Friday, September 2, 2011

Another Feminist Perspective on Religion-Based Polygyny

A. Lynn, self-described Nerdy Feminist, writes “Polygamy: I Just Don't Get It.” She was prompted by listening to a recent interview on NPR.

She's saying that she turned to polygamy because all the household responsibilities fell on her. But what I would say is that this situation could have been easily remedied with a less strict view of gender roles and a more equal balance of power in the existing marriage. In other words, all she really needed was a dose of feminism.

To be fair, for most female polygynists, it is about more than just having someone to help around the house.

This is so strange to me, because throughout the segment she seems to see polygamy as the only logical solution to sharing responsibilities.

Yes, there are other options, but polygyny should be one of them.

That's the problem I really have with polygamy: it's all too often rooted in misogyny. In my good liberal mind, I can agree that it's fine to let consenting adults do what consenting adults want, but this set up is nevertheless problematic.

I wouldn’t want to restrict freedom by singling out polygyny to be banned. We should have the polygamous freedom to marry, whether that is three or more men, three or more women, polygyny, polyandry, an even number of men and women, or some other combination.

(And it would be remiss to not note that the most radical of these situations don't even involve adults.)

The most radical of monogamous situations don’t even involve adults. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about consenting adults.

Reading the who blog entry, A. Lynn’s issue really has to do with gender roles under a specific religious tradition. It is possible to have polygyny without the things with which A. Lynn is concerned, and of course other forms of polygamy are less likely have the same issues.

If a woman truly wants to enter into a polygynous situation, she should have that freedom just like she should be able to marry two men, or two women, or a man and a woman. Let people have the relationships they want, as far as the law goes. Socially, on the personal level, discourage people from making self-destructive relationships choices. You may be able to see that someone you know is headed that way. The law can't, and it shouldn't try.
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