1. The Independent Mosuo Woman
Women generally go to great lengths to prepare for married life, and their efforts are usually aimed at pleasing other people. On the other side of the coin, there is a tribe in China where women don’t get married at all.
The Mosuo people, who live in the Himalayas, are nicknamed the “kingdom of women.” Marriage doesn’t exist, so the women are taught to be independent from men. A Mosuo household is directed by its eldest woman, while everybody else works to provide day-to-day necessities. Since living quarters are communal, when a girl comes of age, she can have private sleeping quarters in her family’s house. In these quarters, she can have sexual relations with any man she chooses. She can have one or many sexual partners, and these relationships can be long-term or short-lived but never permanent. However, most women choose long-term pairings, changing sexual partners infrequently.
Men must come to a woman’s quarters secretly at night and must leave before sunrise. Even if she becomes pregnant, the man responsible isn’t expected to have any part in the upbringing of the child. If he chooses to provide for the child, he can only do so by bringing gifts to the woman’s family. Children are raised communally by the woman’s relatives.
The region where the Mosuo live has turned into a tourist hub largely because of the intrigue that comes with this tribe, and the Mosuo women have taken full advantage of the situation. Some of them manage successful tourist hotels, and others work as tour guides.