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  1. #1
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    Default Polygamy - Can Anyone Explain the Appeal.

    I am not being judgmental, but I just can't understand polygamy.
    Specifically, I can't understand how it works for the women involved.

    I watched Big Love.
    I watched a bit of 'Sister Wives' - but just can't stand even looking at the husband, and last night I watched an episode of I think it is called, My Five Wives.

    I think I have an open mind, and I am not coming from any 'Marriage is *This*' stance, I just don't understand the appeal for the women involved.
    The men, yes.

    Can anyone explain why a woman would want to enter into this kind of arrangement?
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  2. #2
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    Default

    Don't know the stories you are watching, but for some their religion tells them to do it.


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  3. #3
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    Default

    I suppose I can see some advantage, especially if the wives are of the "be fruitful and multiply" bent - many hands make light(er) work, and there is (or ought to be) a built-in support system. And, I suppose, if you're Just Not That Into Him, you can be in a family unit but perhaps let the other wives deal with the husband?

    I dunno. I don't share well, so it wouldn't work for me, even if the situation was areligious.


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  4. #4
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    Default

    I don't know either, like paw said - I don't share well, and hell no to sharing my husband with other woman! Just like I would never ask him to share me with other men!

    BUT - If someone doesn't mind sharing, I see no reason why they shouldn't be able to, even legally.


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  5. #5
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    Default

    Of course I understand that it usually is religion based, but that doesn't change my question.
    Most religions are male-oriented,and I think polygamy - seems - to fall into the realm of male fantasy.

    My thoughts are not 'just' based on fictional and reality television, which may or may not be modelled to be more appealing to the audience.
    And of course I am approaching it from my own experiences, my own expectations.... but I would hate to have to not just share, but compete for the attentions of my husband.

    Are women in these situations happy I wonder?
    A FINE ROMANCE - JC Reg Thoroughbred - GOLD Premium CSHA - ISR/OLDNA Approved
    CSHA Brickenden Stallion Award Winner - for Performance offspring.
    Please visit A Fine Romance on FB!


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  6. #6
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    Jun. 23, 2011
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    Default

    I always tease DH that i am going to get a sister wife. The way they have it presented is pretty cool... This one is the breadwinner, another one loves to cook and clean, the third one takes care of all the kids. Normal wives have to do all of that crap all alone!! DH won't hear of it, twice as many ppl to bitch him out.


    21 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Besides being on reality TV shows, how do these couples make a living supporting that many wives and kids? While I've only watched 1 episode of Sister Wives out of curiosity, didn't appear to me that any of them worked but they were living quite well. I don't get why any woman would want the arrangement unless they like the idea of having kids and a part time husband. For the men, that's pretty obvious, however, if he married 5 women with horses he might think twice about it. Now I could see a woman, especially with horses wanting 5 husbands to support her and her ponies!
    "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."
    ~Gypsy saying


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  8. #8
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    Jun. 23, 2011
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    The husband on that show had a full time career as well as the second wife janelle. They had to relocate to las Vegas due to negative attention brought on them by the show, but before the show they were self supporting. Now I believe that it is the show that keeps them afloat as we as the side business sister wives closet. Cody and janelle may be working again too.


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  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by js View Post
    Besides being on reality TV shows, how do these couples make a living supporting that many wives and kids? While I've only watched 1 episode of Sister Wives out of curiosity, didn't appear to me that any of them worked but they were living quite well.
    In general how this works is that there is a single legal marriage to one wife, and the rest claim to be single mothers and are on public assistance. Depending on faith (see LDS/FLDS info below), it's entirely possible that the church is kicking in some money as well for continuing to uphold its mandates.

    I can't think of any recent polygamist publicity that has not stemmed from some variant of the LDS (Mormon) church. Maybe there are some sexual adventurers out there who are practicing it for pleasure, but in general it is related to some form of religious belief.

    In the case of the Mormons, founder Joseph Smith and later Brigham Young (considered prophets speaking for or interpreting for God) not only espoused it, but essentially commanded it for salvation. The LDS church has since changed its official stance to a non-endorsement of polygamy, but many still believe that the church just has to say that to be in compliance with the law, and practice it believing that it is essential to a higher level of salvation.

    I'm sure there are some other faiths and ethnic groups that practice it as well. I'm not sure that pleasure or love or fun comes into many of these unions, but instead a feeling that they are following a religious or cultural directive necessary for advancement either here or in the next life (although, as in Eastern arranged marriages, they probably come to love/admire/respect each other, and many arranged marriages have a better success rate than our "Western" marriages). And as we've seen with the Warren Jeffs trials, there is much abuse of the "system," with forced marriages of underage girls, consanguinity, etc.
    Last edited by cllane1; Mar. 14, 2014 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Adding more, on my computer instead of my phone!
    Jonah 4:4: And the Lord said, "Do you do well to be angry?"

    With every day that passes, college football season gets that much closer!


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  10. #10
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    Default

    i think for those involved, it is a sense of community and help raising the kids. also of course is the religious aspect, but i think the women really just like the way they live. many of them have seen their parents live this way and have decided it will work for them. i could not do it, only b/c i get lonely when my hubby is at work. i am not someone who likes to spend time by myself. So if it was not my evening, i'd be pretty bummed out.


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  11. #11
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    Default

    I definitely see the appeal. I think many adults in one household have more family time to raise their children without having to sacrifice career or family or self. To my mind it's a lot more flexible than the nuclear family when it comes to stuff like that. I can also see the appeal of having so many women to connect with. And if you all love the same man, then it's brilliant.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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  12. #12
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    For most cultures that practice polygamy, it's about labor -- women do the most labor, so it's beneficial to a man to have more wives (in order to boost his own social status and wealth, of course). In the Kapauku culture, for example (Papua New Guinea), women are responsible for raising yams and pigs, which are both measures of wealth.

    It also ensures that all women are taken care of in a society. I have heard that is part of the reason why early Mormons practiced polygamy (and then it became part of their religious beliefs as well -- but again, this is what I heard, I'm not Mormon).

    Women, of course, share the work; there is a hierarchy; younger women can be mentored and there's help with the children and work loads.

    There are also a few cultures out there that practice polyandry -- one woman, several men.


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  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cllane1 View Post
    In general how this works is that there is a single legal marriage to one wife, and the rest claim to be single mothers and are on public assistance. Depending on faith (see LDS/FLDS info below), it's entirely possible that the church is kicking in some money as well for continuing to uphold its mandates.

    I can't think of any recent polygamist publicity that has not stemmed from some variant of the LDS (Mormon) church. Maybe there are some sexual adventurers out there who are practicing it for pleasure, but in general it is related to some form of religious belief.

    In the case of the Mormons, founder Joseph Smith and later Brigham Young (considered prophets speaking for or interpreting for God) not only espoused it, but essentially commanded it for salvation. The LDS church has since changed its official stance to a non-endorsement of polygamy, but many still believe that the church just has to say that to be in compliance with the law, and practice it believing that it is essential to a higher level of salvation.

    I'm sure there are some other faiths and ethnic groups that practice it as well. I'm not sure that pleasure or love or fun comes into many of these unions, but instead a feeling that they are following a religious or cultural directive necessary for advancement either here or in the next life (although, as in Eastern arranged marriages, they probably come to love/admire/respect each other, and many arranged marriages have a better success rate than our "Western" marriages). And as we've seen with the Warren Jeffs trials, there is much abuse of the "system," with forced marriages of underage girls, consanguinity, etc.
    That was true with the Warren Jeff's group (public assistance). Other countries and religions practice polygamy, but only in cultures where women don't have much freedom.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


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  14. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    That was true with the Warren Jeff's group (public assistance). Other countries and religions practice polygamy, but only in cultures where women don't have much freedom.
    True, LauraKY. I was thinking more in the vein of the LDS/FLDS rather than other countries/religions/groups, because that is what I'm more familiar with and associate polygamy with.
    Jonah 4:4: And the Lord said, "Do you do well to be angry?"

    With every day that passes, college football season gets that much closer!


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  15. #15
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    Default

    It is so hard to get along most of the time with two people involved, much less add more and more to the mix.

    I think the stress level would be much higher in multiple adults households, especially when they juggle for access and/or control of this or that resource of several in their lives.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex and Bodie's Mom View Post
    For most cultures that practice polygamy, it's about labor -- women do the most labor, so it's beneficial to a man to have more wives (in order to boost his own social status and wealth, of course). In the Kapauku culture, for example (Papua New Guinea), women are responsible for raising yams and pigs, which are both measures of wealth.

    It also ensures that all women are taken care of in a society. I have heard that is part of the reason why early Mormons practiced polygamy (and then it became part of their religious beliefs as well -- but again, this is what I heard, I'm not Mormon).

    Women, of course, share the work; there is a hierarchy; younger women can be mentored and there's help with the children and work loads.

    There are also a few cultures out there that practice polyandry -- one woman, several men.
    The point of taking care of women is HUGE for why this was used heavily in the early days of the LDS church. It was not uncommon at all for men to be killed by mobs, and leave large numbers of widows behind. Polygamy kept the women cared for when they otherwise may have truly struggled (especially with many of them having young children). Situations like Haun's Mill weren't exactly one-offs. My husband's family are VERY old-stock LDS, and while they haven't been polygamists for several generations, there's quite a bit of family history documenting it from back when it was a thing. Today, it's socially acceptable for women to have a job, and there are supports for single mothers that simply didn't exist at that time. The mainstream LDS church discontinued polygamy well over 100 years ago, and it's simply not needed today. Truly though, if you were a young 20-something with five children who found yourself widowed in a society that seriously frowned on women working outside the home, having that means of taking care of the children and being able to survive would probably overcome a lot of the negative feelings about it.

    Today, practicing polygamy WILL get you booted out of the LDS church in a hurry. There are several offshoots (there was a serious schism when the LDS church discontinued the practice) that are sure the mainstream church made a massive mistake, but the mainstream church will not touch it. And other posters make great points about polygamy in other cultures. I can't speak for any of those, since I don't have familiarity with those cultures, but I'm happy to answer questions from the LDS end of things.


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  17. #17
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    In France, there have been many instances of Muslim men having multiple wives ie really one legal one and multiple others who all claim social assistance. Since they get money every month for themselves and their children, it is very lucrative. They all live together or in apartments nearby, share the work, etc.
    Obviously, the government frowns upon it and actively searches for these situations. But they still exist! It is partly the reason why there are so many muslims in France...


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  18. #18
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    If polygamy exists (here in the U.S.) simply because more spouses means more family time, more "me" time, less onerous work load, etc., why do the plural marriages we see consist of one husband and multiple wives? Why not one one wife and multiple husbands? Or are women the only gender considered worker bee busy enough to make it worthwhile?

    I think it is a construct of men. Joseph Smith conveniently happened to have a prophecy that instructed him in the heavenly order to take many wives during a time when he was coincidentally finding himself attracted to women other than his wife. "Seriously", whispered the Angel. "God wants you to..."

    Then, when Utah really, really, really wanted statehood, another very convenient prophecy was offered: No! Polygamy is wrong after all and we won't engage in it any more.

    I truly believe that Joseph Smith was a horny dude who got caught stepping out and covered his tracks by proclaiming it a duty of the Godly. The whole idea of a celestial family? Really? Heavenly Father loves those who have the biggest families the best, and the easiest way to get the biggest family is to father as many children as possible on as many wives as possible? I had no idea that heaven would be so rife with braggarts.

    The current day FLDS compounds run off the young men because the old farts don't want to have to compete with them for the the young girls. Yes, the old women get traded around like cattle when a husband dies. But the young girls are the ones that get handed out as signs of favor, like highly sought after raffle prizes.

    No. I think that if there were a reason other than male pride and libido, there would be much more gender fluidity in how these plural marriages are built and we would see more (any?) women with many husbands and not just men with many wives.
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  19. #19
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    Polygamy is about subjugating women. I can't understand it either. The women are raised to be submissive and surely cannot wish for this state - in fact they don't get the choice, but accept it.

    Open marriage - also, I cannot understand that, either. More about free sex and libido on both sides.
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  20. #20
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    I don't think I'd agree that polygamy is about subjugating women or that the women in it are submissive. There are many informal polygamous relationships (for where the wife knows the other woman and the three live in peace). I guess it's a matter of perspective. IMO many women and one man surely puts the women more in a position of power than the one man.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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