Socializing women into marital responsibilities: the emerging phenomena of bachelorrette parties among educated young women in Nairobi
MetadataShow full item record
This study examines socialization of women into marital responsibilities with focus on bachelorette parties/ bridal showers in Nairobi County. In particular, this study sought to establish why the idea of bridal shower is gaining popularity in Kenya, what is the importance and significance of bridal showers in today's society and does it achieve its socializing purpose. This follows a series of debates from public radio stations and many questions asked in newspapers about bridal showers. Traditionally, many African communities had occasions where adolescents were taught what was expected of them regarding their gender roles and marital responsibilities. The objectives of the study were to find out how women are socialized into gender roles and marital responsibilities through bridals showers, how the event has evolved over time. The study further sought to investigate how bridal showers are understood and experienced in Kenya and the attributes of the people engaging in them. A total sample of 80 purposive selected women were interviewed all of who had attended bridal showers through questionnaires,4 key informants were interviewed who often participate in this events and3 focus group discussions were conducted. Additional data was obtained through observation conducted in 4 bridal showers. The study found that bridal showers are very popular among young educated women in Nairobi and women enjoy getting together and participating in these events for different reasons. It also found other related events that socialized women to assume their gender roles in the history of many communities in the world like in Asia, Europe, America and Africa. Bridal showers offer a platform where gender and sexual roles are passed on to women before marriage. The study discovered that the party is organized in homely settings due to the privacy required in the discussions of gender and marital responsibilities. The bride-to-be is given advice and gifts by friends and family which are tied to the new roles she is going to take up as a wife and mother. The study found women attend the event due to the useful exchange of information on sex and marital responsibilities by people who have been there or others who have specialized and done research in that field, the getting together of many friends and cathartic effect it has on women. It is also important to women because of the intentional time offered by friends and family to bid and usher the bride-to-be into another social status, marriage. The study noted a positive perception by majority of the women regarding bridal showers many indicating they are proud and happy about the quality and socializing purpose bridal showers serve in society. This is because not only are women socialized into gender and sex roles before marriage, but love and comradeship is communicated at this time to the bride by the family and friends. , The study recommended stakeholders to have a common avenue for feedback so that needs and ideas can be communicated back to better bridal showers. Another recommendation made was for incorporation of post marital counseling for newlyweds because sometimes the bride-to-be is too excited on her bridal shower to get all the advice given on her roles. The study also discovered a need to do the same research in other parts of the country and also investigate if men have an equally informative session set aside for them. In conclusion, the study found that getting married is one of the most celebrated and revered transitions in a woman's life. Therefore, many rituals and events exist to prepare a woman to become a wife. Bridal shower is one of those that is most steeped in tradition.