*The Week*: "Why Facebook should embrace polyamory"
For years polyfolks have been agitating for Facebook to let users choose "polyamorous" as their relationship status, rather than having to pick from a list of statuses that are not really correct. Recently a Change.org petition got off the ground asking Facebook "to allow poly people to list who they love":
Facebook currently allows people to name one person they're in a relationship with despite the growing numbers of polyamorous and non-monogamous members. Some people identify as loving more than one person or as being "many loving." We appreciate and thank Facebook for their recent change in allowing all people to put their own gender identities. We ask that they have the same respect for people of all relationship types. They deserve the basic right to be honest about who they care about. Please sign this petition to allow those in open relationships to name their partners truthfully as everybody else does.
This long-simmering discontent bubbled out into mainstream attention this morning, with an opinion piece in The Week — a prestigious newsmagazine with a print circulation of 560,000 and 1.3 million web visits per week. Its readers, it tells advertisers, are "affluent, powerful opinion leaders" with a median household income of $160,000. Its claimed mission: "By analyzing and curating thousands of media sources from around the globe, The Week distills a worldly and balanced, concise view of the issues that matter most."
With that buildup, read on:
Why Facebook should embrace polyamory
The social network can go further than its 49 gender identities
By Cathy Reisenwitz
Facebook raised eyebrows earlier this year by unveiling 49 new gender options for users. Hopefully that's just the start of the ubiquitous social network's social boundary-pushing ways.
The next frontier? Unconventional relationship options. Instead of multiple options for relationships with just one other user, Facebook should allow users to be in relationships with multiple users. There's even a Change.org petition demanding as much....
Now let's face it: Facebook is unlikely to make this change anytime soon. But it should.
American social mores are changing. Support for gay marriage is rocketing upwards. Also increasing is our acceptance of trans-identified individuals.
But society's approval of multi-partner relationships is still low.... For the vast majority of Americans, there are two options: monogamy, or cheating.
But many people are living out a third option, such as polyamorous writer Lauren Rumpler: ethical non-monogamy. "People assume that to be faithful, you have to be monogamous," Rumpler explained in a recent interview with me. "To be faithful, you have to be honest....
...Polyamory, a subset of ethical non-monogamy, refers to multiple concurrent sexual relationships, and is generally differentiated from open relationships by long-term, emotionally involved, and/or committed "secondary" relationships. Some poly relationships involve hierarchy, with primary, secondary, (and so on) relationships. And some are non-hierarchical, with no partner being more important than the other. In some poly relationships, "metamours," as partners of partners call each other, have romantic relationships. In others, partners either don't know about each other (Don't Ask; Don't Tell) or remain friendly but not romantically involved.
And woohoo! I'm in it:
Read the whole article (July 10, 2014). It's getting picked up and remarked upon by various other sites.
The site Polyamory in the News documents the growing coverage this "alternative lifestyle" has received in recent years....
...In the end, the main benefit of ethical non-monogamy is that it helps people who feel unsuited to monogamy enjoy their relationships. It also accepts that no one person is capable of meeting all of your needs. Acceptance of and education around ethical non-monogamy is important because too many people end up in monogamous relationships not because they enjoy monogamy, but because it's the default position, and they never consider other options.
This is where Facebook comes in. Of course, Facebook doesn't exactly grant rights or set policy. But can you imagine how many more people would consider and accept polyamory as a viable and ethical life choice if Facebook gave polyamory its imprimatur?
Cathy Reisenwitz is an editor at Young Voices and a D.C.-based writer and political commentator. She is editor-in-chief of Sex and the State, a columnist at Townhall.com, and a writer for Bitcoin Magazine. Her writing has appeared in Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, and The Daily Beast, and she has appeared on Fox News and Al Jazeera America. She serves on the Board of Advisors for the Center for a Stateless Society.