Friday, June 29, 2012

When There Are Four First Ladies

Peter Ndoria wrote had something published about a month ago under the title "Wired for Polygamy." It appears to be in response to South African President Jacob Zuma marrying his fourth wife.
In the tight strictures of a political career in a modern country, few would dare come out and endorse a practice that others consider ‘primitive’, ‘out-dated’ and ‘unfaithful’.

Yet if one were to bear in mind the number of politicians caught in illicit affairs, the list would be mind-boggling. From the infamous Profumo Affair that almost brought down the British government in 1963 to JF Kennedy’s rumoured liaisons with Marylyn Monroe and big names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, former British Prime Minister John Major, 2004 American Presidential running mate John Edwards, not forgetting President Bill Clinton, it is a randy male world.

Could it, perhaps, be that man was not designed to be monogamous?
As I always say, monogamy does work for some. When it comes to law and how we handle marriage as a community, whether or not polygamy or monogamy is "natural" is irrelevant. We have lives filled with things that aren't natural. Let consenting adults have the relationships and marriages they want, including monogamous and various forms of polygamous. That includes women marrying multiple men, or multiple women, or both.

Edwin, a divorcee in his early 40s, believes that what we have now is ‘monogamy plagued by wanton acts of adultery’, quoting the many incidences that are the fodder of radio talk shows — married women going on and on about their detached absentee husbands and how that gap has since been filled by ‘toy boys’ and, conversely, men recounting their escapades with their ‘clandes’, away from their ‘nagging’ spouses.

In an individualistic world where divorce is easier to get, Edwin contends that a man who has married two or three times is no different from his ancestor who had three wives. This practice of having just one mate at a time or ‘serial monogamy’, where you marry, divorce and remarry is a more common fa├žade.
Polygyny in a time and place where women have no right or fewer rights than men is not the same thing as polygyny entered into by women who have equality under the law and real choices. I do think with full marriage equality as part of gender equality, any form of ethical nonmonogamy is a better way of handling life than cheating.

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