is your father?’ or ‘Whose son are you? – that would have been absolutely meaningless. The question was asked ‘Who is your mother?’

“You will be surprised to know that the word ‘uncle’ is older than ‘father’, because people used to live in groups, communes, so all the people who were of the age of the father – who was not known, who was anonymous – were called uncles. Out of all the uncles somebody was the father, but nobody knew exactly who the father was. So uncle is a more ancient word than father. Father came only with private property. And there is every possibility that the day private property disappears, private ownership disappears, the father may disappear again. In fact he is on the way out.”

Osho, Won’t You Join the Dance? Ch 22

Related article Osho Speaks on Draupadi

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