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The ‘Sister Wives’ Effect: Can the U.S. Rebrand Polygamy?
Highbrow Magazine ^ | July 25, 2014 | Stephanie Stark

Posted on 07/27/2014 7:01:51 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Earlier this month, TLC brought back "Sister Wives," a reality show featuring the Utah-based polygamist Brown family of four wives and 17 children, for another season. Since last season, the Browns struck down a major piece of state legislation that may pave the way for the legalization of polygamy under the guise of “religious freedom.”

In a nod to anti-gay marriage advocates who warned the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to other kinds of sexual freedoms, such as polygamy, the ruling is deemed a watershed moment for the rights of polygamist families— of which there is estimated to be around 45,000.

Susanna Barlow is the 23rd of 46 children from a polygamist family in Utah. Abused by her patriarch father and many mothers as a child, Barlow, lacking a formal education, left the community with her husband and first child at age 21.

“It’s part of the cultural mindset,” she says of her parents’ abuse, whipping and beating her and her siblings. “Let me put it this way: My oldest brother is 59. My youngest brother is 11. We have the same parents parenting a child in 2014 with the attitude of someone raised during the Great Depression.”

But Barlow doesn’t advocate against polygamy: instead she thinks its legalization would give women and children more rights and make it easier to expose and bring justice to abusive parents and child molesters. She says most polygamist children in her community didn’t have birth certificates and were taught to mistrust the police, a notion that is reflected on "Sister Wives.” When the Brown family is confronted for bigamy in Utah, they flee for Nevada, and their mistrust of the police is evident throughout the remainder of the episodes. Just as well, the Darger family, the inspiration behind the HBO series “Big Love” and activists for the decriminalization of polygamy, lived a very secretive lifestyle before the show.

“I’m a sixth-generation polygamist,” Joe, the father, says. He says all of his grandfathers and his wives’ grandfathers went to prison for polygamy.

Just as it is with the prohibition of alcohol and marijuana, making it illegal won’t make polygamy go away. And with a newfound exposure to the vast array of lifestyles, denying reality is becoming an impossible task.

Dr. Logan Levkoff, a sexologist and representative from the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance says the inclusion of different familial lifestyles is a positive step for American society. She says seeing different kinds of families, of any kind, will aid in our tolerance and understanding of one another.

“These shows or these images help people understand that there’s more to the story about what it means to be a human,” she says.

But Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz, relationship experts who have studied love and marriage all over the world, emphatically disagree. They disagree that polygamy is making any comeback in the U.S., that its legalization would help endangered women and children and that the picture of it being normalized in the U.S. is accurate at all. They are just back from a trip to Tanzania where they studied the Maasai tribe, a patriarchal and polygamous tribe where cattle and wives are collected as prizes.

“It’s a third world condition [in Tanzania] because the status of women is so greatly reduced in the polygamous relationship and in the polygamous countries,” Charles says. “They do not have an education. They do not have a voice… They are treated as commodities.”

Polygamy’s exposure on reality shows in the U.S., he says, might look happy on the surface but does not show the inherent value of men over women.

“We ask people not to kid themselves into thinking this is some new lifestyle,” Charles says. “All it’s going to do is to lead to the same ends as the Maasai tribe and other parts of the world where they engage in these kinds of activities.”

Elizabeth adds that legalization would not necessarily allow for more help from authorities because of the nature of these communities.

“The kids and the wives have to ask for the help [from the patriarch] and that gets into the controlling aspect of the relationships in itself. They rarely go outside of that family unit,” she says.

To be clear, what we’re really talking about is called polygyny— the practice of one man having multiple wives. Polygamy is both genders having multiple spouses. Would allowing the women to have multiple husbands allow for an altogether different conversation?

Barlow, the ex-polygamist, said true polygamy would never happen: multiple partners for the women is not what the polygamist community is about. She says it’s about “a doctrine centered around the idea that a man could marry multiple women to bring a larger number of children through his lineage.” Marriages are not for companionship and relationship between adults, but instead about perpetuating people. True polygamy, rather than polygyny “would have to the take the religious component out of it and that could completely, completely change everything about it.”

Joe Darger, it seems, came from a more liberal interpretation of polygamy and advocates on behalf of all types of relationships, including true polygamy, or polyamory. He says that there is indeed a sacredness to their relationships, but not that his intention is to “spread his seed.”

So is using the example of the Maasais, a barbaric deep African tribe, justifiable for comparison to the contemporary American west? Could polygamy in the U.S. be the brand of “Sister Wives” polygamy--happy and, in a light, overtly progressive and synergistic?

Darger insists that it could and that it does: “In New York,” he says, “most relationships are based upon sex and not being alone. [Our] relationship is based on a spiritual commitment and love.”

He emphasizes that his brand of polygamy is one that is based upon unconditional love and that there are many more polygamous unions that look like his rather than the Warren-Jeffs type.

Melanie Heath is an Associate Professor at McMaster University in Ontario who is doing a comparative study on polygamy, and she says yes: comparing polygamy in Western cultures to those in Africa is like comparing apples to oranges.

“You have very different histories, very different economic systems and political systems within those countries,” so to say that polygamy cannot look different in the U.S. is rejecting many more facts about the countries and cultures.”


TOPICS: Government; Religion; Society; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: commitment; love; marriage; polyamory; polygamy; polygyny; television; utah
Almost every country in Africa is backward and barbaric.
1 posted on 07/27/2014 7:01:51 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Polygamy is wrong any way it is sliced.

Why would I want my wives married to other men?

That is not “marriage” that is weird.


2 posted on 07/27/2014 7:04:05 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: GeronL

God allows for it, but only one man with one or more women.


3 posted on 07/27/2014 7:05:29 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (Pubbies = national collectivists; Dems = international collectivists; We need a second party!)
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To: GeronL

Yes, but it has more of a historical basis than homosexual marriage. Many individuals in the Bible, for instance, were in polygamous marriages. I don’t believe there were any (with the possible exception of Sodom and Gomorrah) who were in the other.


4 posted on 07/27/2014 7:07:17 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: Jack Hydrazine; GeronL; 2ndDivisionVet; MeganC; BCW; Army Air Corps
Correct Jack!

Four would be a good limit though... don't want to over strech yourself ;)

So I might have to mix and match ;)


5 posted on 07/27/2014 7:07:56 PM PDT by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.- Sarah Palin)
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To: KC_Lion

Four... at a time??


6 posted on 07/27/2014 7:09:05 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They could also own concubines and sex slaves, should we legalize that too?


7 posted on 07/27/2014 7:10:05 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: GeronL
No Silly.

I mean four Wives in General. Any more and that would stretch you thin with your time and resources ;)

8 posted on 07/27/2014 7:13:58 PM PDT by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.- Sarah Palin)
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To: KC_Lion

You should follow this guide first!

Hot Crazy Matrix - A Man’s Guide to Women
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKWmFWRVLlU


9 posted on 07/27/2014 7:15:29 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (Pubbies = national collectivists; Dems = international collectivists; We need a second party!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Of coarse with polygamy, usually comes formalized male slavery for those unlucky men not politically or monetarily powerful enough to get a woman.

Heck we already have that in a unofficial fashion. The nerdy engineer doesn't get to have a girlfriend, but must pay an increasing amount of taxes to finance the single mothers impregnated by the "playas."

10 posted on 07/27/2014 7:18:54 PM PDT by ClaytonP
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To: GeronL

What makes you think I’m promoting polygamy? So when I post a thread about Hamas or ISIS I’m promoting Jihad?


11 posted on 07/27/2014 7:18:55 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: ClaytonP

If someone is making engineer money and doesn’t know how to get a girlfriend or wife, he has bigger problems than his tax rate. Did you know there are entire countries where someone like myself (fat, old, crippled up and not exactly rich) would be treated like George Clooney, Steven Tyler or Tom Cruise?


12 posted on 07/27/2014 7:24:46 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Polygamy? Well, why the hell not? How can anyone possibly argue against it now that same-sex marriage is legal in many states, transgenderism is acceptable, homosexuality in general is common place? How can there still be a moral objection to it, as long as it involves consenting adults? We are very getting very close socially accepting pedophilia if the academics are successful in brainwashing the current crop of easily influenced college students. That is not to say bigamy would ever be acceptable because that involves fraud.


13 posted on 07/27/2014 7:32:56 PM PDT by FrdmLvr ("WE ARE ALL OSAMA, 0BAMA!" al-Qaeda terrorists who breached the American compound in Benghazi)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What’s sauce for the goose is gravy for the gander. Why not Polyandry?

Now think of the imitation marriages (same sex) in which dozens of men (or women) live together and claim “marriage”.

Now figure how the tax codes will work on that.


14 posted on 07/27/2014 7:40:31 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need more than seven rounds, Much more.)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

It’s a little late to be worrying about the tax codes, isn’t it?


15 posted on 07/27/2014 7:43:22 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: FrdmLvr; ClaytonP

16 posted on 07/27/2014 7:44:29 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I never suggested you were promoting polygamy


17 posted on 07/27/2014 7:51:45 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Once you call two homos buggering each other "marriage," anything goes.
18 posted on 07/27/2014 8:10:19 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The man who damns money obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it earned it." --Ayn Rand)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

You marry 4 women and they can all be married to 4 men.

How fast would a disease travel?


19 posted on 07/27/2014 8:11:28 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Can the U.S. Rebrand Polygamy?

Sure, get rid of one man, one woman, Christian marriage and incorporate Sharia Law~~~what’s the difference?
Muslim’s will love having their 4 wives here in America!!!
By American’s!!! What a great country!!!


20 posted on 07/27/2014 8:11:51 PM PDT by Isabel2010
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To: Isabel2010

Imagine your 4 wives are all on welfare, what would all that section 8 buy, a McMansion?


21 posted on 07/27/2014 8:12:55 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yeah, engineering money can buy one a “bride.” It can’t stop the “bride” from falling in love with someone else: The hand of God is a powerful force.


22 posted on 07/27/2014 8:32:30 PM PDT by Prolixus (We feed; they breed.)
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To: Prolixus

“Yeah, engineering money can buy one a “bride.” It can’t stop the “bride” from falling in love with someone else: The hand of God is a powerful force.”

So, you are arguing God’s hand is behind a wife’s unfaithfulness?

Scriptural citations’ please.


23 posted on 07/27/2014 8:55:33 PM PDT by GladesGuru (Islam Delenda Est. Because of what Islam is - and for what Muslims do.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Among the weirdness of modern America, is the fact that in the 2012 election, both presidential candidates were so exotic, and both came from families of polygamy, the democrat’s father practiced polygamy and the republican’s great-grandparents did.


24 posted on 07/27/2014 9:36:39 PM PDT by ansel12 (LEGAL immigrants, 30 million 1980-2012, continues to remake the nation's electorate for democrats)
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To: ansel12

I never thought of that, but you’re right.


25 posted on 07/27/2014 9:51:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Right about what, that you weren’t an operator or that you ceased being one because of your weight?


26 posted on 07/27/2014 10:03:23 PM PDT by ansel12 (LEGAL immigrants, 30 million 1980-2012, continues to remake the nation's electorate for democrats)
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To: ansel12

No I was talking about Mitt and barry both coming from polygamous family backgrounds, as you said. I was not an “operator” as I believe that denotes special forces, although I never heard that term when I was in the service so maybe it came later? I was an intelligence analyst, as I believe I’ve said before. Do you understand the difference?


27 posted on 07/27/2014 10:09:04 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yes I know the difference, but I posted on the wrong thread, I was thinking we were on this one http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3185735/posts?page=122#122.

But the 2012 election was strange in regards to so many bizarre and exotic similarities with the two candidates, from the polygamy angle to their mysterious religions and what might be a Muslim versus a Mormon, and their political positions, both men were outside the normal portion of the American experience and lives, and makeup.


28 posted on 07/27/2014 10:17:08 PM PDT by ansel12 (LEGAL immigrants, 30 million 1980-2012, continues to remake the nation's electorate for democrats)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

OK, thanks for posting that youtube link Jack.

Still laughing at the truth on the dry erase board.


29 posted on 07/27/2014 10:31:24 PM PDT by bajabaja (Too ugly to be scanned at the airports.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Honey, meet my second wife!”

BOOM!

“No.... Your new widow...”


30 posted on 07/27/2014 11:15:26 PM PDT by hearthwench (Debbi - Mom, NaNa, and always ornery)
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To: bajabaja

LOL! Lot of wisdom there!


31 posted on 07/27/2014 11:41:43 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (Pubbies = national collectivists; Dems = international collectivists; We need a second party!)
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To: ClaytonP
Heck we already have that in a unofficial fashion. The nerdy engineer doesn't get to have a girlfriend, but must pay an increasing amount of taxes to finance the single mothers impregnated by the "playas."

It sounds as though you've been watching bad movies and sitcoms.

All of the engineers we know are married or dating. Most are married. They are all employed and/or own their own businesses. Men who design, build, and control things; make good money; and who are thoughtful, educated, and highly intelligent are good husband material.

32 posted on 07/28/2014 2:31:43 AM PDT by mountainbunny (Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens ~ J.R.R. Tolkien)
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To: Prolixus
Yeah, engineering money can buy one a “bride.” It can’t stop the “bride” from falling in love with someone else: The hand of God is a powerful force.

God doesn't want people to divorce. The Bible is really, really clear on this.

Also, engineers have among the lowest divorce rates among the various professions.

http://lexfridman.com/blogs/thoughts/2012/04/14/divorce-rates-by-profession/

33 posted on 07/28/2014 2:38:11 AM PDT by mountainbunny (Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens ~ J.R.R. Tolkien)
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To: KC_Lion

There are studies suggesting this is a major problem in Islamic countries.
Rich men take up multiple wives, dividing their attention between multiple families. It is nearly as bad for life outcomes as having a “single mother”, because you don’t have the father’s intense investment in one mother and children.
And then you get violence because many young men can’t find partners, whereas settling down with a wife tends to mature them and is correlated to reduced violence.


34 posted on 07/28/2014 5:20:28 AM PDT by tbw2
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To: KC_Lion

Thank you for the ping!


35 posted on 07/28/2014 9:02:41 AM PDT by MeganC (It took Democrats four hours to deport Elian Gonzalez)
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To: tbw2
Rich men take up multiple wives

Rich men take up multiple mistresses and no one cares. They're actually CELEBRATED for it! And if they have kids with their mistresses even that's tacitly allowed - like with Arnold Schwarzensomething/

Men can have all sorts of meaningless affairs and have all sorts of kids with the women they play with and no one cares.

But let that man take responsibility for the muliple women he loves and THAT'S a problem.

To me the more conservative-libertarian argument is that if some man wants to take care of multiple women and multiple children instead of having them all on welfare then we should be okay with that. After all, as a society we're okay with the ethnic men who have myriad children with random women like we see on MTV.

36 posted on 07/28/2014 9:16:42 AM PDT by MeganC (It took Democrats four hours to deport Elian Gonzalez)
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