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  1. #1
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    Default Sister Wives

    What do you think? I watched a few episodes yesterday after someone called me out on being a Judgy McJudgypants. I won't lie, I find it a bit gross. The idea of sharing my man with two or three other women...

    But they certainly seem like normal people outside of the whole polygamy thing. However, I was rather disturbed when I watching an episode where the husband was celebrating his 20th anniversary with his first wife. She admits freely throughout the show that she has jealousy issues. I was surprised that she admitted and have always thought it would be really hard to share. And while the wives do a great job of sharing, there is definitely some real (what I would consider normal) feelings.

    The first wife asked the husband to imagine how he would feel if she had another husband or a lover. And he said something to the effect of "I can't...that's vulgar. I can't even IMAGINE that." And while he openly admitted it was completely hypocritical, she said he still says things that hurt her feelings like "You chose this life" etc. And she admits that she did and she loves the lifestyle, but she still has these feelings. I'm trying not to be so judgmental, but it's really hard when he says/acts in ways that obviously hurt the wives!

    The intro of the show the husband says love should be multiplied and not divided, but only multiplied amongst the number of women you love? And not the number of men they love? I understand there is polyandry where a woman has multiple husbands. But I don't understand why one poly-love can't accept another?



  2. #2
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    I could never marry a pologamist, no matter how much I liked the person. I guess to each their own but I could see major jealousy/insecurity issues being a problem in that situation and that's not healthy for any relationship. I know I would be majorly jealous and insecure if my husband had another woman - legally married or not.
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  3. #3
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    I can't stand to watch shows like that. I count 17 Kids and Counting (or whatever number they're on now) with it, since they're part of the Quiverfull movement which also teaches the cult of domesticity and that a woman's value is based in her role as a wife and mother, and women who choose otherwise (if they're even able to, in the case of polygamist goups) are wrong or messed up or whatever. The reason is that I am really bothered by how they gloss over the sexism that is inherent in those religious beliefs, and how limited those women are in their choices. I mean, I've seen preachers in the quiverfull movement tell abused women that it is their fault and they need to be better wives so their husbands won't beat them. Yeah...not okay.

    I would watch a show that presented healthy and happy polygamist/quiverfull families (as I am certain that they are out there) while still examining the problematic issues in those societies and belief systems. But instead I worry that it normalizes these beliefs which have serious consequences for women who don't want that.

    And yeah, IMO the only time the "love should be multiplied" argument makes sense at all is when every person involved can take multiple partners.



  4. #4
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    What you're seeing on that show is a SPECIFIC belief when it comes to polygamy (in this case that only polygyny is ok -- 1 man with multiple wives). They are basing their deeply held religious beliefs on their interpretation of the Bible, which to them means women don't get multiple husbands. If it works for them, that's their choice. At least they're showing "healthy" polygyny instead of the wackjobs that go for arranged marriages and underage brides. They also have a fantastic attitude when it comes to the life choices of their kids... which I applaud them for! FWIW and in the cause of full disclosure, I just finished watching season 1 on Netflix last night and was in a polyamorous relationship for over 5 years.

    People always ask about jealousy, and they address it. I wish they'd go more into detail on HOW they worked on the relationships between the wives (which battled the jealousy issue), but I do know it is possible to get to a point where you don't feel jealous when your spouse is with another love. You start feeling good about it actually (technical term is "compersion") where you really understand that 1 person cannot be EVERYTHING to another and you want your partner to be happy. There's a lot more to it than that (knowing the other person isn't going to hurt your partner, seeing them grow in a positive way being around the other person, etc.), but that's the basics.

    Some people can do poly relationships, some can't. It's just the way it is. I find some of the communication issues on teh show interesting (knowing that communication is THE absolute key to making this kind of relationship work).

    I do think they have one thing absolutely correct though and I think it's an attitude that NEEDS to be more prevalent in our society -- they aren't hurting anyone else so why can't they be together?
    ************
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  5. #5
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    (but then again, who would want to have more than one husband...imagine them getting the flu at the same time....)

    Yes, it's the inequality of the set up. What's good for the gander is good for the goose, you know.

    I can see advantages of not being the only woman in the house. But that is for the day time hour stuff. The after hour idea, hmm, really can't wrap my mind around.

    But those setups are usually just the means to justify and excuse men behaving badly.
    Somewhere I saw a story about this young couple. He converted them to Islam (you see where this is going, no?) and then he informed her that he was taking on a second wife. Church sanctioned screw job.
    (it's like the homosexuality thing: Girl on Girl "UH, can I watch' Boy on boy "EEEWWW you sick bastards')
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tle View Post
    I do think they have one thing absolutely correct though and I think it's an attitude that NEEDS to be more prevalent in our society -- they aren't hurting anyone else so why can't they be together?
    I do want to say that I agree with this. I wouldn't outlaw what they're doing (though I do think we should crack down on the polygamist sects that encourage underage brides and arranged marriages that are more or less forced). As long as everyone involved in the marriage (not counting kids, who I don't think are hurt by growing up in a loving but non-traditional home--I'd rather see them with multiple loving moms than one who is abusive, for example) is a consenting adult, they should do what they want.

    I just am really bothered by the power dynamics in these shows, the lack of choice that is associated with those religious beliefs, and the way the shows totally gloss over that. I understand it is just reality TV for entertainment, but it bothers me. I wouldn't lobby for the shows to be cancelled, but I sure won't be watching them.

    edit: FTR, I've done the polygamy thing too, though you better believe that if my husband has multiple partners I will too. Though I'm happiest being monogamous, and I also know other happy and healthy polygamist couples who have different setups, and I'm fine with that. It's more the framework that these particular families operate in than their actual lifestyles that bothers me, if that makes sense.



  7. #7
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    But those setups are usually just the means to justify and excuse men behaving badly.
    Only the well publicized ones it seems where somethign is wrong. It's a stereotype and generalization that is simply not true.

    The things the women... well, all of them really, talk about in the opening credits... the women working together, love multiplied, etc... those things ARE real and do happen. At the same time, jealousy does happen (how often COMPLETELY depends on the individuals involved) but so much good and happiness can happen too.
    ************
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CosMonster View Post
    I just am really bothered by the power dynamics in these shows, the lack of choice that is associated with those religious beliefs, and the way the shows totally gloss over that. I understand it is just reality TV for entertainment, but it bothers me. I wouldn't lobby for the shows to be cancelled, but I sure won't be watching them.
    Using the show as the example...
    1) I can only really think of one time during season 1 that Kody made a decision he deemed to be THE decision -- when they moved. Otherwise, the decisions really do seem to be made within their household based on democracy (or the wives make the decision and inform him later! LOL)

    2) All of the women in the show knew what they were getting into and CHOSE that life in one way or another. The 3rd wife, for example, Christine, even knew she didn't want to be a 1st or 2nd... she literally WANTED to be a 3rd. Wife #4 used to be monogamous (even in a religious poly culture) but was divorced and ok with being wife #4. And even when it came to taking #4... it was #1's introduction that sparked it! I'm sure you meant the power to be mono or poly, but even within a strict poly culture there's choice and the women do have power... it's just different. And also all the parents have stated through season 1 that they are ok with whatever their kids want to do -- mono or poly. And I think that's honestly how they feel. It's more truly wanting happiness for their kids regardless of how they find it (ask my parents LOL).

    Yes, it's all edited for entertainment (kind of annoying to see the same scene over and over to be honest)... for drama factor. But overall I think they do a decent job on the show.

    As for non-show related examples... power? In teh VAST majority of poly arrangements I know, the women hold a LOT of power. And polyandry situations are not as uncommon as this show and the stereotypes make them out to be.
    ************
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  9. #9
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    I was only talking about the shows I mentioned/religious polygamy for the power/freedom issues. As I said I have no problem with poly relationships.

    I don't know, I haven't watched the whole show. I've seen exactly two episodes and I saw a few things in each one that bothered me. I'll defer to your superior knowledge as far as the specifics of that particular family, but I do think that religious polygamy has some major issues involved.

    I don't doubt that this particular family is probably pretty healthy and just wants what is best for their kids, but I don't think that's necessarily representative of all families that are poly for religious reasons and I question the ethics of holding this family up as the norm for those communities without exploring that. That's all I'm saying.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tle View Post
    I do think they have one thing absolutely correct though and I think it's an attitude that NEEDS to be more prevalent in our society -- they aren't hurting anyone else so why can't they be together?
    Yes this family does appear to be relatively normal by polygamist standards and, in isolation, probably aren't hurting anyone else - the wives are of age and the children are getting good educations. However, I live in a state that has seen a lot of the fallout from polygamy in FLDS communities. In such communities, the boys are some of the biggest victims. They are kicked out as teenagers because there are no wives for them, but they have no education to prepare them for life in the outside world. Abuse of the welfare system is also extremely common in many cases, though this does not appear to be the case with Kody and his family.



  11. #11
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    the women working together, love multiplied, etc... those things ARE real and do happen.
    yeah, but this doesn't require they all share one man- you can, and do, get communities where several women group together to help each other live and raise children. Often they are related (sisters + mom), sometimes just friends.
    In fact, you'd think such a community would benefit from having two or more men per woman- you could send some of the men out to work paying jobs and bring in money, and keep some home to do labor, plus the benefits in the bedroom of having more than one of the sex with lower stamina.

    I think the "one man multiple women" model is all about sexism, period. If it were about practicalities or personal choice it wouldn't end up as one man multiple women.



  12. #12
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    The whole clan physically sickens me.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by akrogirl View Post
    In such communities, the boys are some of the biggest victims. They are kicked out as teenagers because there are no wives for them, but they have no education to prepare them for life in the outside world. Abuse of the welfare system is also extremely common in many cases, though this does not appear to be the case with Kody and his family.
    I'm bothered by these aspects of it too.... often abuse or exile of the boy-children and reliance upon welfare systems to support wives 2+ and their offspring.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by akrogirl View Post
    Yes this family does appear to be relatively normal by polygamist standards and, in isolation, probably aren't hurting anyone else - the wives are of age and the children are getting good educations. However, I live in a state that has seen a lot of the fallout from polygamy in FLDS communities. In such communities, the boys are some of the biggest victims. They are kicked out as teenagers because there are no wives for them, but they have no education to prepare them for life in the outside world. Abuse of the welfare system is also extremely common in many cases, though this does not appear to be the case with Kody and his family.

    The stories of te "Lost Boys" are heartbreaking. To be taught all their young lives that multiple wives are the path to eternal salvation and then to be kicked out of the community with no survival skills must be devastating.

    I also wonder how many poly relationships break up when the man meets a woman who won't share, IOW "If you want me, ditch THEM"
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolprudm View Post
    The stories of te "Lost Boys" are heartbreaking. To be taught all their young lives that multiple wives are the path to eternal salvation and then to be kicked out of the community with no survival skills must be devastating.

    I also wonder how many poly relationships break up when the man meets a woman who won't share, IOW "If you want me, ditch THEM"
    The problem is, in the polygamist cultures, the women aren't brought up to think this way. The idea of telling a man that he can't have more than one wife doesn't really occur to them.

    I had some dealings with a polygamist cult (Tony Alamo) a couple of years age when the FBI and State Police raided their compound and removed about 30+ kids. There were underaged and forced marriages, beatings, and the boys were used mostly as slave labor. I think this is the norm for most of the cults like the Alamos and the FLDS. The Sister Wives scenario is the exception to the rule. Most of the polygamous wives are little girls who have no choice. One of the witnesses in my case testified about playing with Barbies with her friend when they were 11 years old. While they were playing, the friend's mother got a call from the "Prophet" telling her that the the girl had been chosen to marry a man 20 years her senior. When the girl's mother protested that her daughter was a child still playing with dolls, she was told that the girl could bring her dolls with her.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonriverfarm View Post
    The whole clan physically sickens me.
    There's an enlightened comment. Care to elaborate?
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  17. #17
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    I was drawn to the show out of pure curiosity and I love it now. There is NO way I could live in that kind of relationship personally. However, if all poly families are like the Brown's I would have no issues with it.....who am I to tell them how to live their life? As long as they are not hurting anyone it shouldn't be a big deal.....kind of like same sex marriages. What I have a huge issue with are the ones who use the smoke screen of religion to molest and rape young girls

    My husband thinks that Kody is crazy because he thinks one wife is more than enough
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  18. #18
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    Cody Brown and his "Sister Wives" appear to be prosperous. I have read that in the notorious polygamist communities, taxes and welfare issues are a tremendous problem. Only one wife is recognized legally, and all the others apply for public assistance as single mothers with lots of children. It then becomes the responsibility of the tax paying public to pay for all of their needs- educational, medical, transportation, legal, etc.



  19. #19
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    The show itself is kindof repulsive, I think. Not the wives part, but their regular lives. If it was just one wife, it would be so incredibly snoozeworthy. The sister wives and their relationships to each other, not to the husband, is the most interesting part. I would like a sister wife or two, then I would have more riding/barn time! I like the idea of not being the sole partner in a relationship. I dont know how it could really work, but if the integrity of the wives as people could be respected that would be cool. Not really into the idea of open relationships, where your partner would be sleeping around with who knows, and diverting his energy away from a primary relationship, but bringing someone into it to bolster a family unit, is much more appealing. My Mom is addicted so I have seen the show, but its just too white bread, mostly mainstream values except for the polygamy that its not interesting. The little people show too, is boring too, for the "were just like everyone else" (but incredibly different)



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by chizmom View Post
    Cody Brown and his "Sister Wives" appear to be prosperous. I have read that in the notorious polygamist communities, taxes and welfare issues are a tremendous problem. Only one wife is recognized legally, and all the others apply for public assistance as single mothers with lots of children. It then becomes the responsibility of the tax paying public to pay for all of their needs- educational, medical, transportation, legal, etc.
    Yes, fraud is a big problem in some of the communities. But not everyone is like that. Yes you can only be LEGALLY married to one person at a time, but beyond that what you do is (or at least should be) your business as long as we're talking about consenting adults.
    ************
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