submission from melancholynecrokiss:
I’d just like to say that I get frustrated on lot of feminist discourses over Sisterwives. I lived up close and personal as a neighbor of fundamentalist Mormons who practiced patriarchal polygamy and also went to school with the kids of such communities in my high school. There could be a few very progressive families that might resemble the one on the show.
But otherwise the show is a total fiction in that from what I experienced of fundamentalist polygamy was essentially a cult in which men practiced total control of women’s lives within the (closed) communities in which they lived. They tended to seclude their children from the outside world (sometimes totally home-schooling them for their whole childhood), child sexual and physical abuse was rampant, and girls as young as twelve were “promised” to men who were well in to their sixties. All of this happened in a classic cult atmosphere were kids were taught to distrust anyone from outside of religion and who were completely disowned if they involved the police in any family situation, “God’s Law”, administered by the church elders was considered to be only legitimate law followed, secular laws were considered heretical.
Yet some feminists tend to treat the situation that Sisterwives presents as a thought exercise about freedom and choice concerning relationships and sex. But Sisterwives is not a discourse based upon reality, a tv show born out of the minds of tv writers. The reality of much of Fundamentalist Mormon polygomy is the opposite of choice, it means sexual and mental slavery for women under a harsh patriarchal hierarchy where children have no freedom choice or exposure the world outside of a cult-like family structure. This occurs in the western states of American with impunity on a daily basis, ignoring that reality just renders any discussion about it mute.
Keep in mind I’m poly and hate to pass anything seeming like judgment on the relationships of others. But we are not talking about consensual relationships here, Fundamentalist Mormon Poloygomy is about systematic abuse and domination of not only women, but also of whomever is born in to it.
I see what you’re saying. On my end I like to stray away from making whole-sale rejection of polygamy because I personally know people from Polygamous families - not even just in the United States but Nigeria. But don’t get me wrong, while I recognize that Polygamy isn’t unique to this particular sect of mormonism, I’m, also familiar with the harms that radical fundamental forced polygamy can have. I’m from Texas and a few years back when I was a senior in high school there was that hugeee polygamous ranch bust where hundreds of women and children were found and taken out.
But I definitely agree, this TV show is just a crock of complete crap. Its not a representation of anything, just people who want to be on TV. I find the show more ridiculous for the fact that the producers went out of their way to create such a farcical and ridiculous television show. I actually would be really interested to know what other polygamous people felt about this show…