A thesis on Islamic virgin brides and arranged marriage
Hijabs and polygamist husbands,

from Frank Ocean – American Wedding Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

“Mrs. Kennedy” wrote about how marriage in America is viewed a lot differently compared to those of different cultures (i.e. Islamic culture). In the end of her research paper, she feels bad for the girls who don’t have the freedom that she has in the U.S. when it comes to marriage, yet is thankful for having the choice to marry based on the concept of love.

In Islamic law, it is highly recommended that a man marries a virgin because a woman is considered “pure” when she’s a virgin; however, culturally speaking, it isn’t as emphasized for men to be virgins until they marry.

Also, in some Islamic societies (as well, to be sure, as certain Christian and Hindu ones), arranged marriages are very popular. Women are forced to marry by a certain age as a common ritual to prevent disgrace and to avoid becoming old maids… and her family makes sure that the man possesses good qualities, is from a good family, etc. The girl usually doesn’t make the decision of whom she marries.

It is also customary in an Islamic country’s culture for a woman to wear a hijab in front of anyone who isn’t an immediate family member; these members include the husband, brother, father, but not the cousin. A hijab is a garment used to wrap around a woman’s face.

Another aspect of life Islam permits for men is to be polygamous (to have more than one spouse at the same time). Men can be married to up to four women simultaneously, while women can only be married to one. However, if the man fears that he shall not be able to deal justly with them, then he should only marry one (Chatper 4: Surat Al-Nisa, Verse 3).

The richness of this particular line comes from the comparison Frank Ocean is making between Western “American” marriages and Islamic marriages. It is almost a common view among westerners that Islamic traditional marriages are too restrictive. Frank Ocean is trying to make us question our own social norms: are the marriages that are socially acceptable in western societies really better than those of other cultures? It would seem he is trying to point out that our point of view is an extreme opposite to that of traditional societies. Being too liberal about marriage creates its own set of social problems.

I’m too not sure it’s a case of being too liberal with marriage, I think it’s more a dig at how the love aspect of marriage is lost, it’s just as corporate as everything else in US these days.

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