Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

March 1, 2015

"Polyamory is like the tech industry? WTF?!?"

429 Magazine

Remember that CNN Money piece about poly becoming a trend among Silicon Valley techies/ life-hackers/ entrepreneurs?

Emily Rush at 429 Magazine ("for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business leaders") goes on a rant about it. It seems to have hit some triggers of hers.

Polyamory is like the tech industry? WTF?!?

By Emily Rush

Polyamory seems to be having a big boom as of late — it’s almost like you can’t throw a rock without hitting poly this and open that. It seems like it’s everywhere, especially when you look at television: From American Horror Story to Big Love to Showtime’s Polyamory, it really seems like it’s becoming quite predominant.

Another place that seems to have picked up on this is in the tech industry. CNN Money recently did a report about a tech worker who also happens to be poly…and there’s so much that feels wrong about the article.

Let’s start with a direct quote: “I think that in technology, people have higher appetites for risks. Opening up your relationship is really risky, kind of in a similar way that starting a company is really risky.”

This is what Miju Han thinks poly is.

Ohhh… where do I start?

There is so much flawed thinking in this statement that I can’t even.

So, let’s start with my poly credentials. I’ve been poly now for… oh, going on twelve years. I’ve been in a functioning poly relationship for ten years, and I’ve had another committed partner for five. I’ve read virtually every book on poly that you can imagine.... The vast majority of my friends are also poly. So, I think I might know a thing or two about it.

How about we look at calling poly “an experiment”?... First, the word “experiment.” Now, let me think where else experimentation has come up in sex and sexuality…Oh, right! Isn’t that what they say to dismiss people who are bisexual? That they’re experimenting, that it’s just a phase? Yeah…

After twelve years, I can’t say that I’m “experimenting” anymore....

Well no. An "experiment," to us techie-sciencey-geeky types (a big subset of poly) is trying something to see what happens. Because you're curious. Curious people are cool.

To say that this is an experiment is pretty insulting to those of us who have done this for years (or even decades).

Han was referring to this as a social experiment. Can modern poly work on a societal scale? That's never been tried, and it would be cool to find out.

Come on, if you’re going to claim to be poly, don’t be so ignorant of the community you’re supposedly a part of. Even worse, it might actually be insulting to your own partners, especially if they’ve been doing this longer than you.

Now, let’s talk about risk.... Calling poly “risky” is the statement that I have a bigger problem with. You know what else is risky? Job interviews. Walking down the street. Driving a car.... Is there a greater risk in poly (that would be tantamount to, say, starting a new business)?

Uh, that’s basically saying that monogamy is safe.

False dichotomy.

...Then there’s the comparison to poly being like the tech industry [and starting a company]…

I shake my head when I read this.... It once again compares poly to business.

You know what other group of people has a higher appetite for risk? Gamblers, people who play the stock market, venture capitalists.…wait, does that mean that you’ll also find a lot of poly people in the financial market as well?

In fact, surveys do find that self-identified polys tend to score high on measures of adventure-seeking and appetite for risk.

Read the whole article (Feb. 26, 2015).

Rush's previous article at 429 Magazine was the perfectly fine Polyamory: A Primer two weeks ago.

P.S.: Regarding experiments, a warning from xkcd:




Anonymous A said...

I think you're being dismissive unnecessarily here, Alan. "Experiment" is a loaded word when it comes to sexuality (especially female sexuality). I can understand her twitching at it even if I don't do so myself.

March 01, 2015 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Jessica Burde said...

I can understand her twitching. There were things about Han's article that just hit me wrong as well. But given the way Rush took Han's article so personally, and responded to it in places that verged on personal attacks on Han...let's just say that IMO Alan is just responding on the level that Rush took it too.
As I have a great deal of respect for Rush, Han and Alan, I don't like seeing this kind of sniping between them and sincerely hope this goes no further. That said, if Rush can't take it, she shouldn't have started it.

March 01, 2015 11:25 AM  
Blogger Douglas Moran said...

Is she aware that "Big Love" has been off the air for 4 years? That she had to pull in a discontinued show 4 years after its final episode shows the weakness of her premise.

March 01, 2015 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Ferme Noire said...

Though not quite as ranty, I'm with Rush on this one. If I only went by this interview, I would get the impression that Silicon Valley was full of young snots who think they've invented polyamory, live in an extremely insular community, don't know how to use the Internet, and have no sense or experience of the range of people that exist in the outside world.

Part of the problem lies in the "angle" of the story, and I'm sure it was edited to fit it: hey, these hip, smart, SV brainiacs are trying a new social experiment that they are pioneering with their super special problem-solving brains.

No, it's not like that.

One thing that made me sad-laugh was the young man who said that two years ago he would have thought he was the only one doing this. Really? I think I've been listening to Polyamory Weekly for 10 years or so now. Did you not know how to use Google or podcasts, or only interact with extremely "vanilla" socially/sexually conservative people? Were you 12?

It rubs me the wrong way to have it couched as an experiment, especially with sort of a lofty flippant tone. It's been a long time since I read "The Great Gatsby," but something about this take reminds me of that insulated society set, drenched in privilege and lacking in empathy, consideration, compassion, meaning, anything really human.

It's a superficial five-minute video with people who are used to delivering polished presentation.

March 01, 2015 5:39 PM  

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