Sometimes positive culture change can be advanced by the most unlikely influences.
There is an article and link on Huffington Post (1) for a video of an advertisement from a jeweler in India. The reason this ad is newsworthy is because it challenges the long standing taboos that widowed and divorced EVE have suffered under in Indian culture.
An article by V. Malik (2) offers a good description of the hardships of many widows in India. He writes, “The marriageable age was lowered further and girls were married at the age of 8, just before the time they attained puberty. Widow marriages were prohibited and sati (being burned on the husband’s funeral pyre, my note) became a common practice. Early marriage was naturally followed by early maternity, which increased the mortality among women between the ages of 14 and 22. Child brides got married to men twice their age, who died early due to disease or warfare leaving these brides as child widows who were not permitted to remarry. They had to lead a chaste life and could not look at another man their entire life. They had to remain faithful to their husband, alive or dead, all their lives.”
There have been attempts to change this terrible social situation for EVE in India. In fact, the British government passed a law in 1856 that legalized widow remarriage, but a law doesn’t necessarily change people’s minds or habits. Those who opposed the new law had three arguments against it, which basically sound exactly like every other argument for changing the Manplan and improving the lives of EVE(2):
1. we’ve “always” done it this way so it must be right,
2. if restrictions on women are relaxed, society will crash and burn, and
3. women are by nature deceitful, untrustworthy and prone to adultery.
“AdWeek reports that India has been ‘mesmerized’ by the ad. The trade outlet called the commercial ‘revolutionary’ and ‘crazy bold.’(1) So maybe a simple advertisement for jewelry can make Indian citizens rethink this demoralizing and harmful cultural taboo. We hope so!
(2) “Problems Of Widow Remarriage In India: A Study”, Varun Malik, Assistant Professor, Rayat College Of Law, Railmajra, India, Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research, Volume 2, No.2, February 2013.