I don't think that anyone trying to find terminology that offers a perspective other than hierarchical necessarily means they are afraid or trying to create something artificial in relationships. Obviously, some words or ideas seem like flimsy substitutes that don't mean anything different, but does that mean we have to settle for terms that don't sit well with us?
It's simply that some people don't like the idea of hierarchies in multiple relationships, and some people do. For some, a hierarchy works really well, and for others, it rankles. For my personal situation, it doesn't make sense to me.
No one is running screaming away from people who use the word "primary" and I'm sure we all know it's the work you put into a relationship, and things like compatibility, compassion, cooperation, and so on, that contribute to making it a success. But if someone doesn't like the terms primary and secondary or finds the prospect of being in a hierarchy distasteful, why shouldn't they seek alternatives? I don't think it's about trying to find a word that is then used to create some structure around; I think it's about finding a word for a structure one already knows resonates well with someone. And so what if we develop a new lingo? Someone once thought to use the word "primary" and others jumped on that, but it isn't a rule that we all must follow suit to take part in polyamorous relationships.
Lots of people have reclaimed or adopted the word "slut" and use it proudly, while many still find it offensive. Should those who dislike the word and wish to find some other option to describe their own sexual attitudes be told they are having silly or unrealistic expectations or that they are trying to make up some false rulebook for everyone else's behavior? Hell, I'm not even crazy about the word polyamory and very rarely use it when I meet people, unless I'm at a poly event. Recently I was doing a little online searching for methods of goal-setting, and found an article where someone suggested putting together a list of broad goals but she called them "anchors." I changed my list to "touchstones" just because that term worked better for me within that exercise than anchors or goals did.
To some of us, words are important and help us find a sense of direction or something to sink into as we create our own paths in life. If thinking about hierarchies and primaries doesn't work for someone, there's no harm in looking for words or approaches that more closely express what we are comfortable with in relationships.
Last edited by nycindie; 02-22-2012 at 12:16 PM.