I have noticed the bandying about of the term 'couple privilege' as of late, and definitely have some thoughts and opinions on that term (when the fuck DON'T I have opinions and thoughts?
So....I love it when people in developed countries talk about the privileges of their peers. Poly problems are utterly and completely first world problems; it's not that they don't have weight, but when you compare it to, say, the realities of living somewhere like Tunisia, it starts putting things in perspective.
Every single person I know, including myself, is sickeningly privileged; I was born in a country with clean drinking water, no bombs reigning down upon my head, the ability to educate oneself, access libraries, social programs, own property (especially as a woman), vote, and the sheer miracle of being able to drive (a car that I own and bought with my own money that I earned at my own job) down to the local grocery store and fill my cart up with whatever I so desire or go to a place where free food awaits me if I am desperate.
We are so insanely blessed that we get to explore the nuances of being human in our lives. The minutae of emotional experience that unlocks the tiniest microcosms of emotion. We are so privileged that we get to work on our jealousy around multiple partners! Not on dealing with a waterborne illness from drinking dirty water, dying of malaria, or being slaughtered by our fellow countrymen over our religious beliefs, but on our feelings around our partners being with other partners.
Some might argue that those are rights. But what are rights if they are not mandated privileges that people have fought for over centuries?
So when people talk about something like couple privileges, I nod and smile, and try to wrap my head around where they're coming from, but think.... seriously? My mom was on the frontlines of the Civil Rights movement, was beaten and battered and stood strong while they didn't give up their ground, and was part of a movement that changed America forever. I, and hundreds if not thousands of others have collected thousands upon thousands of signatures to submit to the UN to recognize the status and safety of homosexuals on a global level - the fact that we are so far along in our development that I could marry a woman in a place like New Zealand, or Canada, but that gay men are being murdered on a daily basis in Brazil shows a definite privilege imbalance.
To me, it's an incredible blessing and luxury that I not only get to be in a consensual, chosen relationship with a man whom I could press charges against if he abused me, I get to have OTHER people in my life on an intimate level as well! I can not only have a lesbian relationship and not be killed for it; hell, I can even call a florist and dictate a love note to my girlfriend and not have anyone involved bat an eye! And now I get to figure out how to be the best possible person within that complex and interesting lifestyle structure.
So when I hear things like 'couple privilege' I have to wonder; are we so privileged that we have we lost all perspective? Am I privileged because I have a husband? Or am I privileged because I have a husband who treats me as an equal? Or am I privileged because hotel rooms have a general maximum occupancy of two, and our girlfriend lacks privilege because she has to sneak in, or pay an extra occupant fee on the room? Where does my privilege begin, and end, exactly? And if privilege is something that I was born having, how can a relationship that I have invested seven years of my life building with another human being even be classified as a privilege - I created and earned that partnership, I wasn't born married to this man (although in some countries, you can be promised to someone upon birth). Couple privilege, hey? I think it's worth talking about.