Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 23, 2017

How poly, really, is "She's Gotta Have It," Spike Lee's "polyamorous, pansexual" Netflix series?

Spike Lee's new series She's Gotta Have It went up on Netflix on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, and the amount of media it's getting is impressive.

It's a reboot of Lee's 1986 movie, but times have changed. "As a sex-positive, polyamorous pansexual," declares centerpiece Nola Darling, "monogamy never even seemed like a remote possibility." The media are quoting that line all over the place.

With all this attention, will the series clarify or confuse what "polyamory" means to the public ear? She mispronounces polyamorous, not a good sign. Vice published an interview with Lee and DeWanda Wise, who plays Nola:

VICE: You both have spouses and are in monogamous relationships. But the character DeWanda Wise plays is Nola Darling, who is polyamorous.

Spike Lee:
I have no idea what the word “polyamory” means. What is it? Polly wants a cracker? What are you talking about? [Laughs.]

DeWanda Wise:
I married young, true. Nola's just more transparent about dating multiple people, which is something a lot of people do today. I have friends in committed, polyamorous relationships. It’s more prevalent. I haven’t seen any examples of polyamory in TV or film in 1986 other than She’s Gotta Have It, which is depicted in a real way.

From Wired's review:

To consider anything about She’s Gotta Have It ... first requires one address its final episode. It’s Thanksgiving night and Nola Darling has summoned her three suitors to dinner. Up until this point, they’d yet to cross paths, and only vaguely knew of each other through Nola’s mention of dating other men. All season the show had been building to this juncture, and its occurrence is all the more surprising because it’s Nola who methodically gathers her trio of lovers in one place, the refuge of her Brooklyn apartment.

“What’s the real purpose of inviting all three of us here?” asks Jaime, a sensible and sometimes dull Wall Street business type. Nola’s response, layered and selfish, but not unreasonable, lands like a punch to the gut. She acknowledges having “messed up,” but refuses to linger over past mistakes. Opposed to one man, she instead chooses herself. “What kind of lady,” begins Greer, the most immodest of her lovers— but Nola cuts him off, ironclad and unapologetic, leveraging control: “...Acts like a man?”

The series, much like Lee’s original film was 30 years ago, is a seductive case study in power dynamics, masked as a savvy rom-com. The crux of Nola’s story, the symbolism that is to be mined from her impassioned travails, is really about the redistribution of authority, and the reimagining of female desire as something more entangled, impulsive, and ideologically liberated.

The whole review (Nov. 22).

Commenter Almontas on reddit/r/polyamory sums things up:

I love the show but certainly is not an accurate poly representation. They are all still coming from a monogamy angle and the only reason she sleeps with all of those men is with the condition there's no emotional connection.

I would certainly recommend it and see it as a positive step towards accepting non-monogamy...poly itself may have to wait a little bit.

Tolu Igun at the University of Wisconsin's Badger Herald: (Nov. 29):

...Lee portrays Nola’s relationships as a polyamorous lifestyle, but he needs to think about the negative implications that can have on the already existing polyamorous community. I would not consider Nola’s relationships as polyamory at all and neither should other people who watch this show.

...Polyamory is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the knowledge of all partners. This last part of the definition is key because in Nola’s situation, Jamie, Mars and Greer do not meet until the final episode of season one.

...The unawareness of one another for these four lovers cannot equate to polyamory because this would suggest that they are all in the relationship together when really they are all in it for Nola.

Bitch Media: “She's Gotta Have It” Butchers Polyamory and Queerness (Nov. 29).


Sex-positive and feminist the show certainly is. Here's one of three articles in the New York Times in the last week:

Spike Lee’s Feminist Breakthrough

In her studio.

By Salamishah Tilletnov

“As a sex positive, polyamorous, pansexual,” Nola Darling boldly declares in the fourth episode, “words like monogamy have never even seemed like a remote possibility.”

..Billed as a “seriously sexy comedy” in 1986, the movie revolved around Nola’s romantic relationships with three men — the poetic and overly possessive Jamie Overstreet, the narcissistic Greer Childs and the unemployed hip-hop aficionado Mars Blackmon (played by Mr. Lee). A budding artist living in Brooklyn, Nola was, Mr. Lee noted at the time, “a young black woman who’s really leading her life like a man, in control, with three men dangling at her fingertips.” He continued, “That paradox is funny, it’s really crazy.”

In a television landscape in which African-American female characters on shows like BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” HBO’s “Insecure” and ABC’s “Scandal” unabashedly establish their sexual freedom by having multiple male partners — or, in the case of Netflix’s “Master of None” and OWN’s “Queen Sugar,” also have several female ones — Nola’s sexuality no longer feels comedic or unconventional. It feels right at home, just one part of a young, black, female artist’s identity.

The surprising result: Spike Lee has made his most feminist heroine yet.

Critics have long noted Mr. Lee’s “woman problem.” In 2009, during the 20th anniversary of Mr. Lee’s most celebrated film, “Do the Right Thing,” the journalist Teresa Wiltz observed, “When it comes to his female characters, it’s as though Lee can’t decide whether to worship them or punish them.”

...“I’m 30 years older, and the world has changed,” Mr. Lee said. “I think that Nola’s character is such a strong character. She is a woman who is juggling three men, and I think there are more women like that now. But the way those women are judged hasn’t necessarily changed as far as men go.”

...The show does not only expand Nola’s sexual universe, it also pays attention to the ways in which her and other black female characters’ bodies are constantly under surveillance (by white shopkeepers), exploited (at a local burlesque club or on reality TV), threatened (by police officers) and even assaulted (by everyday men on the street). ...

Read the whole article (Nov. 19 print issue). The other two NYT articles: ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ on Netflix Is a Bold Reboot From Spike Lee (Nov. 22 print issue), and a long retrospective feature, The Culture Caught Up With Spike Lee — Now What? (Nov. 21 online; to appear in the Nov. 26 NYT Sunday Magazine).


Another one, introducing the three very different men:

● In Canada's national Globe & Mail: She’s Gotta have It is breezy yet serious-minded on urban life and love (Nov. 21)

...Nola lives her sex life to the fullest, largely with three male boyfriends who compete for her attention, for her admiration and, some of them, for her heart. Each man offers Nola something specific. Each also lacks something that the other offers. Nola is not in the least bothered by the openness of her love life. She is honest and secure in her choices, specifically her issues with monogamous relationships.

The set-up for the series is that Nola has agreed to have her life documented. She talks directly to the camera sometimes, as do other characters. "Folks think they know me," Nola says at the start. "They don't. I consider myself abnormal. But who wants to be like everybody else?"

The resulting series is a heady, often gorgeous, concoction. It is, visually, a love letter to Brooklyn, an area that Lee paints in wistful, melancholy colours. Lee remains one of those directors who take enormous and sensual pleasure in presenting places they love.

There is a lot of sly humour in the series, too. Nola makes plain her impatience at the everyday harassment she gets on the street, from men of all ages, and from women. But even that is done by Lee with a certain air of rueful tribute to the idiocy of men, especially older men.

Nola's three partners also get plenty of time to exhibit their characteristics. The most genuinely engaging and charismatic is Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos). He's the character played by Spike Lee himself in the original film, and he represents youth and, in a way, tradition, since he's so attached to his local neighbourhood. There is the preening, conceited Greer (Cleo Anthony), a guy who is fabulously handsome but so aware of it that Nola rolls her eyes before she actually gets down to enjoying his body. The most complex male, in the first few episodes, might be the married businessman Jamie (Canadian Lyriq Bent, who is truly outstanding). And then Nola's occasional girlfriends also get the attention of both Nola and the camera. ...

Hello Beautiful talks to the star: DeWanda Wise Says ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Is A Love Letter To Black Women:

DeWanda Wise at right  (Johnny Nunez/Getty)

By Starrene Rhett Rocque

...The TV adaptation of Spike Lee’s seminal 1986 film centers around Nola Darling, a polyamorous woman with three boyfriends, who refuses to answer to anyone, especially the men who want to lock her down, about the unusual choices she makes in her love life.

However, with the series reboot comes adapting to the times, and Spike Lee tapped into the #BlackGirlMagic machine to make sure that Nola Darling 2017 resonates with a millennial generation of women who are all about discourse and moving the zeitgeist in a progressive direction.

...“[Nola Darling] really is this icon of being able to just be who you are,” says Eisa Davis, who is part of the predominately black women-led writing team....

Many, many more.

● Followup: More on Spike Lee's non-poly not-so-feminism.


This is just one of several black explorations of consensual non-monogamy recently in theaters and/or streaming: 195 Lewis, Compersion, and Poly Love. More on these soon! (Did I miss any?)


P.S. on another topic: It's Thanksgiving in the US but it's National Polyamory Day in Canada, by recent declaration of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association. "On this day in 2011, BC’s Supreme Court ruled that Canada’s so called “anti-polygamy law” does not apply to unformalized polyamorous households — clarifying that polyamory, as it is typically practiced in Canada, is legal and not a criminal act."

Save the date. We're starting to see some movement toward making November 23 Polyamory Day, at least informally, in the US and worldwide.

Steve Ks of the CPAA notes, "There is already an International Solo Polyamory Day observed on September 24. There has also been a “Polyamory Pride Day” promoted for June 11 as part of Pride Week."


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November 20, 2017

"Body Music," non-traditional love stories, reviewed on NPR

A National Public Radio reviewer enthuses over Julie Maroh's new graphic-novel collection of love tales, many of them queer or non-traditional. As, for instance, in Maroh's cover illustration:

The setting is Montreal.

In 'Body Music,' Love Is Sweet, Sexy And A Touch Sentimental

By Etelka Lehoczky

Julie Maroh, French
writer and cartoonist
Body Music [is] a collection of 21 vignettes about love ... real people in love — bumbling along, second-guessing themselves and hurting each other — but their pure hearts and capacity for self-scrutiny set them apart from most of the lovers you'll encounter in real life. How often, really, do we act as our best selves in our amorous pursuits? Maroh imagines a world in which we almost always do.

The stories here are simple. Two people click at a baseball game in a city park. A cyclist stews about a lovers' quarrel. A couple try to recreate the conditions under which they first met. Maroh brings fervent lyricism to each situation, vaulting the characters into flights of eloquence. ... She's just so achingly sincere in her fondness for her characters, you feel like the worst kind of cynic for resisting her.

...An explicit lesbian love scene, two men's flirtation on a dancefloor and other erotic moments are deeply intimate, making the reader feel a bit of an intruder's thrill. Other times, though, Maroh all too clearly addresses her audience; in some stories — particularly those about polyamory and transgender identity — the characters are so noble, they start to sound like goody-two-shoes types in a kids' book meant to inculcate enlightened values.

But that's understandable. It's hard to be idealistic without giving way to preachiness from time to time. Body Music may be a little too sugary, but its sweetness is craveable for good reason.

Read the whole review (November 17, 2017).

● Vulture.com, in 8 Comics to Read (and One Comics Movie to Watch) in November, had these remarks:

...A tender and soft-edged meditation on unconventional love and sex. ... Despite the running theme of intimacy between people who aren’t straight, cis, and white, [Body Music] doesn’t feel performatively woke. Perhaps that has something to do with the sumptuous artwork, with its pillowy lines, luscious sex scenes, and Greek-sculpture facial acting. Buy this one for someone who needs proof that comics can deal with identity politics without feeling stilted and aggravating.

● Some friendly criticism in The Rice Thresher at Rice University: ​Julie Maroh’s ‘Body Music’ is a longed-for ode to queerness (Nov. 28):

...While she is mostly successful in tackling a large undertaking, there are still some shortcomings from a craft perspective. Beyond the common theme of love and relationships, there is little consistent structure, leading to vignettes that felt out of place or simply submerged among their counterparts. Furthermore, some of the stories are so touching that, at times, they become almost saccharine, even in the most agonizing moments. This sort of romanticizing equates anxiety and fear with passion, or leads to characters keying the words “I still love you” into their ex-lover’s car. Perhaps we are meant to get lost in the moments of tragic romance or idealized claims about human nature, but at times they are simply difficult to buy into.

Another complaint that Maroh frequently garners from casual readers is in regards to her artistic style. It’s simultaneously shocking and scrupulous, and may admittedly be off-putting to comic fans who could see it as lurid compared to the polished and aggressively colorful pages of a commercial comic book. But Maroh has intentionally skirted idealistic cultural tendencies in which “bodies are luscious, photo-shopped within an inch of their lives” in the portrayal of her characters. Instead, she has characters whose appearances refuse gender stereotyping; lovers lying naked and panting, unselfconscious of their weight; transgender individuals with scars after top surgery; people in wheelchairs on their way to concerts. ... “Body Music” asserts there is no need to be embarrassed by one’s body or appearance, and instead chooses to worship what it is capable of and what bursting emotions it contains.

● Maroh posts one of her tales in its entirety on Buzzfeed: "Back at Dawn", an episode of jealousy in a now-gay couple. What they're doing with their hands is sign language.



November 19, 2017

"How movies brought polyamory into the mainstream"

That's the title of a Guardian article appearing as Professor Marston and the Wonder Women plays in the UK and elsewhere overseas, after doing terribly at the box office in the US.

It's a catchy title, but the article doesn't live up to it. General-audience movies practically never portrayed modern polyamory pre-Marston; as genuine, serious romances and partnerships worthy of an audience's respect. Even those that come within striking distance (starting with Design for Living in 1933) have generally played multi-relationships for laughs — a novelty gimmick — usually with an unhappy ending, sometimes involving gunshots.

Instead, credit 30 years of word-spreading, seed-planting, and activism by countless inspired polyfolks going back at least to Ryam Nearing, Deborah Anapol, Morning Glory and Oberon Zell, Robert H. Rimmer and many others great and small, in growing numbers. I'm looking at you, dear readers. Thank You.


How movies brought polyamory into the mainstream

Non-monogamous relationships used to be portrayed as disastrous in film. But with Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, is there a shift towards greater acceptance?

By Anna Smith

...[Marston] may be the most positive depiction of polyamory – the state of being in love with more than one person – in mainstream film to date. ... It is an accessible, occasionally moving film that treats the three-way relationship much like a typical movie coupling. This makes it decidedly atypical in the history of cinema.

Think of movie threesomes and you might picture Denise Richards, Matt Dillon and Neve Campbell writhing around in a swimming pool in Wild Things. ... In comedies, they are played for laughs: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill and Elisabeth Moss had a clumsy romp in Get Him to the Greek, which also served a common dramatic purpose: to reinforce the relationship between a heterosexual couple, rather than enhance it. As Meg-John Barker, author of Rewriting the Rules, a guide to the changing nature of modern relationships, puts it: “A person being in love with two people at once is a staple of much drama, from romcoms and soap operas to advice columns and tabloid news headlines. Almost always, they are forced to choose one person and to let go of the other.”

...There are, of course, other films that have taken a less judgmental approach to polyamory. The buoyant British comedy-drama Rita, Sue and Bob Too saw two teenaged girls on a council estate sharing the same man.... Henry & June documented Henry and June Miller’s relationship with Anaïs Nin. The Dreamers, starring Eva Green, Michael Pitt and Louis Garrel, was an arty erotic drama about a love triangle, but a troubled and incestuous one. The 1994 comedy-drama Threesome with Lara Flynn Boyle, Josh Charles and Stephen Baldwin was inspired by director Andrew Fleming’s own experiences. Oliver Stone’s Savages, which cast Blake Lively as the girlfriend of pot dealers Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, may have shown the three living together in bliss, but things ended badly — as they have done in everything from the 1962 film Jules et Jim to the recent erotic French film Love.

“Sometimes open relationships are represented but they end in tragedy or difficulty, like in The Ice Storm or Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” says Barker. “There are a few more positive depictions of open non-monogamy in films like Shortbus, Kinsey, Summer Lovers, or – kind of – Her.

The 2006 film Shortbus was certainly one of the more cheerfully liberal depictions of polyamory in film; colourfully detailing a group of New Yorkers exploring multiple partners through sex salons. But, just as many films aimed more specifically at the gay market have been, it was a niche arthouse movie, preaching to the converted. Professor Marston plays it straight enough to reach a more conservative crowd, indicating that polyamory might be going more mainstream. And the chances are the subject will crop up again in Chanya Button’s upcoming Vita & Virginia, the story of Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki), and aristocrat Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton), who had an open relationship with her husband, Harold Nicolson.

Experts feel this may represent a real-life shift towards greater acceptance. “Things are changing slowly,” says Barker. “When I started studying this area 15 years ago, virtually all the reporting around polyamory was sensationalist and negative, saying it could never work, or it was ‘taking all the fun out of affairs’. Now we have a wealth of research on just how common polyamory is (about 5% of people in the US are openly non-monogamous), and about how positive polyamorous families can be for children.” ...

The whole article (November 16, 2017).

Barker has posted their whole email interview with the writer (Nov. 17). Barker is on the road this fall to promote their newest book, How to Understand your Gender (co-authored with Alex Iantaffi).



November 13, 2017

Marston movie makes waves abroad: "The case for polyamorous marriage"

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women has now opened in the UK, Australia, and Europe. Mainstream reviewers, like those in the US last month, are discussing the movie's triad household as if it's a fairly widely understood concept. Here are lots of reviews worldwide since November 5th. Peruse at your leisure.

The UK's Telegraph, normally a very conservative paper, used its own positive review of the movie (four stars out of five) as the jumping-off for a separate, meditative, 1,600-word article introducing polyamory and its attractive qualities to unaware readers:

Can threesomes work? Professor Marston, Wonder Woman, and the case for polyamorous marriage

Mary Shelley, Lord Bryon, and Claire Clairmont (Getty)

By Rebecca Hawkes

...Being a polyamorist means being in a committed, meaningful relationship with more than one person at a time, in which everyone involved is comfortable with the group relationship. In love with both your wife and your secret girlfriend? That’s not polyamory; just adultery. Living harmoniously with your wife and girlfriend in a loving, mutually satisfying threesome? That’s probably polyamory.

...The film, [Niko] Bell writes, is “emotional porn for poly people… It’s a big, wet, effusive kiss to the ideals of contemporary polyamory”.

...The word “polyamory” may be a relatively recent one, first coined in the 1990s, but polyamory itself has probably always been a part of human culture.... But part of the problem for those looking to retell these stories for a modern audience is that examples of historical polyamorous relationships which aren’t obviously exploitative, and which reflect at least some modern ideals surrounding love, are hard to find. ["Aren't obviously exploitative"? See Franklin Veaux's takedown of how William and Elizabeth Marston treated Olive Byrne, below.]

...Some historians ... believe that the poet [Percy Bysshe] Shelley, the author Mary Shelley, her step-sister Claire Clairmont and Lord Byron, radical freethinkers of their own age, may have indulged in some form of polyamory, although this interpretation of their relationship is disputed by others.

...Today, a surprising number of people see polyamorous relationships as "an ethical alternative to infidelity" and live very happily within them. According to a 2014 study, in the US alone there are 9.8 million in relationships involving "satellite lovers"; no wonder there are increasing calls for polyamorists to be allowed to marry each other legally.

Another study, by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli of Deakin University in Australia, has even found that children can thrive in such an environment: “Research shows that most children are really happy growing up with lots of adults, in fact most kids love it,” she said.

...Purists might insist it is wrong of us to impose our own values on the past, but box office returns say otherwise. Perhaps it’s high time that polyamory, niche as it may be, received its own quirky, almost-true Hollywood fairy tale.

The whole article (November 10, 2017. Registration wall).

We can quibble with the implication that polyfolks usually live in group households; most don't. The most common form today is a primary open marriage with everyone as friends – or, especially among the young, a larger intimate network that is less hierarchical, more changeable, and trails off into the meta-metamour distance.1

However, Loving More's big surveys in 2000 and 2012 found that within the self-identified poly community, a group-relationship household is the ideal for many more polyfolks than manage to put one together. It's a high hurdle for the just the right (unusual) people with the right skills and compatibility to find each other at the same time, and then for the practicalities of combining households to work for all of them at once.


1. What distinguishes polyamory from other forms of consensual non-monogamy ("CNM" in sociology-speak) is an ethic that at least to some degree, "We're all in this together."


● Poly writer Franklin Veaux, among others, points out the gross power and consent violations in how William and Elizabeth began their relationship with his student. Franklin goes into full snark mode in his review Professor Marston and the Great Unicorn Hunt (Nov. 13, 2017):

...PROFESSOR MARSTON: My new undergrad psychology student is hot.

ELIZABETH MARSTON: I’ve got bad news and good news. The bad news is this is the [1920s], which means Harvard won’t give me a Ph.D. because I’m a woman. The good news is that this is the [1920s], which means there’s no such thing as an ethics review board, so if you want to sexually groom and then experiment on your undergrad student in really creepy ways that totally objectify her and violate her consent, that’s okay. Also, I have no concept of sexual jealousy.

The polyamorous people in the audience CHEER

ELIZABETH MARSTON: I also have no concept of consent.

PROFESSOR MARSTON: Awesome! This will be fun. What is your name, hot undergrad student?

UNICORN: You may call me Unicorn. My mother and aunt are the best-known feminists of this decade. I was raised in a convent, so I am sexually naive and trusting. Plus, I just starred in Fifty Shades Darker, so I have a totally fucked perception of how consent is supposed to work. Also, it kinda makes me this film’s version of the Born Sexy Yesterday trope. ...


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November 11, 2017

Dan Savage on monogamy on PBS NewsHour

"Sometimes I 100% agree with Dan and sometimes I want to punch him in the face. This video is such an agree," writes OhMori on reddit/r/polyamory.

The 6-minute segment, aired on PBS NewsHour November 10th, doesn't mention the polyamory option. But it's serious mainstream exposure for perhaps the central idea of our movement (IMO), summed up in the segment's online blurb:

"Some people wind up making monogamous commitments because the culture says this is what 'good people' do," says Dan Savage. "But it should be a choice that each couple makes."

Which means discussing it, early — and understanding the many possible alternatives.

The video (6:15) is only on Facebook as best I can tell. Here's the link:



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November 4, 2017

A religious revelation about polyamory

The first glimmer of my poly beliefs came when I was a very little boy. My mom told me that a neighbor, whose wife had died and gone to Heaven, had remarried. I puzzled to myself over a serious question. When they all finally met up in Heaven, which one would be the real wife, and which would be left cruelly and tragically alone? The only logical answer, I concluded, was that they would all love each other together.

It was years before I realized that not just angels, but we poor humans, can sometimes make it work right here.

Poly relationship counselor Page Turner, who runs the Poly.Land website and wrote her fictionalized autobiography Poly Land, went with a partner to her grandfather's Catholic funeral. The priest who officiated was thinking like little me, and Page wonders why the religious are scared to think the next logical thought. She's a very good writer.

A Polyamorous Heaven: Funerals Don’t Come With Trigger Warnings

By Page Turner

I’m sitting up as straight as I can on the pew while my mother sobs on my left. Skyspook is on my right, his hands folded in his lap.

We’re sitting in the front row. My grandmother sits on the other side of my mother. All 5′ 10″ of her in a gray pantsuit. My grandmother doesn’t cry. Not that I can see anyway. Skyspook later tells me that he can see it in smaller expressions on her face. ...

Clyde Robinson / CC BY
...The priest delivers a sermon about Christ and eternal life, inviting us to pray for my grandfather’s soul so that he may be reunited with all his loved ones in heaven and that we, too, may join him and all others we love in the afterlife.

All others? I wonder suddenly.

Because, you see, this is my grandmother’s second time being widowed. ... Any heaven that they’re part of will be filled with multiple loves.

The pastor knows all of this. ... In that moment, it occurs to me that the heaven the pastor describes is rather polyamorous.

And thinking back on conversations I’ve had with others — some of them very religious — few to none have had a problem with widowed folks remarrying (provided at least a short grieving period had passed). They don’t think of this eventual reunion in heaven as awkward for all involved.

Meanwhile, nonmonogamy on Earth — especially the consensual, honest kind — is regarded by those same folks as the work of Satan.

...As the pastor blesses the sacramental bread and wine, I wonder why we consider what is standard in heaven to be so far beneath us here on Earth.

Read her whole, longer post (October 23, 2017).


On a related subject, an article on Loving More's site: Grief and Loss Among the Polys, by John Ullman.

...Those of us who have practiced polyamory through our lifetime must be grateful for the abundance of love in our lives. But having those wonderful other loves means we must accept a little more grieving as well. ...


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November 1, 2017

Thanks, folks! Mayim Bialik admits her errors about poly and open relationships

Actress Mayim Bialik is best known as the nerdy Amy Fowler on "The Big Bang Theory," one of the most-watched shows on television. Bialik runs a site called GrokNation where she expounds on various, often geeky topics. Back on June 4th she posted this video about open relationships and why she thought they couldn't work:

Summary: They can't work because she can't imagine it, and because pop-anthropology theories. So real-world observations of, well, us, don't matter. This while Bialik claims to think like a scientist.

You gave her quite an earful! One example, from Matthew Facciani (who's not poly): Three Reasons Why Mayim Bialik’s Video About Open Relationships Is Terrible

The video is a bit hard to follow because her points are all over the place, but she first starts arguing that ... because men continuously produce sperm, they are wired to have sex continuously. Conversely, women have to be more selective with their partners because they have one egg. ... To make all this worse, she tries to justify her argument by stating she is a scientist, but cites exactly zero scientific studies.

...Polyamory isn’t just about sex anyway. Ask any polyamorous person and they’ll tell you. Also, open relationships do not always mean someone is polyamorous, but she conflates the two terms....

Cunning Minx of Polyamory Weekly took it apart in her Episode 521: Responding to Mayim Bialik (June 19). She lists six naive fallacies that Bialik blunders into, such as, "4. If a lifestyle wouldn’t work for me, it couldn’t possibly work for anyone else."

And Joreth Innkeeper:

Please sit down and shut up. You're making educated white women look bad. Your biology is outdated, your sex and gender essentialism is outdated, your anthropology is outdated, your psychology is outdated, and your sex education is way outdated.

AND you make the same mistake as so many others before you of believing that, assuming even all your so-called "facts" were completely true, that humans stopped evolving millions of years ago around the point at which we split from apes and that our brains aren't incredibly plastic and highly susceptible to non-genetic influences like culture and higher-order thinking.

You're just so wrong on so many points that it would take me forever to correct you on each one. You're not just wrong, you're fractally wrong. Every single thing you said was wrong. ...

Bialik heard from so many people that she did something remarkable these days: She admitted that she was wrong. Rather thoroughly, and she quoted some of you. This video (Sept. 14) has had 644,000 views, compared to 374,000 for the older original.

This kerfuffle was recently overshadowed by a bigger one, when Bialik wrote an op-ed for the New York Times remarking that she escaped harassment in Hollywood because she looks plain by Hollywood standards and dresses and acts modestly. She took shit for inadvertent victim blaming, apologized poorly, then apologized a second time better.

She also seems to have come around, I think, regarding her embarrassing past as an anti-vaxxer.

So, here's some respect for a rare public figure who's willing to correct high-profile errors made in public. (But it might be better to get stuff right the first time.)