Tuesday, February 21, 2006
divorce and CMC
in saudi, traditional law dictates that should a man desire to divorce his wife, he does so by telling her, thrice, that he divorces her. it's your prototypical performative. apparently there's been a string of men texting this divorce message to their wives, thrice, and the law has no idea whether to allow it.
i can't find any articles on the topic that aren't written in arabic, but malaysia and singapore, who have similar divorce procedures, have already had to consider this in the courts.
i don't want to belittle the issue by comparing it to dumping your girlfriend over myspace, so i won't.
Anyway, if you can end a divorce just by telling someone 3 times that you want to and then you magically end up in happy divorceland Kansas, I don't see why it should be different to text someone 3 times the same message. Actually, it becomes more tangible and proveable (? a word?) that way; maybe some women are frightened of the possibilities because of its permanence.
Of course, I don't know anything about lots of cultural issues concerning marriage/sex roles/textiquette that I'm sure are heavily at play.
putting it into actual text *does* seem like it would legitimate it even more. to me, anyway. i think what's more at play is how SMS brings with it ideas of modernity, and certainly of the west, that might not mesh so well with the traditional practice.
Links to this post: