Monday, October 31, 2011

Feminists for polygamy

OK, so Kate Bolick writes a lengthy article confessing that she cannot make up her mind between autonomy and intimacy - leaving her single in her late 30s.

I've posted a couple of traditionalist replies to this, but how would a feminist respond to Kate Bolick?

Jessica Mack is a feminist who is critical of Kate Bolick for suggesting that women can't have it all: Mack insists that you can have intimacy without compromising autonomy. But what exactly does this mean? How can you retain a freedom to choose however you like whilst still committing yourself to a relationship?

Mack offers several suggestions. First, she thinks one option is to have open relationships:

Sex columnist Dan Savage has written for decades about the pragmatism of non-monogamy in making marriages work. Feminists often, and rightly, decry the double standard that men can sleep around, while women cannot. Savage suggests that rectifying this is not about confining men to fidelity, but rather encouraging women to break out and explore. I may be out on a licentious limb here, but I would argue that the concept of non-monogamy will be the biggest relationship issue we will grapple with in our time.

I wonder if Jessica Mack would suggest this if she weren't 28 and childless. If she were 38 with a few children in tow she might not think giving her husband/partner free rein to roam such a good idea. Anyway, open relationships might well preserve a measure of choice, but most likely at the expense of intimacy.

Jessica Mack's second suggestion is even more noteworthy. She thinks that polygamy might extend autonomous choice, presumably by not limiting us to just one spouse:

Disruption is also afoot in the west of the US where Kody Brown, a friendly polygamist, is filming a reality show about his life with four wives and 16 children. Brown recently launched an historic lawsuit to challenge Utah's bigamy laws. Earlier this summer the Browns' lawyer penned a stellar op-ed laying out a logical and nearly irresistible argument for polygamy as a viable relationship model.

So Jessica Mack the feminist believes that the argument for polygamy as a viable relationship model is "nearly irresistible". I wonder what the average married woman thinks of this and whether feminists like Mack really represent their interests.

You can see why polygamy is connected to autonomy - it means that we aren't limited to marrying one person. But from reading feminist commentary elsewhere, there's possibly another reason why polygamy appeals to some feminists. If you aren't committed to being a wife and mother, then those roles might seem too demanding. You might think that having more than one woman in the house to share the role would lessen the burden and allow you to do other things. But here too greater autonomy is still at the expense of intimacy - it is motivated by a lesser commitment to the relationship.

Her third suggestion is the usual liberal one of replacing a single form of marriage with a plurality or diversity of forms, so that you get to autonomously choose which one to participate in. Each form is thought to be equally valid:

Young women need to know that intimacy doesn't have to be a casualty of autonomy, and that sometimes it actually develops as a result...In order to move forward constructively, we need a multiplicity of relationship models to inspire and reassure us. We need trans couples on TV, we need non-monogamy champions, we need people married 40-plus years like my parents, and we need Stevie Nicks who, at 62, is purposefully single so that she can "always be free".

Note though that it's the purposefully single Stevie Nicks who gets to claim the mantle of freedom fighter. I wonder too if Jessica Mack really understands the commitment it takes from a husband to remain monogamous. A traditional marriage like her parents isn't a likely outcome in a society which champions non-monogamy. Chances are that Jessica Mack is helping to take away the one choice that most women really want to have.

33 comments:

  1. Polygamy fits womens' hypergamous nature to a tee.

    As noted in recent US college studies the majority of the women hover around only about twenty percent of the men. I would suggest there is no shortage of women who would happily share a man rather than have a full share in someone beneath her dignity.

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  2. Noone should be surprised that feminists advocate for polygyny. Noone should be surprised that women advocate for polygyny.
    Noone should be surprised it will be allowed soon.
    Noone should be surprised that dark ages of the West are coming.

    Feminists are trying to join the worst of social structures.
    1) Lack of male paternal investment in offspring. - Replaced by "society".
    2) Polygynous like relationships. - Few men having most children.
    On paper it looks brilliant.

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  3. We already have soft polygamy in the west, with 80% of the women orbiting 20% of the men. Beta females used to mate with beta males, but now they hold out forever for an alpha male because five minutes of alpha is worth a lifetime of beta.

    Women shape society through their sexual choices. My advice to beta males is to shamelessly collect as many girlfriends as possible, with no intention of marriage.

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  4. Sex columnist Dan Savage

    It seems that male homosexual norms are reaching heterosexual liberals quite rapidly.

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  5. We need trans couples on TV, we need non-monogamy champions, we need people married 40-plus years like my parents, and we need Stevie Nicks who, at 62, is purposefully single so that she can "always be free

    We only need the 40-plus years parents Jessica.

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  6. a lot of female celebrities say they are happy when they have 50+ males chasing them.
    Thats disgusting.

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  7. I don't really agree with the casual use of beta and alpha male labels for humans. It just seems to be a reflection of peoples, stereotypes and prejudices.
    For instance a large number of Australians would regard me as 'beta' infact i've had Australian men and women either mock or insult me over this.
    However Im in a long term relationship with my gf and we both want to marry. She is as beautiful as a Victorian secret model(no exaggeration). When we are out i get the reverse behaviour of people congratulating me on my alphaness.
    Its a bit of a joke really.

    However I have noticed that the beta label is used obsessively by Feminists. They love the word. Its an oppertunity for them to label vast swathes of men as untermensch and beneath them.
    I've heard the same women voice their opinion that society would be better if one woman was paired to many men even hundreds of men.
    Its all just feminist fantasy. Are they really prepared for the violence from jealous lovers that this would cause or even the general violence from the breakdown of society.

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  8. continuing my thoughts from the previous post. If certain women are attracted to dangerous thug type men who endanger their lives
    Is a woman who associates intimately with 50 thug type men 50 times more at risk of violence and death?
    Answer is clearly yes.
    So I think this problem will naturally sort itself out.

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  9. Isn't it the role of men to defend their women?

    Who would defend Jessica Mack?

    A little untold story about the collapse of Western Rome and the greater portion of Eastern Rome is the role played by Romans who welcomed their conquerors.

    Overtaxed and fixed to feudal responsibilities many free citizens sold themselves into slavery to avoid the burdens of the state.

    When the hordes came rolling over the hills many Romans welcomed them as liberators and not as oppressors.

    The West is dead, when the hordes come rolling over the hills, I know which side I'm choosing.

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  10. @Johnycomelately
    wether you speak truthfully or not your comment confirms my belief that a lot of our mess comes from near sighted 'traitors' that find their easist avenue in life is to backstab their own for an advantage.
    The foreign hordes will lynch you and hang you from trees. You can not bargain with them when you have no power yourself.
    Isn't your thought purely the way communists think "when the revolution comes ill be on the side of the revolutionaries" this always ends up in these tools being executed.

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  11. Sex columnist Dan Savage

    Yes, it's rather telling of the intellectual calibre of Ms. Mack that she would (in all seriousness) cite a sex columnist in support of her argument that society needs to be (further) overturned.

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  12. "Sex columnist Dan Savage has written for decades about the pragmatism of non-monogamy in making marriages work."

    Dan Savage is gay, so what the hell would he know about what makes marriages work?

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  13. "Dan Savage is gay, so what the hell would he know about what makes marriages work?"

    I've noticed universally relationship advice columnists are really bad at staying in relationships and have no experience with what they are talking about.

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  14. There was even a MAD MAGAZINE caricature, decades ago, about a marriage guidance counselor whose name-plate said "Mrs. Smith, formerly Mrs. Jones, formerly Mrs. Brown."

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  15. My advice to beta males is to shamelessly collect as many girlfriends as possible, with no intention of marriage.

    Tim, I agree with you that there's a problem, but I wouldn't give the same advice.

    How should a 20-something man respond to a culture which encourages his female peers to date inappropriate men casually?

    I can't give a complete response in a brief comment, but my advice would include:

    a) To take what's best from some of the "game" practitioners, e.g. an understanding that being supplicating is a poor strategy and the importance of confidence (and that "nice" won't cut it with most women).

    b) To be wary of women who have been longest exposed to indoctrination, e.g. those who are postgraduate arts students

    c) To understand that relationships are not in a healthy state and that there are going to be more disorienting experiences than there ought to be - but not to be thrown by this.

    d) Timing: to be ready either for the sweeter, family oriented women who tend to meet their future husbands when in their early 20s or else to be ready for women in their late 20s who are beginning to hear their biological clocks.

    e) Show a sporty side if you have one - masculine physicality seems to help

    f) Don't form a peer group with men who struggle with women - get into the friendship circle of someone who is naturally gregarious, who is a social organiser and observe and learn.

    g) Be part of the turnaround, i.e. raise your own daughters and influence your own culture in such a way that the next generation of men won't have to put up with the same things.

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  16. ^ So basically be prepared to "settle down" with someone who has had her fun with many others before you?
    Yeah, then you'll get to hear from her how inadequate you are compared to the guy that dumped her, and run the risk of losing a great majority of your gains, in a divorce.
    Doesn't look good, according to "The Harmful Effects of Early Sexual Activity and Multiple Sexual Partners Among Women: A Book of Charts"
    s3.amazonaws.com/thf_media/2003/pdf/wm303.pdf

    Why are traditionalists and conservatives and liberals ...
    continuously and without fail, placing the blame of marriages failing or not occurring, solely on men?
    They seem to have forgotten that most relationships happen between 2 people of different genders.

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  17. Why are traditionalists and conservatives and liberals ...
    continuously and without fail, placing the blame of marriages failing or not occurring, solely on men?
    They seem to have forgotten that most relationships happen between 2 people of different genders.


    You're incorrect. Feminists (women's rights activists) blame on men and masculinists (men's rights activists) blame on women. If we take out mainstream "conservatives" most genuine traditional conservatives blame both men and women.

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  18. Hi Elizabeth,
    Mind pointing me towards contemporary conservatives that are featured in the mainstream, who blame both genders for the way marriage has turned out?
    And it seems you're trying for triangulation, as an argument method there. Women's rights activists have political and legal representation EVERYWHERE.
    Where are the men's rights activists that have political and legal representation?
    As an example of fairness, how many women have been sent to jail for as long as a rapist ... for a false rape accusation?

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  19. So basically be prepared to "settle down" with someone who has had her fun with many others before you?

    I did give the option of trying to catch the first wave of women, often good quality women, who often seem to meet their future husbands at about age 20.

    I don't disagree at all that it's a problem that our culture encourages women to sleep around before marriage. But if you're a 30-year-old man looking for a wife you're going to have difficulty finding a woman who is a virgin. And the virgins who do exist are sometimes that way for the wrong reasons (bad relationship with a father/scared of men etc).

    So what do you do? Do you give up on marriage and fatherhood altogether? Maybe if we got to live 4 or 5 times that would be a viable option. But if you give up there's no getting back what you've lost.

    My advice would be to find a less damaged woman. Avoid the Kate Bolicks in favour of a woman who remains genuinely marriage oriented.

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  20. Why are traditionalists and conservatives and liberals ...
    continuously and without fail, placing the blame of marriages failing or not occurring, solely on men?


    P Ray, if I make a comment along the lines of "This is how men could try to meet the difficulties they face in relationships" that doesn't mean I am blaming men for creating those difficulties or that I am suggesting that only men are responsible for making marriages happen.

    In fact, a lot of what I write here is directed to women who fall in with the liberal life script of leaving marriage and children too late in life and who spend their 20s pursuing casual relationships instead.

    Also, I would suggest that it's not a good strategy to wait for mainstream politicians, whether of the left or right, to put things right.

    It's up to you and others to build a movement that is strong enough that you either force those politicians to act or else you replace them.

    You have to remember that it has been an orthodoxy within the political class that the aim of politics is to maximise autonomy and that men have been privileged and women oppressed when it comes to autonomy. Therefore, the aim of politics has been to maximise the autonomy of women and not to be concerned about that of men.

    Nearly all mainstream politicians accept this orthodoxy - which explains why politicians of both the left and the right seem to be so anti-male and pro-female.

    Men's rights activists have a choice. They can either say "politics should be about more than autonomy, it should also be about the viability of important relationships such as marriage" or else they can say "we men don't have as much autonomy as you say we do and we demand that male autonomy is also addressed."

    I think the second option is ultimateley self-destructive. If men's rights activists want to maximise male autonomy then that will ultimately lead to calls for men to devote themselves to a single guy lifestyle of picking up women, working part-time, pursuing hobbies etc. And to justify this, men's rights activists will come out strongly against marriage as being anti-male.

    But that will be soul-destroying for many men, just as the feminists call for women to reject marriage as a patriarchal institution was soul-destroying for all those conscientious feminist women who actually followed the call and missed out on marriage and motherhood.

    The better option is to assert a range of values and to reject the current orthodoxy at a deeper level.

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  21. I saw that the importance of confidence as regards securing the doubtful blessing of a wife was brought up. (For all of those who are married, may they have long & happy lives & attain eternal salvation, it's just not a chance that I'm willing to take) I've always thought that this well demonstrates the weakness of the mental faculties of the average woman. This is also why they are the favourite targets of confidence men, they're so very easy to take in. The con men know something that most women apparently do not; that is that it's very easy to put up a front. Even if the confidence is real, it certainly doesn't follow that there's anything to it. The American General, George Custer was very confident. In fact he was so very confident that he could defeat any number of Indians that he might encounter, no matter how great, that he caused the three Gatling guns available to him to be left behind as an unnecessary encumbrance. We all know exactly how much good confidence did as a defence against the Indians' Winchester rifles. This typically feminine shallowness & tendency to the puerile is one of the main reasons that women were generally never allowed any sort of power whatsoever in earlier saner ages. I dare say that the Mohammedans in Arabia & Persia have got some good ideas as regards restricting women's movements, requiring decent clothing, not letting them drive & so forth (if the last mentioned became law in the various western countries, we would see far fewer accidents). We could do with some of those laws here. I'm a Roman Catholic, so it isn't my intention to laud Islam, but one must in justice recognize a good idea or wise custom when one perceives it. There were similar customs in all of Europe during the Ages of Faith. The very few good Catholics that remain ought to teach their children the One True Religion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, & that those who embrace the so-called "popular culture" make themselves the slaves of satan, & make it clear that if they ever adopt such evil ways that they will be disowned & put out of the house at once.

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  22. Even if the confidence is real, it certainly doesn't follow that there's anything to it.

    True. It means that a man with borderline personality disorder can have an advantage with women that a more reserved, intelligent and virtuous man lacks. But there you have it. I suppose that women could complain that physical beauty confers advantages on some women who are equally undeserving.

    All I can say is that in my observation you want as a man to be cool or sporty or ambitious or tall or a combination of all of the above. Intelligence can help but it's not enough to gain the immediate attention of women.

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  23. Anonymous at 3.19 again, thank you for your reply Mr. Richardson, you are of course quite right. I guess that it's a good thing I haven't got any desire to be married ha ha. It wasn't my intention to question the veracity of your ideas regarding female psychology. I find several subjects to be very interesting, & one of them is psychology, the different thought patterns to be observed in different races (such as that Germans are more reserved & not so much given to emotionalism as Italians, that sort of thing.) & how men's brains function differently from the female brain. This is why your internet site is one of my favourites. One thing that I've always found maddening is the feminine propensity to garrulousness. It would be a real punishment for a woman to be prevented from speaking for a day or two. How married men get used to this I don't know.....Cheers.

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  24. Mark
    I'm uncool(cooler than some), short(taller than some), not really sporty(sportier than some)
    To get the attention of my long term gf (who ive posted before as making other guys envious) everything I did flew in the face of PUA and confentional logic with attraction.
    The major thing was I 'whiteknighted' her from the attention of some generic black asshole (with her virginity intact. He was by the way not an Australian citizen despite claiming to be so and had an incorrectly spelt christian name which all led me to believe his entire identity was fraudulent) I deconstructed his facade for her and he later in a typical black guy fashion went nuts and attempted to black mail her for sex. I stepped in as her new boyfriend and made her sever all contact with the bastard.
    We are planning to get married and have kids.

    I've read that PUAs consider whiteknighting to be a beta behaviour that is fruitless.
    In my case the decision to say enough and defend a girl I saw getting taken advantage of got me everything I ever wanted.

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  25. P.S., I don't know how to edit something that I've already written, I'm not so good with computers, I meant to write directly after the part wherein I wrote that it wasn't my intention to question the veracity of your ideas &c., that what I had written earlier was more a case of wondering aloud (or more accurately in print) at the madness & folly of the human race. The Almighty God gave mankind reason, but most refuse to bother with it & would rather live as if they were trousered (& skirted, ha ha) apes. Anyhow sorry about that, the old memory isn't as good as it used to be.

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  26. P Ray said:

    ""So basically be prepared to "settle down" with someone who has had her fun with many others before you?""

    It's a crapsack world, that is the best quite a few men can get.

    But ideally u go with the few remaining nice girls with only a notch or two in their early 20s.

    A good looking bloke who wants relatively unsoiled property and has a steady job can with a bit of searching find a woman worth marrying.

    My advice to all men is the same as my advice to myself.

    -Be Masculine, If you don't know what this means drop out of your Arts undergrad.

    -Don't be a nice guy. No need to be a complete prick, but do. not. be. a. nice. guy.

    -Keep searching through the dross gaining experience, confidence and wisdom till you can bag a good one.

    And if you can't bag a woman you think would be a good mother, don't marry.

    There is no purpose in a man getting married in the 21st century aside from the conception of children. If the woman would not make a good mother then she has put herself in the "fun time not long time" catagory.

    This may seem cold and cruel, but it is rational for male self preservation in the modern world.

    This break down of trust has probably contributed to general social alienation

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  27. Anonymous said...

    "I've read that PUAs consider whiteknighting to be a beta behaviour that is fruitless."

    Standing up to a rival man [and winning] shows off masculine qualities.

    Not great if you are trying to pick up in a bar.

    In general I like the idea i picked up of a PUA blog that when in doubt anything Ghengis Khan would do is safely masculine.

    Would GK confront a rival man over a woman? Yes.

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  28. Hi Elizabeth,
    Mind pointing me towards contemporary conservatives that are featured in the mainstream, who blame both genders for the way marriage has turned out?


    Not at all P Ray. Mainstream "conservatives" need to be warned and called out on their errors.

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  29. Hi Elizabeth,
    Mind pointing me towards contemporary conservatives that are featured in the mainstream, who blame both genders for the way marriage has turned out?


    Opps. I made a mistake. Did you want to point out contemporary conservatives or mainstream "conservatives"? Apologies for my mistake P Ray.

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  30. Do you give up on marriage and fatherhood altogether?

    Yes, Mark that is exactly what you do. If you're 30 like I am, there are no genuinely marriage oriented women left, just wedding oriented sluts desperate for a bailout from a beta.

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  31. Anon, I think you're pushing the generalisations too hard. The fact that many women play around in their 20s before expecting a provider male to pick up the pieces later is a valid generalisation and a real issue, but people are too complex to be completely described by this. At 30 you're in a strong position - you could marry a 25-year-old, a relatively young woman with much to give.

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  32. Yes Marik men who seem full of bile and theswearingofofalldamnwomen seem a little removed from everyday reality.

    Most blokes are realistic and want kids, and it is reasonable to want them with a woman who has not been the town bike for the last decade.

    But the positive message to send out to young men in particular is that there are a few decent prospects out there, you just have to look around a bit and don't ever settle for a bad prospective mother with the morals of a public toilet.

    The alternative negative message of: It's all hopeless the only solution is to go live in a cave with a "No gurlz" sign out the front until society collapses is not something that will resonate with most of the men in my generation [20s].

    Reminds me a touch of early Christian monasticism. A couple of the more extreme early Monks castrated themselves as a statement of faith and self control.

    Was a powerful symbol to the faithful, but i'm not entirely sure it was [or is] a good idea.

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  33. There was a discussion of marriage on Canadian public TV last night prompted by this article from The Atlantic. I came across the last 15 minutes and I was pleasantly surprised by how much good stuff there was underneath the usual liberalism. And the young university student is a babe...

    http://ww3.tvo.org/video/167643/end-marriage

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