Thursday, August 2, 2012

An Feminist Ally For Polyamory

Another feminist wrote at Flowers and Feminism about polyamory...
Modern-day polyamory is intertwined with the rise of feminism and its roots go as far back as the 1840s. Flouting the repression and conservativeness of the Victorian era, the most radical women renounced monogamy as a tool of their oppression. The anarchist Emma Goldman lived with her boyfriend and another couple, and the four of them often made love together. The first books on the polyamory movement were written by women; a sizeable number of polyamorous households consist of more men than women
Polyamory can definitely be feminist. It is up to the individuals involves. A woman is polyamorous as part of who she is should not be expected to conform to monogamy. Same goes for a man.

But when we enter into a monogamous relationship with another person, we enter into a series of unsaid expectations of how that relationship will function. Polyamory is different because it forces you to have open discussion about these expectations. Society does not yet have a preformed package of expectations for poly relationships. And talking on equal terms about how to structure your relationship rather than defaulting to the unspoken heteronormative is beneficial for all parties. There are fewer cracks through which insidious power dynamics can creep. 
Monogamists should not leave expectations unsaid. Nobody should. People need to communicate when they are making plans with another person or other people, and not take the stance that if an expectation is never said, it can never be challenged and is binding on the other person.

I’m not suggesting that we should all reject monogamy; it’s working pretty well for me at the moment. What needs to change is the widespread closed-mindedness regarding different relationship structures and the assumption that polyamory is somehow less valuable or viable than other relationship structures. We should question our monogamy because in most cases we didn’t freely choose it. We defaulted to it.
It is good to have an ally. More people are realizing polyamory is for them. Many people will consider it but ultimate stick with monogamy. That's great. The important thing is that they are truly free to consider it.

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