I just finished a short novel by Amy See called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It is a story of two sworn sisters in China (early 19th century). They are matched to be emotional sisters and their committment to eachother is like that to a husband. At that time, this relationship was to be the most important and meaningful of their lives.
A weakness of our society is that, as a whole, we do not value commitment like this. Maybe too, that women find it difficult (practically) to value eachother. I've thought that it may be because we don't value ourselves, but after reading this book, I wonder if we value ourselves too much, thus the difficulty in committing to eachother.
Our communities are not tied to our history like in this book, either. They have traditions that enrich their history, things that remain constant. All these traditions would feel like enormous burdens to us (especially as a woman), but there is something intriguing about it.
While it isn't a true story, I think it was historically accurate. It was extremely sad to realize how women were treated in the time. There were so many rules they had to follow, and so many superstitions that they had to live by. They labored intensely and were on the lowest rung of society. It reminded me about how my circumstances in life are so pleasant.