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Sister Wives

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Violet
Well, I think polygamy became legal, polyandry should also be legal. As long as all adults are consenting, legal adults, I don't see how it's my business what they do with their life. If no abuse, fraud or other criminal act is being committed, I say do as you wish if it's not hurting anyone.

I totally agree - it's not my choice, but if that's how someone else wants to live their life then let them. Don't get me wrong, I do find the Browns annoying at times (especially Kody), but what made me respect them was their attitude towards their children - they insisted that it would be their children's choice to marry. Yes they would probably be disappointed if they did not choose polygamy, but that's kind of a natural parent thing like: I think my mum is disappointed that I've basically turned my back on Christianity like my dad (i.e. how she raised me.) - does that mean she loves me any less or has turned against me? No, not at all.

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SisiL78

Well, I think polygamy became legal, polyandry should also be legal. As long as all adults are consenting, legal adults, I don't see how it's my business what they do with their life. If no abuse, fraud or other criminal act is being committed, I say do as you wish if it's not hurting anyone.

I've met poly-couples where they are clearly not patriarchal. Also, I think the Browns get somewhat of a pass b/c they are dysfunctional, not abusive. They get a pass to a certain extent b/c they don't stifle their children or teach outright hate and intolerance. Their kids, unlike the Duggar or Bates children, have the option to not follow in their parent's religion and will still be considered part of the family. The kids also have the opportunity to go to college and have jobs and independence and express a different opinion. While I find their lifestyle to be disagreeable I do think that they are a better example of a normal and functional family than the other fundies.

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Patsy
Polygamy requires patriarchy. We snark at patriarchy on this site when it applies to monogamous Christians, but not when it comes to polygamy. Double standard.

I think the Maxwells' marriage is snarkable and patriarchal; the fact that I would, if asked, support the legality of 2 person marriage but want forced 2 person marriage criminalised doesn't mean I condone their lives.

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JenniferJuniper

I don't give the Browns any passes; I think all of the adults living in that mess are idiots. And I do not think polygamy should be encouraged for a host of societal reasons. But in many respects, we are doing an apples to oranges thing when we try compare them to most of the hardcore fundies discussed out here. The adults are minimally modest, but don't seem to strictly enforce modesty rules on their kids, the kids all go to public schools and the girls are being encouraged to purse secondary education and careers. Kody admitted he suspected his oldest son would probably experiment with sex and maybe more, but he still let him move into a dorm. They don't hate gay people.

Does all this make Kody a great guy? Nah, he's still a childish douche who thinks he should be king. He's just too incompetent to pull off the patriarchal thing and he married women who, for the most part, don't accept his authoritah. Kody's failure at this game is actually what makes Sister Wives a fairly entertaining show. And this failure also makes him impossible to compare with all of the other patriarchal assholes we snark on.

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veron1que

While yes there is a level of patriarchy in polygamy, I don't think it's fair to claim they are at the same level of patriarchy as some of the fundamentalist Christians.

In many fundie families the daughters stay at home under the authority of their father until they are married and are then under the authority of their husband. They do not have absolute control over their marriage, as prospective husbands must be approved by their father. They are discouraged from pursuing jobs and have very little independence.

In contrast, the Browns are women who do live in a patriarchal society, but they have jobs, have a level of choice in their marriages, and to some degree feel like they have some power in their marriage, like Jenelle choosing to leave the family, and Robyn's divorce. They don't control everything their children do, and don't expect every one of them to follow in their footsteps.

I don't think anyone is saying that polygamy is not a flawed system, but some would argue that monogamous marriage itself is a flawed institution. Many (un-fundie) women are married to sexist men who maintain a level of patriarchy in their own households. Many homes are headed by dominant father figure where strict gender roles are assumed. I think it's hard to draw the line between when this is a lifestyle choice and an abusive situation. I don't feel it's my place to snark on women who chose a patriarchal lifestyle just because I wouldn't make that choice. I do, however, gladly criticize them for their hypocrisy, intolerance of other view points, stupidly, failure to organize themselves, and blind devotion to the Book of Mormon.

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cjsmom

For me, holding up the Browns as a reason why polygamy should be either legal or decriminalized is not the way to go. I see four separate relationships, and a lot of tension. If anything, based solely on what I see on Sister Wives, I don't understand why anyone would choose polygamy.

I live a couple of hours away from Bountiful, BC. I see women of the Blackstock/Jeffs factions on a regular basis, but of course, the women are encouraged to not communicate with me being that they've been taught their whole lives that I am evil and a threat.

Were polygamy legalized, and therefore recognized in the legal system, I can't help but think how many publicly-funded social services could be set up in nearby communities (there are bigger, secular centres near Bountiful) to help girls be educated beyond Grade 8, to help the Lost Boys, and to help women if they wish or need to leave the community.

I'm very much against patriarchy, and I'm thankful this board exists so as to snark on the movement as a means to awareness and education, but it might be okay to legalize polygamy and still fight the patriarchal movement if it meant more support for everyone who has their rights violated in the name of patriarchy.

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valsa
Polygamy requires patriarchy. We snark at patriarchy on this site when it applies to monogamous Christians, but not when it comes to polygamy. Double standard.

I'll be sure to tell the bolded to the lesbian triad I know. I'm sure they'll be very suprised to hear it.

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EyeQueue

I'll be sure to tell the bolded to the lesbian triad I know. I'm sure they'll be very suprised to hear it.

And I once knew one polyamorous triad (female-male-male) in which the woman was -very much- in charge.

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gustava

Most polygamy seems to be based on religious patriarchy. The Brown women believe their only route to heaven is through a husband; while they seem to operate differently than Joe's family, they're going to their heaven via the same route--a husband. That hardly seems consensual, or less patriarchal than the Duggar's or the Pearl's. Their god requires obedience to a male.

I will narrow my perspective to religious polygamy, as I should have done from the beginning, rather than speaking so broadly. Thanks to those who pointed out non-religious examples.

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laura oz

I think what has not been recognized is that the Brown and Darger families are not representative of what polygamy really looks like. I've been doing a lot of reading and the Warren Jeffs types (prarie dress & french braid wearing women that are the fathers' possessions and husband's property) are far and away more common.

At first I didn't think it was fair to deny someone their freedom of religion, but the more I read the more against legalizing it I am. It is a patriarchal system and abuse is the nature of that beast.

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valsa
At first I didn't think it was fair to deny someone their freedom of religion, but the more I read the more against legalizing it I am. It is a patriarchal system and abuse is the nature of that beast.

The problem is that I don't see a justification for denying everyone a right just because some people abuse it.

I'll admit that I'm sensitive to the issue because I've seen so, so many people use similar reasoning to justify not legalizing gay marriage. They point out the flaws of some gay people/couples (high incidents of things like drug use, suicide, infidelity) as a reason it shouldn't be allowed for anyone.

I don't see the patriarchy or abuse that exists in some polygamous families as a reason to illegalize polygamy altogether. Patriarchy is not illegal and exist in both polygamous and monogamous marriages. Abuse is illegal no matter if it's in a polygamous or monogamous family.

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SilverBeach

Well, I think polygamy became legal, polyandry should also be legal. As long as all adults are consenting, legal adults, I don't see how it's my business what they do with their life. If no abuse, fraud or other criminal act is being committed, I say do as you wish if it's not hurting anyone.

ITA, it should be a two-way street.

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B5SnowDog
Well, I think polygamy became legal, polyandry should also be legal.

Polyandry is polygamy. Polygamy just means multiple marriage, it isn't gender specific. People seem to be using polygamy when they're actually referring to polygyny.

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SilverBeach

Polyandry is polygamy. Polygamy just means multiple marriage, it isn't gender specific. People seem to be using polygamy when they're actually referring to polygyny.

Yes, thanks, the word polygamy is so (incorrectly) closely associated with multiple wives that polyandry is forgotten about. Folks like the Browns call themselves polygamists when they are actually polygynists.

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Ellimenopy

I don't think that the Browns present a good face of polygamy, despite the adults being in it of their own volition (although, as someone pointed out, there is some religious coercion involved). The women are all terribly terribly insecure. They probably were insecure to start with, but having to fight over their husband for so many years undoubtedly made it so so much worse. And I disagree that they've kept their children out of it - by definition the kids don't get to see as much as their father. If they're the face of "normal" polygamy, then I want nothing to do with it.

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Ramona
Perhaps individual women don't mind it, but I have to wonder what's going on with them psychologically that they don't think they deserve or want a full relationship with their partner and will accept just a partial relationship.

why the assumption that they "don't think they deserve" something? or that they view it as a "partial relationship"?

perhaps they ENJOY and WANT to be in a poly relationship (note that i didn't call it "partial" -- i've never heard any poly folks refer to their relationships that way)

just because someone makes a choice that is different than the choice YOU would make doesn't mean there's anything wrong with their heads. ;-)

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valsa
And I disagree that they've kept their children out of it - by definition the kids don't get to see as much as their father.

They still see more of their father than many children of divorced parents or children whose fathers have jobs that keep them away from home for long periods of time (truck drivers, military, etc)

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Evilbad

I think there is more than a little religious coercion going on; isn't Christine the granddaughter of Rulon Allred? One of the founders of their particular sect? I think her kids are going to have the hardest time pulling away from their religion, despite what they say on camera.

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greek_chorus

why the assumption that they "don't think they deserve" something? or that they view it as a "partial relationship"?

perhaps they ENJOY and WANT to be in a poly relationship (note that i didn't call it "partial" -- i've never heard any poly folks refer to their relationships that way)

just because someone makes a choice that is different than the choice YOU would make doesn't mean there's anything wrong with their heads. ;-)

I think we need to separate the poly relationships. I don't know any polyamorous couples who refer to themselves as polygamists and they wouldn't do themselves any favors if they did. I think polyamory is odd, but at least those relationships tend to be consensual and not predatory and I chalk it up to different strokes for different folks.

There is nothing healthy about the relationships between the Browns, the Dargers, and I would argue any polygamist family. We have a group of people who've pretty much been raised in this environment that says this is the life they are supposed to want. If they don't follow this path exactly they will surely burn in hell and the only way to achieve salvation is dependent on a life that is directed by their husband who is the spiritual leader of their family, who holds the priesthood and will be the ultimate decider of who gets to be in heaven with him. That's messed up. None of these women are capable of consenting to this relationship.

How is a polygamous marriage anything but partial? These women are essentially single mothers. Most women have boyfriends who spend more time with them than Kody does with each of his wives. When one of the Brown wives needs Kody or wants to do something with him like having dinner at home, it has to be planned. Marriage is difficult enough without having to manage the needs and expectations of your sister wives.

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patsymae

"perhaps they ENJOY and WANT to be in a poly relationship (note that i didn't call it "partial" -- i've never heard any poly folks refer to their relationships that way)"

If these women are enjoying themselves, they are doing a good job of hiding it. Meri is constantly whining that it's only fair she should have more money to spend on luxuries since it's not her fault that the other women have children to feed and she doesn't. Meri and Janelle have come out and said they pretty much can't stand each other and Janelle has said that her only "sisterly" connection is that they help raise one another's children and she stays only because she doesn't want to take her kids away from their siblings. Christine has said that she thinks Kody doesn't even like her and she feels like a single mother, which is not what she signed up for. And this is the stuff they feel comfortable saying and showing on camera!

The only one who appears happy is Robyn and that's because she's dumber than a rock, she's the "hot babe" who has Kody's attention (and money, as per photos of her and Kody shopping for jewelry for Robyn while Christine is dragging her kids out of Walmart), and she has other people to pay her bills and raise her kids, neither of which she has the capacity to do herself.

I don't doubt that there are people who enjoy and want to be in poly relationships, and more power to them, but this ship of fools is a very poor advertisement for the joys of this "lifestyle."

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Evilbad

The whole concept of polygamy as the Mormons practice it is fucked up. The wives constantly compete for the mans time and attention, the first wife is treated better, sex is used as a weapon, and they first wife is somewhat expected to discipline and usually ends up bullying the other wives. It's just messed up.

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Mama Mia
"perhaps they ENJOY and WANT to be in a poly relationship (note that i didn't call it "partial" -- i've never heard any poly folks refer to their relationships that way)"

If these women are enjoying themselves, they are doing a good job of hiding it. Meri is constantly whining that it's only fair she should have more money to spend on luxuries since it's not her fault that the other women have children to feed and she doesn't. Meri and Janelle have come out and said they pretty much can't stand each other and Janelle has said that her only "sisterly" connection is that they help raise one another's children and she stays only because she doesn't want to take her kids away from their siblings. Christine has said that she thinks Kody doesn't even like her and she feels like a single mother, which is not what she signed up for. And this is the stuff they feel comfortable saying and showing on camera!

The only one who appears happy is Robyn and that's because she's dumber than a rock, she's the "hot babe" who has Kody's attention (and money, as per photos of her and Kody shopping for jewelry for Robyn while Christine is dragging her kids out of Walmart), and she has other people to pay her bills and raise her kids, neither of which she has the capacity to do herself.

I don't doubt that there are people who enjoy and want to be in poly relationships, and more power to them, but this ship of fools is a very poor advertisement for the joys of this "lifestyle."

But I think that might be one of the major downfalls of "reality" television in general. Either the show downplays and glosses over any signs of discontent, arguments, mistakes and makes everything look happy happy all the time - ala the Duggar's, or the opposite happens where the highlights are the fighting and drama and anything that goes wrong, because it is more entertaining. Plus I can't imagine that being on a reality show would do anything to improve your family functioning !

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