"Seeking Brother Husband" on TLC. More from Somerville. "Is monogamy so out it's kinky?" New books. And more polyamory in the news.
Six weekly episodes are scheduled for Sunday nights at 10 Eastern, 9 Central, with many re-airings afterward and streaming available. Coming up tonight (Sunday April 9) is Episode 3, "Two Men and a Baby".
Notice that the trailer crudely defines polyandry as what we would call a "one vagina policy" (two or more men but only one woman allowed) — the flip side of the infamous OPP. But in fact the people on the show contradict this definition.
TLC’s Seeking Brother Husband follows women looking for additional male partners. Its star, Kenya Stevens, and experts discuss the phenomenonBy Meagan Jordan...“Women are not similar to men who set up poly lifestyles,” Kenya tells Rolling Stone. “We have our own way of doing it and it’s freedom-based and equitable.”...While the network has offered a platform where polyamory can be seen... it’s hard not to notice the ways in which the show feels limiting. Granted, limiting things to only six 45-minute episodes that showcase four relationships makes showing the full scope of women-led polyamory hard, but with polyamory already being a misunderstood relationship practice at the national level, the first episode, whether intentional or not, makes it easy for American viewers to assume the stereotypical misconceptions.“The executives at TLC seemed to have a hard time understanding that women don’t set up our poly relationships like sister wives, where our partners cannot have other partners,” says Kenya. “They were constantly asking me to explain, ‘What is polyandry?’’ ‘What is polyamory?’”When the pilot opens, Kenya’s voice welcomes the audience with a clear-cut description of polyandry being “the practice of one woman having multiple husbands.” It then cuts to her and her husbands wearing all-white with her declaring, “I have two husbands who love me!” And while the latter is true, what isn’t mentioned is that Carl is also married to someone else, and her second husband Tiger has other partnerships outside of their union.“I thought it was misleading. None of the women on the show are polyandrous. All of us are polyamorous. We are open to our partners having other partners,” she explains. “Even to the end of the show, they didn’t allow us to have our husband’s other partners on the show. It was us with our husbands, the primary partners, and all of our male partners.”...“It’s hard to say whether the representation has gotten better because the concept of polyamory is very new to most people,” says Willie Burnley Jr., city councilor of Somerville, Massachusetts, and a polyamory advocate. “More people are familiar with swinging and polygamy, so the media portrayals often revert back to those understandings, and I think that is where [television] titles like Sister Wives and Brother Husband are rooted in ideas of the patriarchal portrayal of multiple relationships. In reality, most of the polyamorous community is focused on having egalitarian relationships.”Even the terminology of non-monogamy and polyamory can be specific and nuanced. ... “I think media portrayals are becoming more informed and we are seeing an increasing number of media outlets that are covering it in a neutral to positive way,” says Heath Schechinger, co-founder of the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition. “This is part of a broader movement that is focusing on families and relationships that fall outside of the traditional nuclear norm. Our laws and cultural norms were established to support a nuclear family structure that does not reflect the needs of our families today.”---------------------------------...Truth be told, it is refreshing to see and learn of the Black people on the show, such as the Stevens’ and their partner(s) — who Kenya says have no current interest in legal marriage and are spiritually married — navigating polyamory, which has been wrongfully branded “white people shit” on social media due to a lack of representation in polyamorous spaces and media over the years.“As humans we are free, we should be free. I’m free to choose my life path, choose my own objectives,” says Kenya. “I can create my own life.”
My aunt is on this show. I can definitely tell you the network creates the narrative and creates the stories they want to first hand, but I know these people in real life and these relationships have completely different Dynamics and so much more depth than what is displayed on the show.Amazing people in real life. I'm just glad that the tribe mentality is becoming more mainstream and we're going back to the original way of our people.
...The Somerville legislation... is drafted quite simply. First, the City Council added the following two definitions to its Code of Ordinances:Relationship status. The words “[family or] relationship status” mean the actual or perceived involvement or noninvolvement of an individual in an intimate personal relationship or relationships. It includes an individual’s actual or perceived affinity, or lack thereof, for any given type of intimate personal relationship, regardless of whether the individual is currently in any intimate personal relationship(s).
Intimate personal relationship. The words “intimate personal relationship” shall include any interpersonal relationship between two or more adult individuals that involves romantic, physical, or emotional intimacy. This includes multi-partner/multi-parent families and relationships, step families, multi-generational households, and consensual sexual relationships, including relationships involving consensual non-monogamy.Once those definitions were in place, the Council simply added “[family or] relationship status” to the section of its Ordinance mandating non-discriminatory treatment for city employees and job applicants. ...The simplicity of the Somerville ordinance makes it ripe for imitation. ...
After my colleague Meredith Goldstein wrote a story last week about the City Council in Somerville approving an ordinance to protect people in polyamorous relationships from discrimination, you could hear heads explode all over the place.Some comments on the story are over the top, with many suggesting that Western civilization as we know it is about to collapse because this ordinance recognizes nontraditional relationships.What’s with the prudish pearl clutching? Who is this hurting?The people who pushed for this ordinance, and the people it protects, are decent, intelligent, tolerant, and engaged citizens, committed to equality, the sort of people who are a credit to their community; they are strong on committed relationships — plural — and the importance of consent.In short, they are the opposite of the original boosters of nonmonogamy in Somerville, the Winter Hill Gang, a bunch of mobsters whose headquarters in the 1970s was a garage on Marshall Street [a short stroll from City Hall –Ed.].The Winter Hill guys had wives, girlfriends, common-law wives, teenage girlfriends, and more girlfriends. Those relationships were a one-way street. The men exploited the women in their lives. They were not relationships founded on equality or respect.The problem wasn’t that Winter Hill guys were polyamorous. It’s that they were polymurderous. Not to mention misogynistic.The garage was a social club. Gangsters’ wives and girlfriends regularly dropped by, bringing food for the boys. After one of them dropped off some spaghetti and meatballs, Whitey Bulger, a Winter Hill guy from South Boston, tied her to a chair and repeatedly threw a knife into the cheesy wood paneling behind her....At Bulger’s federal racketeering trial in 2013, when he was convicted of 11 murders, including a woman sexually involved with one of the Winter Hill guys, Winter Hill-style nonmonogamy was revealed in great detail. ... [Read the original at your own risk.]...For all those up in arms over Somerville’s new ordinance protecting polyamorous people from discrimination, rest assured that those who need that protection are good people who want to contribute to their community and treat their partners with respect. That’s more than the gangsters of Winter Hill ever did.
Being poly is no more or less valid than any other relationship dynamic; why do people both on and offline see it as a 'more evolved' way of being?
By Abby MossSuddenly, everywhere you look, it’s polyamory. Or at least it’s abstract ideas of polyamory. Not quite mainstream yet, polyamory is certainly enjoying a broadening spotlight, whether that’s in the appearance of a throuple in Gucci’s recent campaign with Elliot Page or more nuanced explorations of poly dynamics in TV shows like Trigonometry. ... On TikTok, #polyamory has over three billion views.But not all representations of polyamory online are sitting well. And it’s not necessarily the negative representations, the unkind or ridiculous criticisms (such as the eye-roll-inducing claims that poly people are all ugly, or that polyamory harms women), that are rubbing poly folks up the wrong way. Counter-intuitively, it’s excessively positive representations of polyamory that are now being called out too.Polyamorous throuples, polycules (a connected network of people in non-monogamous relationships) and families are taking to Instagram and TikTok to show the world how great their relationships are, in accounts that look queasily similar to the kind of toxically positive parenting accounts that have already been broadly challenged. ...In one Instagram account with over 127k followers, long-term couple Dana and Daniel share reels and TikToks of their experiences dating polyamorously. They have been criticised, though, for showing an unrealistic representation that borders on sexist. “As the male of a poly relationship, I’d love to see some Daniel struggles. I find it’s often more difficult for a man to get dates,” said one comment, referencing the classic assumption that polyamory is more fun (and easier) for men.... On other accounts, polyamorous families showcase the sunny side of their relationship and rarely talk about struggles at all. It’s all smiley shots of date nights and family outings.“I’m just gonna say it — the culture of toxic positivity within the polyamorous community isolates actual polyamorous people who are struggling and does more harm than good,” wrote Leanne Yau, founder of polyamory education platform Polyphilia Blog, in a series of Instagram posts that received hundreds of comments. “It sets unrealistic expectations of what polyamorous living is like, and leaves newbies woefully unprepared.” ......Educators like Leanne have started to challenge the idea that a person should do all their learning (and unlearning) about monogamy and polyamory in theory before diving into relationships. Although it’s important to educate yourself about polyamory to some degree, and to think carefully about your own desires and boundaries, expecting people to be perfect in polyamorous dynamics from day one just isn’t realistic. ......“I’ve started being more straight with my friends about what I’m going through,” says Georgia. “I think it’s important, for polyamory to be taken seriously, that we talk about it for all that it is -- the good stuff, but also the confusing and messy parts too.”
(To me, the cover says kitchen table poly
the morning after.)
Polyamorists face stigma and discrimination in their day-to-day lives, yet research shows that having a romantic relationship with more than one person at a time may offer emotional and physical benefits to all parties.
Monogamy is frequently portrayed as the ideal form of romantic love in many modern societies. ... States and governments offer financial, legal, and social incentives to married couples. Meanwhile men and women who deviate from these monogamous norms are treated as pariahs and publicly shamed.Despite this, polyamorous relationships are on the rise. It is estimated that between 4–5% of the U.S. population is currently involved in consensually non-monogamous relationships. ...Increasing numbers of legal and political scholars are arguing for reforms to current family laws so that they recognise the wide variety of intimate personal relationships in which humans can thrive.“Polyamorists face the risk of being fired, denied housing or citizenship, or having their children taken away from them because of their polyamorous identities and lifestyles,” says Justin Clardy, a professor of philosophy at Santa Clara University.“However, in many cases poly relationships are more durable than monogamous ones, because their flexibility allows them to meet shifting needs over time in a way that monogamous relationships don’t.”Professor Clardy has dedicated his academic career to studying the ethicality of non-monogamous relationship styles and the unjust political consequences faced by non-monogamists.In Why It’s OK To Not Be Monogamous, Clardy summarises the main arguments that are commonly put forward to support monogamy. He then debunks each one with thorough research. ...One of the most common arguments against polyamory is that it incites painful feelings of jealousy, however monogamous couples experience this emotion too. In fact, Clardy argues that in many cases vulnerability, possessiveness, and a sense of entitlement to another person’s love are more at the heart of jealousy then we care to admit.Clardy argues that polyamory, on the other hand, can benefit relationships by refocusing our attention on how one’s partner fares in their other intimate relationships.“When governed by mutual consent and understanding, polyamorous relationships can allow people to share more fully in the happiness of others,” says Clardy.“This can be achieved by confronting and managing one’s vulnerability, by softening our propensity to be jealous, and by learning to pay attention to the flourishing of others.”------------------------------Some of the harshest critics of polyamorists argue that non-monogamy is harmful to the family unit, leading to divorce and the breakdown of families. However according to Clardy, polyamorous families both exist and thrive, and such an arrangement can actually benefit children.“It may not take an entire village to raise a child, but it stands to reason that all things being equal, having more than one ‘father’ or ‘mother’ as a caregiver may be even more conducive to meeting children’s needs, as children may be loved and nurtured in unconventional families,” says Clardy.“Indeed, it may turn out that on average, the existence of more than two caregivers is the superior parenting arrangement.” ...
I'll have more to say about the book when I finish it.
While traditional monogamy may seem like a vestige of a bygone era, its place in the dating landscape has a unique flavor alongside the à la carte options of alternative relationship styles. ...
Sometimes people change their minds about what they want from non-monogamy – and that's perfectly OK...."It's completely reasonable to decide that it's not the right path for you. Situations change, our needs shift, and we never know exactly how we'll feel about something new until we try it – so it's important not to feel guilty about changing your mind.”..."Approach this conversation with a sense of partnership and a sense that you're in this to solve issues together.”[Callisto] Adams suggests using a variation on this phrasing: "I'm sensing that you're enjoying the openness a lot more than I am, and I understand – enjoying the openness is one of the most obvious points to an open relationship. However, I value you and your presence in my life, and I felt like sharing this concern with you, as this is something that's making me uncomfortable."...Don’t chicken out of saying what you really want. “State clearly that you want to go back to a monogamous relationship, so there is no confusion.”......Your next step is to actively listen to your partner’s response and any questions they might have. ...If being monogamous doesn’t have to last forever, then neither does being non-monogamous, but the transition between the two has to come with the age-old staple of a healthy relationship: honest communication.
When the war started the Russian family-cartoon series
Masyanya turned dissident. Watch. The cartoonist got
out. Update: a sequel of turnabout, with a coda
of empathy in wartime.
Here was a country with a tragic history that had at last begun to build, with great effort, a better society. What made Ukraine different from any other country I had ever seen—certainly from my own—was its spirit of constant self-improvement, which included frank self-criticism. For example, there’s no cult of Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine—a number of Ukrainians told me that he had made mistakes, that they’d vote against him after the war was won. Maxim Prykupenko, a hospital director in Lviv, called Ukraine “a free country aspiring to be better all the time.” The Russians, he added, “are destroying a beautiful country for no logical reason to do it. Maybe they are destroying us just because we have a better life.”
"Defenders of Bakhmut," by Natasha Le from Mikolaiv. She reinterprets traditional
guardian angels as riot grrls for an upcoming
Don't miss Polyamory in the News!
Labels: #Black&Poly, #FromPolyToMono, #JustinClardy, #Polyamory, #PolyamoryNews, #PolyUkraine, #SeekingBrotherHusband, books, critics of polyamory, TV
I can picture Spike Lee hearing about the Brother Husband show, smiling wryly, and yawning.
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