OPP, unicorns, and derogatory poly terminology
I've been thinking of writing about some poly terminology. One penis policy (OPP) and unicorn are, specifically, concepts that have been on my mind. I think language is important in how people see the world. I understand where these terms are coming from, and I agree that there are certain issues of possible double standards and co-dependency in relation to them. However, I also find the terms somewhat derogatory, condesending and problematic.
I see the usage of these terms often coming from a feminist standpoint. I the case of the unicorn, there is a concern for the unsuspecting bisexual woman, who enters into a poly-fidelious partnership with a man and a woman in a co-dependent relationship. Also, there are issues with lack of possibility of independent dating, or for the woman/women to have additional heterosexual relationships. In the case of OPP, there is a heterosexual relationship with a double standard, where man is allowed have sexual/romantic relationships with persons of the opposite sex, while the woman is only allowed to have them with women.
I definitely think double standards, co-dependence, and many other related aspects, do often deserve some critique and questioning. But lumping all situations and relationships together within one concept ignores the individual circumstances of the people involved. Also, because the terms are condesending and derogatory, if they are used, the valid message intended is easily lost because people are triggered into defense mode.
Moreover, as a bisexual woman nearly exclusively interested in women, I am insulted by the underlying assumption that what all bisexually-identified women most want is lots and lots of penises. In the case of "one penis policy", one can see the assumption pretty clearly even from the name. When talking about couples looking for unicorns, the assumption often can be read in between the lines: there the man is seen to have the priviledge, in that he has the possibility for "the first price", the Additional Heterosexual Relationship, while the woman has to settle for the second best thing, i.e. a same-sex-relationship.
Last edited by rory; 11-21-2011 at 11:42 AM.