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.