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The only time I'm okay with it is if two or more of the participants are bisexual (like, someone has two spouses of the same sex, but the same-sex spouses are both bisexual and love each other too).

 

But, in the majority of cases, I find polygamy to be a form of adultery at best and oppression at worst. There's a long history of unbalanced power and sexism behind the act of a man taking many women (while those women are usually forbidden from taking other husbands) that people like to ignore in the name of open-mindedness, but that CAN'T be ignored because women are still an oppressed class (I'm not fond of the idea of women marrying multiple husbands, either, or of homosexuals taking multiple homosexual spouses, but there isn't a history of oppression behind those acts and as such it leaves less of a bad taste in my mouth).

ALL marriage has an element of oppression in its history. Are you opposed to monogamous marriage even though its history includes things like marriage-by-abduction, or women having to give all of their property legally to their husbands? We need to learn from history, absolutely, but part of that includes moving forward and being willing to change.

 

I'm in a poly relationship. My girlfriend has me and a boyfriend; we all live together. I do not date or sleep with the dude, but he and I are very close friends. And he and I both love our girlfriend, and she adores us. It's all consensual and honest--isn't that the most important element of a relationship of any sort?

 

I'd love for poly marriage to be an option. To paraphrase something Stephen Fry once said: It's perfectly legal for someone to deceive their spouse and have a mistress, even a whole family, on the side. But it isn't legal for a man to say, "Listen, I love you both, you're both splendid, why don't I marry you both?" (Or a woman to two men, or whatever.) Isn't that a little strange?

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I don't think I'd ever be comfortable to be in a poly relationship, but that's just me. I'm not against it, it's not my choice or my business whether or not someone wants to be a polygamist, so I can't tell people it's wrong. If it makes the person happy, then let them do it as long as it doesn't harm or put anyone in danger.

 

I support polygamy, I just would never be a polygamist or be in a poly relationship.

Edited by DaniBoo

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All marriage has a history of unbalanced power and sexism behind it. And many one man / one woman only marriages, sadly, still are unequal in that sense.

This is true, but the inequality isn't also inherent. Polygamy (polygyny in particular) is a controlling behavior. There's a reason why male-dominated cultures and religions encourage polygyny while forbidding polyandry - it allows one man to control many women, while the women are only permitted to have (and share) a single husband.

 

If you still think polygamy isn't inherently linked to dominance, consider that in the few matriarchal (woman-dominated) societies that do exist, polyandry is the norm.

 

The point is, it's easier to have equality in a monogamous relationship than it is in a polygamous one.

 

I'm in a poly relationship. My girlfriend has me and a boyfriend; we all live together. I do not date or sleep with the dude, but he and I are very close friends. And he and I both love our girlfriend, and she adores us. It's all consensual and honest--isn't that the most important element of a relationship of any sort?

 

In cases of bisexuality, it's different. Most of what I'm saying is in regards to polygamy among straight people. The man in this case also doesn't have access to both women, which AFAIK is unique in such relationships and also changes the dynamics.

 

To paraphrase something Stephen Fry once said: It's perfectly legal for someone to deceive their spouse and have a mistress, even a whole family, on the side. But it isn't legal for a man to say, "Listen, I love you both, you're both splendid, why don't I marry you both?" (Or a woman to two men, or whatever.) Isn't that a little strange?

 

If by boyfriend/husband tried either on me, I'd be all "bye."

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The point is, it's easier to have equality in a monogamous relationship than it is in a polygamous one.

It remains the fact, however, that both mono and polygamous relationships can be non-oppressive.

 

Poly isn't necessarily one of one sex and several of the other. It can be two/two, two/three etc. - I know the kind of poly where a man essentially has two "wives" and one of the "wives" in return has two other "husbands", out of which one has a second "wife" in return. (With the first man having no relationship with the third wife.) Confusing? In any case, works for the six of them.

Edited by Shienvien

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This is true, but the inequality isn't also inherent. Polygamy (polygyny in particular) is a controlling behavior. There's a reason why male-dominated cultures and religions encourage polygyny while forbidding polyandry - it allows one man to control many women, while the women are only permitted to have (and share) a single husband.

 

Isn't it? Traditionally, the woman takes her husband's last name--formerly because she was going, essentially, from her father's ownership to her husband's. She also was traditionally the one to get into trouble for losing her virginity prior to marriage--note, for example, Deuteronomy 22:13-21 pretty much discusses how if she's found out not to be a virgin it's totally fine to stone her to death. There is no matching law for men who aren't virgins.

 

In cases of bisexuality, it's different. Most of what I'm saying is in regards to polygamy among straight people. The man in this case also doesn't have access to both women, which AFAIK is unique in such relationships and also changes the dynamics.

 

Bisexuality has nothing to do with it; girlfriend wasn't exactly looking to have the "full set" of genders like they're pokemon cards or something. She fell in love with two people at different times because . . . she did. If she met another person who she fell in love with, we'd welcome them into the fold. Also, it's not that uncommon. In poly communities it's referred to as a V--she's the pointy bit, we're the ends. Other common varieties are the N (person A loves person B who loves person C who loves person D) and, of course, the triad, which is what I think you're thinking of. But it doesn't matter--ALL relationships are unique.

 

If by boyfriend/husband tried either on me, I'd be all "bye."

 

Hey, if my lady were dishonest with me I'd be gone fast as I could go. And not everyone can do the poly thing--that's fine, too. Most people are monogamous, and it makes them happy. But poly relationships aren't hurting anyone, either.

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It remains the fact, however, that both mono and polygamous relationships can be non-oppressive.

Can be, but usually isn't, even in countries where women have the same legal rights as men (Mormons, as an example).

 

Isn't it? Traditionally, the woman takes her husband's last name--formerly because she was going, essentially, from her father's ownership to her husband's. She also was traditionally the one to get into trouble for losing her virginity prior to marriage--note, for example, Deuteronomy 22:13-21 pretty much discusses how if she's found out not to be a virgin it's totally fine to stone her to death. There is no matching law for men who aren't virgins.

 

Society has made it that way with those rituals and traditions, but at its core, one man and one woman is not inherently unequal. Neither partner "has" (for lack of a better word) more than the other. Even in an ideal society, if you have one straight man marrying two straight women, and the two women don't marry anyone else (even by choice), then it becomes unequal because the man has "more" than the two women, who only have one, which they share with each other. In the case of the N variety (to use your letters), the people at the ends would, again, have less than the people at the points, making it unequal.

 

I know I'm making it sound like people are possessions but hopefully you see what I mean here. IMO, as long as you have unconnected ends, you have an inequality. The people involved might be happy but I still see it as an inequality, as some partners have more love than others.

 

Bisexuality has nothing to do with it; girlfriend wasn't exactly looking to have the "full set" of genders like they're pokemon cards or something. She fell in love with two people at different times because . . . she did. If she met another person who she fell in love with, we'd welcome them into the fold.

 

Honestly, I'd personally feel like this is cheating (moreso if the new partner were the same sex as me), but since there's no oppression and everyone is happy, then go for it.

Edited by AngelKitty

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I don't think I would want to be in the kind of relationship where one person is the focal point- such as, a girl with two boyfriends, but said boyfriends are not in a relationship with each other (nothing against you, Jimmy! Just an example c: ).

Hehe, it's all right. The awesome thing about love is everyone does it differently.

 

I don't really consider myself a focal point, though. I just happen to be in the middle. ^^ (And I can't see the boyfriends getting together anytime soon - for one, they haven't met, and one of them happens to be straight as an arrow. It's an interesting thought though...)

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Can be, but usually isn't, even in countries where women have the same legal rights as men (Mormons, as an example).

Cite me a valid, unbiased proof on it. (And again - all marriage has for a long time been very predominantly an oppressive thing, so your argument could just as well be used for monogamy - historically, and regionally even today, it has been and is usually oppressive.) I am not sure whether Mormons do count as equal-rights, either, though I admit I do not have very extensive knowledge of Mormonism - just that what I have heard has left me quite the opposite impression.

 

Edit:

Even in an ideal society, if you have one straight man marrying two straight women, and the two women don't marry anyone else (even by choice), then it becomes unequal because the man has "more" than the two women, who only have one, which they share with each other. In the case of the N variety (to use your letters), the people at the ends would, again, have less than the people at the points, making it unequal.

What about two men and two women in a marriage? Each woman sleeps with both men and vice versa?

What about a derivate of the N arrangement where there are A-B-C-D, and D is not only together with C, but also A, making it a circle?

 

Also, why is this precise kind of equality you insist upon a necessity? Is A loves B and C, but B and C are just friends, why does A have to pick one? Why does one having more partners immediately mean inequality? It is not like (in the good version of poly) A owns B and C, and owning more people makes A superior. It is perfectly possible that B and C do not want more spouses than just A, whom they are willing to share. Equal rights means that everyone has the same right to do something, not that everyone has to be identical. If they are happy in their arrangement, why stop them?

Edited by Shienvien

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Honestly, I'd personally feel like this is cheating (moreso if the new partner were the same sex as me), but since there's no oppression and everyone is happy, then go for it.

And that's why it wouldn't work for you. Some people really are monogamous and that's totally awesome too. I don't view it remotely as cheating at all because it's all out in the open. And if she wanted to date someone else, she'd discuss it with us. (And has done--she was thinking of asking a guy to the movies and it made me uncomfortable because she and I were long distance at the time, and she agreed not to. Turns out she dodged a bullet as he was kind of a loser. wink.gif ) He and I are also welcome to date other people, with open discussion, but it hasn't really come up yet. And the two of them have been together for ten years!

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I am not sure whether Mormons do count as equal-rights, either, though I admit I do not have very extensive knowledge of Mormonism - just that what I have heard has left me quite the opposite impression.

The Mormons (besides the offshoots) stopped practicing it because the US government forced them to change.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1890_Manifesto

Edited by Alpha1

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Cite me a valid, unbiased proof on it. (And again - all marriage has for a long time been very predominantly an oppressive thing, so your argument could just as well be used for monogamy - historically, and regionally even today, it has been and is usually oppressive.) I am not sure whether Mormons do count as equal-rights, either, though I admit I do not have very extensive knowledge of Mormonism - just that what I have heard has left me quite the opposite impression.

Mormons live in America, so presumably Mormon women have the same rights as non-Mormon women.

 

Also, not all Mormons practice polygamy, there was a divide between the LDS and FLDS - the FLDS still practice polygamy, I think something like 1/3 of the population do it.

 

It's not really easy to find unbiased sources on religious groups, but here's about as close as you can get.

 

So, the Law of Sarah was really a type of Hobson's Choice. 3 It gave the first wife the right of consenting to, or refusing, her husband's request to marry additional wives:

 

If she consented, then her and her husband's previously monogamous marriage would become polygamous.

If she refused consent, then God would destroy her. Even if she survived, her husband was considered exempted from the Law, and could proceed with the additional marriages. Again, her marriage would become polygamous.

So, in practice, the first wife was expected to humbly accept new wives into the family. She had no power to stop it.

 

Mormon women are basically told "consent or be destroyed." So, in cases where the man wants another wife, the wife doesn't actually have a choice. So, the practice of polygamy here is oppressive to the women who are forced to consent or risk spiritual destruction and her husband will do what he wants anyway.

 

What about two men and two women in a marriage? Each woman sleeps with both men and vice versa?

What about a derivate of the N arrangement where there are A-B-C-D, and D is not only together with C, but also A, making it a circle?

 

Also, why is this precise kind of equality you insist upon a necessity? Is A loves B and C, but B and C are just friends, why does A have to pick one? Why does one having more partners immediately mean inequality? It is not like (in the good version of poly) A owns B and C, and owning more people makes A superior. It is perfectly possible that B and C do not want more spouses than just A, whom they are willing to share. Equal rights means that everyone has the same right to do something, not that everyone has to be identical. If they are happy in their arrangement, why stop them?

 

Here you go:

 

I know I'm making it sound like people are possessions but hopefully you see what I mean here. IMO, as long as you have unconnected ends, you have an inequality. The people involved might be happy but I still see it as an inequality, as some partners have more love than others.
Edited by AngelKitty

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Uh, Angelkitty, the only thing you did was prove that Mormonic law *does not* see men and women as equals... Equal-rights society where polygamy is legal and still oppressive, please?

 

So you agree that no-open-ends relationships are equal?

Also, love is not measurable. And, is two people in love with third still inequal if the two happen to be inseparable friends (who would risk their lives for one another, but don't want anything physical to do with one another besides a hug at most).

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Uh, Angelkitty, the only thing you did was prove that Mormonic law *does not* see men and women as equals... Equal-rights society where polygamy is legal and still oppressive, please?

The point is, these people live in a country where they have all their rights and polygamy is an oppressive force among them. Most polygamy in equal-rights countries is occurring among people that don't believe in sex equality, and people that do believe in sex equality (though obviously not all) aren't engaging in polygamy.

 

Here's a good article on the problems in polygamous societies.

 

So you agree that no-open-ends relationships are equal?

 

Yes, I believe I've said that several times.

 

And, is two people in love with third still inequal if the two happen to be inseparable friends (who would risk their lives for one another, but don't want anything physical to do with one another besides a hug at most).

 

Sexually, yes. Emotionally, perhaps not, as long as they both are truly consenting to it and neither of them have any problems with jealousy and the like. So, yes, there is a net inequality.

Edited by AngelKitty

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Polygamy should only be allowed under the following conditions:

 

1. All participants are over the legal age for their country/area.

 

2. All participants are willing and have full awareness of the nature of the relationships they are about to undertake.

 

3. This would apply to both sexes. Women can have more than one husband, or husband AND a wife, etc, same as men.

 

There would be more conditions I'm sure, to make sure all parties are treated fairly under the law, but those three are my big ones for it being acceptable to me.

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The point is, these people live in a country where they have all their rights and polygamy is an oppressive force among them. Most polygamy in equal-rights countries is occurring among people that don't believe in sex equality, and people that do believe in sex equality (though obviously not all) aren't engaging in polygamy.

Article based on personal opinion and heavily biased; references lacking. The same way, the opponents in general appear to be very fixed on only the cases where it is the worse kind.

(Again: The traditional monogamous marriage has also historically been almost exceptionlessly sexist and abusive. In all non-equal-rights societies, it still is so.)

Polygamy is not an oppressive force - the way the culture perceives women and men is.

 

You leave out the fact that marriage has legal benefits - hence, you are denying rights to people in more-than-two relationships.

 

 

(Note: I'd honestly abolish marriage as something with legal impact altogether - and let people make all kinds of little contracts where needed, for medical rights et cetera -, but as long as it exists...)

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Polygamy is not an oppressive force - the way the culture perceives women and men is.

 

Polygamy is one of many oppressive forces in the way it's typically used as a way for men to claim ownership of women. Yes, monogamous marriage has and still is used as a tool of oppression, but it is easier to have an equal monogamous marriage than it is to have an equal polygamous marriage where there is one of one sex and many of the other, because the one has access to many while the many have to share the same one.

 

What is more oppressive - a man being able to control one woman, or a single man controlling many women? Both are terrible, of course, but which is a greater display of male dominance and female oppression? Again, there's a reason that polygyny is found in male-dominated societies and polyandry is found in female-dominated societies, while societies with more equal sex dynamics and more women's rights have more monogamy or power-balanced polyamorous relationships.

 

I'm not going to keep repeating this, though, so let's agree to disagree, okay?

 

You leave out the fact that marriage has legal benefits - hence, you are denying rights to people in more-than-two relationships.

 

Point to where I said polygamy should be illegal/should stay illegal. I actually don't know how I feel about making polygamy legal/illegal. On one hand, I worry that polygyny and female oppression would become the norm. On the other, there are some who are in balanced and happy relationships.

 

Also, they aren't denied the right to marriage the way gays and lesbians are - they're perfectly free to get married, to someone who's not already married. So, no, I don't feel like rights are actually being denied.

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The way I see it, the definition of "cheating" uses deceit somewhere within it. If all partners are aware of the arrangement and enter it of their own free will, it certainly isn't cheating. It's also not immoral by itself - only people involved can make it so - but isn't that the case with traditional marriage as well? Historically, men have had lot more freedom in who they marry, when they marry, how well they treat the missus, when/if they choose to leave, whether to have partners on the side... Not to mention the vastly different social consequences for identical behaviors.

 

Does that mean that marriage is the tool of hell and oppression and should be abolished from society altogether? Obviously not. If people are happy with a relationship, they should go for it and make it legal.

 

Personally I think I wouldn't love the idea of being in a polyamorous relationship myself, unless it was a perfect triangle where everyone loves everyone because I'm afraid of potential drama. But other people make it work, and it shouldn't be a big deal to the rest of society.

 

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What is more oppressive - a man being able to control one woman or...

 

Also, they aren't denied the right to marriage the way gays and lesbians are - they're perfectly free to get married, to someone who's not already married. So, no, I don't feel like rights are actually being denied.

That's the point of equal rights, no? You aren't allowed to control the one(s) you're married to, and no arrangements can be done without everyone's full support.

 

And yes, they are denied marriage rights - since what can three people who love one another do? Two get married, third one gets left out and none of the legal benefits of marriage (e.g. visitation rights at hospital)?

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There's a reason why male-dominated cultures and religions encourage polygyny while forbidding polyandry - it allows one man to control many women, while the women are only permitted to have (and share) a single husband.

 

Actually, anthropologically, it allowed them to know who was whose offspring. The Celts, for example, had no problem with polyandry, despite being a male-dominated society, because prior to the invasion of new ideas, property passed through the women.

 

If you still think polygamy isn't inherently linked to dominance, consider that in the few matriarchal (woman-dominated) societies that do exist, polyandry is the norm.

 

That's not actually true. I know of at least on culture where polyandry is the norm and it's still a male-dominated society, because they believe that one child can have multiple fathers. Thus, women are encouraged to go after the handsome one, the funny one, and the good provider, because they then believe the child will have traits from all three "fathers."

 

The man in this case also doesn't have access to both women, which AFAIK is unique in such relationships and also changes the dynamics.

 

Actually, it's more common in poly households for the women to be the ones to bring in new partners. Men tend to favour the "open relationship" ideal while women tend to want to have more permanent an arrangement.

 

Can be, but usually isn't, even in countries where women have the same legal rights as men (Mormons, as an example)

 

You can't use Mormons as a good example of polyamory, because Mormon women believe that women should not have equal rights with men. That is a completely different dynamic. Legally they may have equal rights, but they don't want them. They believe it's wrong.

 

Sexually, yes. Emotionally, perhaps not, as long as they both are truly consenting to it and neither of them have any problems with jealousy and the like. So, yes, there is a net inequality.

 

Why do you get to decide what's "inequal?" One of Nin's best friends told her husband in no uncertain terms, that he should make a move on someone he liked that was a friend of hers, because she wanted a second wife in the household. He did, everyone's happy, and that's it.

 

but which is a greater display of male dominance and female oppression?

 

According to Aisha, who grew up in a muslim poly household, A single man who has a single woman completely. In a poly household, even an inequal one, multiple wives meant the women had a better support network and structure than a woman with no other wives, because in that case, a man could easily isolate her from any other contact, make sure she has no friends, etc.

 

So, no, I don't feel like rights are actually being denied.

 

So, to you, the fact that in multiple states, a single person is not allowed to live with non-related married couple, is okay? What about if something happens to our son, and Nin and I are unreachable? Aisha is put in the position of not being able to make medical decisions for, or see our son. What if Aisha were injured? Neither of us are "family" so any decisions about her health would go to the state to decide, rather than the people who know her best.

 

You see the problems?

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So, to you, the fact that in multiple states, a single person is not allowed to live with non-related married couple, is okay?

Is there an actual law against it? Against simply living in the same private house/apartment? blink.gif

 

Also, I agree with practically everything what you just said.

Edited by Shienvien

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Is there an actual law against it? Against simply living in the same private house/apartment?

 

In multiple states yes. In the map below, cohabitating with a married couple is illegal in the states marked with maroon/dark red

 

Map

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Actually, anthropologically, it allowed them to know who was whose offspring. The Celts, for example, had no problem with polyandry, despite being a male-dominated society, because prior to the invasion of new ideas, property passed through the women.

oops...sorry hon, but you are half right on that score. Yes, property passed thru the women, but it was a matriarchal society, NOT a patriarchal. Women had the final say in everything. And up until the invasion of the Romans, not only property passed thru the women, but also the right of inheritance. It did not matter one whit who was who's father, because a man's heirs were not his mates, they were his sister's. His mate's children were his brother in law's heirs. And female came first, unlike today where males come first. And yes, it was a polyamorous society, where women and men could have other lovers.

 

Just thought I'd correct your history there a bit. (scholar of ancient celtic history for 30 years here.)

Edited by Riverwillows

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Women had the final say in everything

 

Uh, no. They didn't. It was a far more equal society, by and large, and families might have been matriarchal, but that was due to the Celtic belief that women were tied to the land. This is why the epics of "kidnapping" of queens or the escape of Deirdre were so important.

 

The ancient lists of kings do not mention queens ruling in their own right anywhere, save for those which were considered or ascended to be gods or sidhe.

 

And female came first, unlike today where males come first.

 

Citations please? Preferably from a peer-reviewed Celtic studies or anthropology journal.

 

 

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Actually, anthropologically, it allowed them to know who was whose offspring. The Celts, for example, had no problem with polyandry, despite being a male-dominated society, because prior to the invasion of new ideas, property passed through the women.

 

That's not actually true. I know of at least on culture where polyandry is the norm and it's still a male-dominated society, because they believe that one child can have multiple fathers. Thus, women are encouraged to go after the handsome one, the funny one, and the good provider, because they then believe the child will have traits from all three "fathers."

 

In some cases polyandrous societies are also male-dominated. Do you know of any matriarchal societies where polygyny is the norm? I can't find any.

 

Actually, it's more common in poly households for the women to be the ones to bring in new partners.

 

Poly households in what setting? And do you mean women taking new partners, or bringing in new wives for their husband?

 

Men tend to favour the "open relationship" ideal while women tend to want to have more permanent an arrangement.

 

I found this thread of Muslims discussing polygamy. The majority among them seems to say "absolutely not" or "well, if I have to." If women desperately want a permanent arrangement, of course they'll agree to polygamy - they risk their husband cheating, leaving, or worse if they say no.

 

Why do you get to decide what's "inequal?"

 

SIGH. Again, this is how I personally feel about particular setups.

 

According to Aisha, who grew up in a muslim poly household, A single man who has a single woman completely. In a poly household, even an inequal one, multiple wives meant the women had a better support network and structure than a woman with no other wives, because in that case, a man could easily isolate her from any other contact, make sure she has no friends, etc.

 

Sorry but I have to disagree here. A white man with just one black slave is not as oppressive as a white man with twelve black slaves. Again, both are oppressive and terrible, but one is clearly displaying more power than the other.

 

I feel like, in an abusive/unequal household like that you have multiple women, you have all of them being abused and brainwashed in the same manner, probably being told they "deserved that beating" or "this is how it is because I'm the man" or what-have-you. If one woman among them expresses discontent are the others going to say "there there, we know, it's okay" or are they going to say "well, you deserved it, husband says so" because that's what they've been conditioned to think?

 

Whereas, if the one woman can show/tell someone who isn't there to be abused along with her what's going on, there's a greater chance of the non-abused party seeing it for what it is instead of telling her "you deserved it." I'd personally take my chances this way.

 

So, to you, the fact that in multiple states, a single person is not allowed to live with non-related married couple, is okay?

 

Actually, no, that's silly and impractical for reasons beyond polygamy - like, what if someone is homeless and a married couple wants to give them a home but can't because of that law? What if they want a roomie to help pay the rent but can't because of that law?

Edited by AngelKitty

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Sorry but I have to disagree here. A white man with just one black slave is not as oppressive as a white man with twelve black slaves. Again, both are oppressive and terrible, but one is clearly displaying more power than the other.

Slavery =/= Polyamory.

 

I've never seen polyamory in which all parties are consenting, used as a display of power.

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