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Old 11-22-2011, 09:18 AM
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rory rory is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
By the way, this thread is standing alone to discuss those terms. Even though Rory started this discussion, to keep referencing another thread of hers to continue pulling the context from that one over here is just continue that discussion here, and I think the focus on this one is meant to address the terminology in general, and not Rory's situation, isn't it?

Originally Posted by SoCalExile View Post
I'm not a bi woman so I have zero exposure to how widespread or not this assumption is but I don't understand it at all. The term is Bisexual, not "man-crazy". Is this a common male assumption? I find it completely puzzling.
No, it is not a common male assumption, as far as I know. That's not what I was trying to say, sorry if it caused confusion.

AutumnalTone, I think it is useful that you brought up the origins of the terminology, it is relevant to the discussion.
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
As far as the term "unicorn hunters" being derogatory..I agree that it is, to a degree. I also think it is *rightly* derogatory, as what it describes is not a healthy situation.
On one hand, I don't disagree with you that when used in correct situations (ones that are actually described by it), the negative connotation is "deserved" in that the situation is problematic. On the other, even if it is accurately used (which is not always the case), there are the problems of, firstly, coming off condesending and getting people's defenses up instead of facilitating good communication (because it is not enough to say the right thing but also to have it heard by the other party) and, secondly, coming off holier than though, as there are surely other problematic behaviours to which no such term is attached to. The second relates to what you write about OPP
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
An OPP speaks to one partner simply not trusting the other and the existing relationship. It speaks to a negative relationship dynamic. It speaks to *bad things* and I think it good that it has a negative connotation.
Sure, OPP tells you somebody is insecure, and that's bad bad bad. But as zylya points out, so does monogamy:
Originally Posted by zylya View Post
Also if you're going to claim that OPP is negative because of lack of trust, then surely monogamy is also negative for the same reason - in that case there's an even BIGGER group of people that you don't want them to have sex/form relationships with. But we don't view monogamy as unhealthy in and of itself, it is the application of the monogamy, or the one penis/pussy policy that is either healthy or unhealthy.
And so does one-pussy-policy. And no-penis-policy in lesbian relationships, and no-pussy-policy in gay relationships. And only-the-two-penises-you-already-have-and-no-more-policies you sometimes see. And only-sex-no-emotions, or only-emotions-no-sex, or only-oral-no-penetration, etc. My point is that there are a million agreements people make in their relationships in order to avoid feelings of insecurity. I think it's arbitrary to see only OPP as problematic. But if the other ways are problematic, as well, why put OPP on a pedestal? Why single that one out? Wouldn't it be a more productive approach to present the issue with OPP as something many people have hard time with (insecurity), and offer help with that, rather than put a lable OPP on it to signal that their way of poly is really bad in comparison to all others' who never have any irrational insecurities or issues.

AnnabelMore, thank you for your thoughtful response, it made me think a lot. You have a point here
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Tl;dr version: terms don't insult people, people insult people.
Actually, starting this discussion, I was thinking the terms, as well as their usage. I haven't argued the terms should never be used. Still, I'm not sure how useful they are.

Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
As for the negative connotations of the terms expressing an underlying assumption of a preference for heterosexual relationships over homosexual ones, I actually see it the opposite way. The desire for OPP (the concept, not the term) seems to me to often come from a place of heteronormativity, in that a man may find it less threatening for his female partner to have other female partners because relationships between two women aren't "real" and won't possibly pose a "threat" to the preexisting heterosexual relationship... like, I can't help but wonder when a man wants OPP if he's thinking, probably unconsciously, "my wife won't run off with *her*, she doesn't even have a penis, whereas a penis-bearing man could steal her away!" So, OPP often makes me twitch because I wonder if that's where it's coming from.
I totally understand your point here, and I don't disagree with you. I can sometimes wonder the same thing. However, there is a more problematic application of a similar thought process, where it is assumed because a man wants an OPP, he must be a chauvinist pig, and the woman who agrees to that must be a victim. Usually this assumption is not explicitly expressed, but rather it colours the way in which the couple is related to. And because that is assumed, rather than explicitly asked, there is nothing either member of the couple can say, because the OPP is already seen as the defining feature of their relationship and their persons (just as in mainstream society, there are people who see poly as the defining feature of polyships, which means they can never see them as anything but unhealthy).

Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
The problem comes in when we use these terms as weapons, rather than tools. When we pre-judge without knowing the facts, or when we assume unhealth to be a given just because a relationship has taken a particular form. Do the terms make that easier? Yes, probably... after all, it's easier to unthinkingly toss off a term than it is to thoughtfully analyze a situation. But that doesn't mean the terms themselves *are* the problem, or that identifying a rule as OPP is always meant to be derogatory or dismissive. Rather, I see it as quite straightforward and descriptive, in and of itself. Again, it's all in how it's used. "It seems you guys decided that an OPP is the best way to move forward -- was that a mutual decision or a unilateral one?" is very different, after all, from "Oh, I see, OPP, how unevolved, you poor thing." We also need to be willing to believe women when they say "this was a mutual decision" or even "this was *my* decision" and not use the negative connotations of the term to badger then into admitting that something is wrong. That's just plain rude.
I agree with you here to a large extent.
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