FC: POLYGAMY | A Sociological Examination of: | By Group 5: Brooklyn Garcia, Sarah Cervantes, Jamie Taliaferro & Kayla Ethridge
1: Polygamy is marriage to more than one spouse at a time; it is often used as a synonym for polygyny which appears to have once been common in most of the world and is still found widely in some cultures. Polygyny seems to offer the husband increased prestige, economic stability, and sexual companionship in cultures where pregnancy and lactation dictate abstinence, while offering the wives a shared labour burden and an institutionalized role where a surplus of unmarried women might otherwise exist (Polygamy). | © Bob Daemmrich/Corbis
2: Functionalist | Functionalists believe that societies function like organisms, with various social institutions working together like organs to maintain and reproduce societies. | In regards to polygamy, functionalists would seek to understand how polygamy would affect the social institutions. | By: Brooklyn Garcia
3: © SHUBHANGI GANESHRAO KENE/Science Photo Library/Corbis
4: The functionalist would have neither a positive or negative outlook immediately towards polygamy. They would seek to find out how it can help or hurt a society. | There are many reasons that polygamy can be detrimental to a society. The biggest reason would be the sacred act of marriage. A person would now be able to marry anyone/as many people as they please. Where would society draw the line? | © moodboard/Corbis | Negative
5: Positive | There are also positives attached to polygamy through the functionalist perspective. The right to marry whomever would become available. Also, there would be larger families, meaning more support for raising the children. | © Larry Washburn/fstop/Corbis
6: Solutions | The solution for allowing polygamy would be to put boundaries on it. In order to help with the negatives that come with polygamy, rules must be put in place to protect everyone involved in these relationships.
7: © Adrian Burke/Corbis
8: 1.Limit the amount of spouses in a polyamorous marriage. Set standards such as “No more than 3 spouses may be married to 1 person.” This will help in making sure a spouse does not have too many spouses and nearly create a colony. This will also help to keep the spouses from being left out and creating an unwanted atmosphere. | 2.Limit the amount of children allowed to a polyamorous marriage. Set standards such as “No more than 3 children per woman in the marriage”. This would help to curb the negative of overpopulation, as well as any added stress of having many kids or neglect of children.
9: 3.Don’t consider it a marriage. The negativity that will come with polygamy does not need to hinder the sanctity of marriage (one man and one woman, same sex couples). Instead of it being a marriage, consider it a “legal polyamorous relationship”. | 4.Have the ability to divorce and opt out. There needs to be something in place when they get “married” that states they understand there will be multiple spouses involved either currently or in the future. The people entering this marriage need to be aware of this and it made clear. The relationship needs to also have the ability for divorce. However, the stipulations for divorce need to be much different from a normal marriage. Prenuptials need to be mandatory for all involved.
10: Conflict | One might argue that polygamy would lessen the load of inequality that marriages seem to incur. After all, more wives means that duties at home and for the family can be divided more equally, allowing for no one woman to be overwhelmed by responsibility. Biology also tells us that men are capable of potentially produces heirs every time they copulate, while women are only able to be pregnant once every forty or so weeks. It might seem that nature intended for polygamy to be a natural state of being. However, there are glaring reasons why polygamy is bad for nature and wrong for society. | By: Sarah Cervantes
11: It seems that men face the biggest obstacles when it comes to polygamy, as it denies some of them the ability to marry. There is a phenomenon in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Up to 1,000 teenage boys have been separated from their parents and thrown out of their communities by a polygamous sect to make more young women available for older men many of these "Lost Boys", some as young as 13, have simply been dumped on the side of the road in | Arizona and Utah and told they will never see their families again or go to heaven” (Borger, 2005). | © Oliver Rossi/Corbis
12: © David Selman/Corbis
13: There is also a trend taking place in Asia called “Bare Branches”. This phrase is used to represent people who are alive today, who will not marry and produce offspring, meaning that their family tree ends with them. As of 2004, “In China the sex ratio for children up through age 4 is over 120:100 (120 boys for every 100 girls), according to the 2000 census. By comparison, a normal sex ratio for this age group is 105 or less. In India the sex ratio for children up through age 6 has increased over the past decade from 105.8 to 107.9, though this masks the fact that certain Indian states have much worse ratios -- 126 in Punjab, for example” and “Conservative estimates of the number of young adult bare branches in China in 2020 will be about 30 million, in India about 28 million. Pakistan will also have a sizable number of bare branches, as will Taiwan” (Den Boer, 2004).
14: Having tens of millions of men who will never marry can only lead to serious long term issues. We cannot afford to see such an inequality in numbers without facing major upheaval in the coming years. “Given that almost 40 percent of the world's population is in China and India, the likelihood of diminishing prospects for democracy, stability and peace because of the extremely low status of women in those societies will affect not only Asia but the world” (Den Boer, 2004).
15: Possibly the best solution for this particular problem would be polyandry, the practice of one woman marrying multiple men. It must be embraced worldwide as soon as possible in order to correct the problems we currently see. | © Lindsay Abrams/The Atlantic
16: Feminism and Polygamy By: Jamie Taliaferro I'll admit that I selected the Feministic approach to Polygamy thinking that it was kind of a joke and completely not my thought process. However, an overall viewpoint of it is that it is about the choice of choosing and being an equal in a relationship, whether there are multiple men and/or women or just one just a couple of people together.
18: Feminist Sociological Theory Feminist Theory is meant to help women better themselves and questions between women along with how race, class, ethnicity, and age intersect with gender. It is meant as a way to empower women and to show how women contribute to society. There are 4 points to the theory: 1) Gender Differences 2)Gender Inequality 3)Gender Oppression 4)Structural Oppression (Crossman, 2013)
19: Feminism is also meant to show the equality of social, political and economic between the sexes. The movement behind this theory is meant to show how important women are and that they should be equals to men not in subordinate roles to them as history has typically kept women. There are also different types of Feminism: 1) Liberal 2)Marxist 3)Radical 4)Socialist 5)Postmodern (I’m not going to detail these types today because explanations are not needed for my polygamy essay.) (Lord et al., 2013)
20: What is a Feminist and their role? (Mostly a comical view)
22: Feministic Viewpoints About Polygamy
23: Feminist blog example and rant about choice: http://www.newsrealblog.com/2011/01/15/ms-magazine-polygamy-sexual-freedom/
24: Negative Views of Polygamy The polygamy community in the United States has a tendency to have a negative association to it because of the forced underage marriages, pregnancies and incest typically involved in them. These relationships can also be abusive and are more about rape than actual love like they proclaim. Obviously, this is not every case and this is where the question comes in whether it is ok for states to ban any practice of it. (Davis, 2011)
25: Equality in Marriage Feminists also feel that if men are allowed to have multiple wives, then why can’t they practice the same thing and have multiple husbands (polyandry). This ties into the gender inequality and differences portions of the Feminist Theory because the censorship o f women in their choice for marriage practice are being suppressed because they are female. (Davis, 2011) On a side note, some of these same views can actually cross into the gay and lesbian debates about inequalities and biased views, while suppressing this community in their freedom of choice of who to marry.
26: Other country viewpoints | Many other countries see multiple wives as a good thing and it can be a sign of your "wealth." The women selected feel this is a sign of beauty, strength, and that it is an honorary role. (Grossband, 1993) However, in other countries it is viewed upon as an abuse of men's power over women and seen as a form of mistreatment of women. (Davis, 2011)
28: Comical View of Polygamy
30: Polygamy in the Media | Polygamy has also started to become a mainstream "hot item." It seems to be more acceptable or trying to prove that it is an acceptable way of living to the rest of society.
31: The movie "Something Borrowed" is a portrayal of polygamy in a comical sense.
32: How do you fix Polygamy from a Feminist Viewpoint? You don’t. Feminists want an equality of all genders and races in any sociological aspect. It is also about the freedom to choose what you what to do as long as it as equal to the choices that men can make.
33: Polygamy can be viewed negatively or positively in this perspective because it’s not about legality issues but more about equality issues for men and women. The only solution to “fix” polygamy is to allow women to participate in the same role as a male and allow them to have multiple husbands, not end up subordinate again in history to men.
34: Mormon Family with Two Wives and Nine Children Date: Unknown Photographer: Unknown | © Bettmann/CORBIS | The Brown Family from TLC's Sister Wives Date: Unknown Photographer: Kyle Christy | © TLC/Kyle Christy
35: Interactionalist's View on Polygamy By:Kayla Ethridge | Polygamy has evoked both fascination and disgust with the TLC show Sister Wives and the practices of evil men like Warren Jeffs, the fundamentalist Mormon leader who had underage wives. Interactionalist sociologist would say that the problem is socially constructed and define polygamy as outside of our norms, expectations, and rules that we learn and practice without even noticing. Through these norms, expectations, and rules that we unknowingly take part in, we have created our social reality of what is right or wrong or acceptable. The practice of plural marriage is so outside our norm we have created a social problem. “We act based on our past experiences and based on what we have to accept as definitions of each role” (Leon-Guerrero, 2011). Interactionalist focus on our perceived society is created through social interaction. Plural marriage as an interaction is so far beyond our comfort zone that we view it as a social problem, but is it really so bad?
36: Interactionalists propose that “social problems emerge from the definitions themselves. Social problems do not exist; they become real only in how they are defined or labeled” (Leon-Guerrero, 2011). Society learns “right from wrong” from history. The University of British Columbia documents how societies have evolved away from the practice of polygamy because of the social problems it causes. Women are usually thought of as the primary victims of polygynous marriages, but cultural anthropologist Joe Henrich documents, the institutional also causes problems for the young, low status males denied wives by older, wealthy, men who have hoarded all the women (Copeland, 2012). Those young men create other societal problems for everyone else. | Kayla Ethridge
37: Polygamist With His Wives Photographer: Nik Wheeler Date: May 01, 1979 | © Nik Wheeler/Corbis
38: Alex Joseph with Seven Wives and Two Children Photographer: unknown Date: December 11, 1975 | © Bettmann/CORBIS
39: Interactionalist are interested in how “problem behavior” is learned through interactions of others in society. Henrich and colleagues write, “Monogamous marriage reduces crime” (Joseph, 2012). Studies show that polygynous societies create large numbers of unmarried men, whose presence is correlated with increased rates of rape, theft, murder, and substance abuse. Henrich suggests that the problem with unmarried men appears to come primarily from their lack of investment in family life and in children (Copeland, 2012). Young men without futures with wives due to the lack of women tend to engage in riskier behaviors because they have less to lose. They may engage in certain crimes to get wives, for example, stealing to gain enough wealth to attract women, or kidnapping other men’s wives. For societies with mass amounts of people this isn’t always the case of men to women ratio, but that not many men and women are polygamist. | Kayla Ethridge
40: Interactionalist are concerned with how the problem is labeled by those who are concerned about it. Those who are concerned about polygamy are labeling it wrong because they feel that it violates the institution of marriage based on not only the law, but on a moral code based on religion that marriage is between one man and one woman. Interactionalist would not seek to solve polygamy as a social problem because a social problem is up to one owns interpretation. Interactionalist would seek to solve the problem of how individuals interact with each other in terms of those who live the polygamist lifestyle and those who do not. To “fix” the way society interprets polygamy would for the law to be rewritten. The law would have to be separate from the church. The United States prides itself on being a free country; where you can practice whatever religion you please. Yet, all the laws are based on a religious standpoint of Christianity, where marriage consists of one man and one woman. If the law would accept all marriages than the view of polygamous marriage will adapt to the new law.
41: Yellow - Misdemeanor Red - Felony Maroon - All forms of cohabitation outlawed | Google Images | Legal Status of Polygamy | Kayla Ethridge