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  #11  
Old 09-15-2012, 03:46 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
The star trek stuff caught my eye too. For a couple seconds I was looking for Jedi stuff to appear then relized I had the wrong movie or tv show.
Star Wars vs. Star Trek is definitely one of the consummate archetypical debates of contemporary Western popular culture. You can apply it to just about any intellectual masturbation exercise, and use it to prove whatever point you want.

I have always leaned toward the "Trek" camp, probably because I can find more characters in it with whom i identify in real life, but it doesn't really matter which side of the fence you land on. It is still a wonderful rhetorical tool.
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  #12  
Old 09-15-2012, 04:04 PM
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The author definitely brings up some good thinking points, but for all of her talk of "superiority" she has quite a bit of that kind of tone in a lot of her writing.

While living and practicing poly may be a privilege, actually feeling polyamorous is not. Regardless of this, I don't understand why it is important to her to make poly people accept this in order for her to feel comfortable using the label for herself. It doesn't really follow. Lots of things are privileges and I don't really know why she is stuck on this. In a sense, this almost seems to be a very "superior" tone from her because SHE gets it and SHE realizes what a privilege it is and the rest of us are just ignorant and self-absorbed.

(I will say that almost any time I hear someone calling someone else pretentious or superior, it quite more often than not belies their own feelings of superiority over whatever group they are calling out.)

While some people do appropriate concepts, I don't think this means that everyone who uses some of these words is just trying to be more "exotic" or "sacred" and may actually be interested in some of these concepts or open and willing to learn. This, again, seems to be our "superior" author fighting to defend the original and cultural notions of these words against all the faceless ignorant privileged white people that use the words. Language does change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but beating someone over the head for it or looking down your nose at them isn't the way to educate people to use more "enlightened" word choices. In my experience, people often don't realize when they are saying something that may be hurtful, offensive, or naive in some way and giving them the benefit of the doubt tends to make them a lot more receptive to hearing what you have to say on the matter. I do realize that conscious and aware language choices are important when it comes to issues of culture and diversity, but it is hard to justify that when the author is taking the stereotypically naggy tone that people tend to make fun of and start throwing labels like "politically correct" at the speaker. As someone who tends to try to be conscious of these things, even I get triggered when I feel like someone is speaking down to me like an uneducated grub and this is exactly what the author is doing here. This "appropriation" occurs in many walks of life and again I don't see it as a really compelling reason to reject the label of poly. The author can label herself as she chooses, but I feel she is revealing far more about herself than the "poly community" she speaks of in her article.

As far as abuse and cheating go, I have never seen those behaviors validated on this website, in my local poly community, or in the books I've read on the subject. My experience with the "poly community" at large is limited, but I am willing to guess that so is the author's (which is quite ironic that she is so worried about labeling things the "right way", yet makes blanket statements about an entire group of people without considering that the problems she is experiencing might be specific to her area or website). I understand that she would get frustrated with people using poly as an excuse to cheat and be crappy (I do too), but someone who is truly poly doesn't need to stop calling themselves poly because someone else is using the word wrong, nor should they. That would be like every genuine sufferer of OCD or bipolar rejecting those labels because people tend to use them inappropriately all the time. It isn't necessary. Education about more accurate ways to use the labels is much more appropriate in my opinion (although I will always recognize the right of someone to label themselves as they choose, but some labels will foster a greater understanding of the concept you are trying to convey and if you use nonstandard labels you may set yourself up for misunderstanding). I can see how a poly setup may open doors for abuse that didn't previously exist, and I think that is definitely an important topic to consider adding to discussion about poly.

How the author defines "friend" and "lover" is and always has been free to be different from the poly person next door. This article seems less and less a real criticism of poly than it does a lot of finger-pointing and the author trying to distance herself from the concept of poly, while dragging every bad thing she can think of about it through the mud just to solidify that distance. So some poly people did things different from you. Boo-hoo. Put on your big kid pants and realize that you are allowed to do things different under poly. It is a pretty broad relationship style and people are free to do things the way they choose. If you want lines to demarcate friends and lovers, great! If you would rather let things be more fluid, awesome! The important part is consent and keeping all partners aboveboard and honest with each other. As long as everyone is happy, the triad or quad or network down the street doesn't have to fit YOUR version of poly. Don't get involved with them if you don't like it, but there is no need to say "If that is poly, then I'M not poly." You don't have to be guilty by association. If you find something distasteful, you don't have to live it or condone it in your own life.

While the abuse thing may be something to look out for, and it is definitely always a good thing to examine one's privilege, this article reads less as a mature criticism of issues in poly and more like a childish stab at a community the author didn't quite mesh with and a chance to parade her educated and diversity friendly self in contrast to it. I don't really see much point in looking down your nose at an entire group of people because you met a few you didn't like and your local or internet communities weren't exactly what you thought they would be.

Last edited by MusicalRose; 09-15-2012 at 04:07 PM.
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  #13  
Old 09-15-2012, 04:19 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Well, the vast majority of poly folks that I know in person are definitely "economically disenfranchised" and most have kids, so my own experiences don't mirror the author's at all.

I definitely consider myself fortunate to be able to have the relationships that I do. Part of it was happenstance, but a lot of it was hard work, and a willingness to make it succeed. "Privilege" is a very emotive word, so I am very careful in using it.

The time that I need to devote to my relationships is definitely a commodity for me - I have a very busy job where I need to be willing to work whenever they need me, without warning or being paid overtime. Sometimes this calls for accommodations in my relationships, but that is something I have to do. My "spare time" for other hobbies tends to take third place to this. So I'm really not sure whether I have any more time for my relationships than someone that is "economically disenfranchised".

I don't think that I know in person of any poly person who "mooches" off someone with money - I am guessing that this is a factor of the local demographic where the author lives.

I have met a few non-Caucasians who have self-identified as poly, but I agree that the Caucasians are the majority.

A significant number of the folks that I know in our local poly community are either LGBT or into Kink - both of these tend to be marginalizing and take them out of the mainstream. I would say that the proportion of people in these categories in the poly community is significantly higher than in the so-called "mainstream" community, so I don't share the same viewpoint as the author at all. Because I find the premise flawed, I can not agree with the conclusions.

Nearly all poly people that I know don't wrap their poly up in some sort of exotic spirituality, as the author says. They just get on with it, without trying to explain it.

On the topic of abuse and abusers - I would like to know if the rate of occurrence of this in the poly community is in any way different from that of the community at large. There are abusers in both, and I have seen no data whatsoever to indicate that polys are abusive any more than anyone else.

And the superiority is something that I am quite often trying to dispel - I don't hear it much in my local group, but the number of folks that come online and talk about how polyamory is "more evolved", or that "everyone is really poly". I try to be polite about it, but won't tolerate it. I see others doing the same thing. So while there are folks (usually newbies) who spout this stuff, the experienced poly folk don't tend to. Polyamory is absolutely not the solution to most problems - in fact, it rarely is.

I definitely have the concept of acquaintances, friends and lovers (and I will add "colleagues" into that mix too) - and while people can go from one to another, they are definitely different in my mind.

So, to close, I don't share this person's experiences with the poly communities in which I have been involved, so therefore cannot draw anything like the same conclusions. It's a shame that this person's experiences in the community have been so negative.

ETA: and I totally agree with MusicalRose, who seems to have posted at the same time as me!
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Last edited by CielDuMatin; 09-15-2012 at 04:22 PM.
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  #14  
Old 09-15-2012, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoringGuy View Post
Star Wars vs. Star Trek is definitely one of the consummate archetypical debates of contemporary Western popular culture. You can apply it to just about any intellectual masturbation exercise, and use it to prove whatever point you want.

I have always leaned toward the "Trek" camp, probably because I can find more characters in it with whom i identify in real life, but it doesn't really matter which side of the fence you land on. It is still a wonderful rhetorical tool.
BoringGuy, I really liked where this subject was going, but felt that we were kind of veering off of the OP, so I created a new thread over in the Fireplace forum called Star Trek and Star Wars with my thoughts on what you said as well as space for anyone else to have their say on these 2 great Sci Fi phenomena :-).
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  #15  
Old 09-15-2012, 07:13 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Originally Posted by Scott View Post
That one really rang a bell with me, particularly the very first line:
"Most of the people Iíve had contact with in the polyamory community have been economically privileged, most of them donít have kids,"
It rang a bell with me, too--the author apparently has very little experience with poly folk.

I've met very few poly folk who are economically privileged. Predominantly, those without children are young and have put off childbearing or are old enough their children are grown; I certainly wouldn't say those without children constitute a majority.
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  #16  
Old 09-15-2012, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
It rang a bell with me, too--the author apparently has very little experience with poly folk.

I've met very few poly folk who are economically privileged. Predominantly, those without children are young and have put off childbearing or are old enough their children are grown; I certainly wouldn't say those without children constitute a majority.
Well, we might have just hung in different poly circles, but the fact that the author brought up the fact that she's an immigrant makes me think of a whole different economic level; there's a reason that many countries are called 'third world'. That being said, as I mentioned earlier, polyamory -can- work for people regardless of their economic situation, particularly if it involves living together; it's much easier to get one more room then it is to get a bachelor's apartment type thing. And then there's all the pooling of resources that can happen as well.
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  #17  
Old 09-17-2012, 12:30 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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So, I guess I/we are the poly demographic that the author of the article has issues with. We are "economically privileged", in the sense that my income is sufficient to provide for our needs and many of our wants, and we don't have kids (after two miscarriages and a lot of heartbreak). So I guess the guys are "mooching" off me since they don't work for someone else for money. (Although they both would if that became necessary.)

So yes, we are privileged - I worked hard and acquired a shitload of student loans to get here. Pardon me if I don't apologize profusely for enjoying the fruits of the 60-90 hour weeks I've been working for the last 13 years...and will continue to work until I retire (hopefully at 50). (Sorry folks, side issue and a whole different debate...)

Most of the article didn't really resonate with me as the only "poly community" I have been exposed to is here and the old alt.polyamory usenet group and I haven't seen much of what they are referring to.

The main thing that got to me was the part where they were talking about abusers. So, you are in a relationship with someone who treats other people like shit? And POLYAMORY is the problem? Why the FUCK are you in a relationship with someone who treats people like shit?!?! Because "everyone else" is okay with it? What are you, a sheep?

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  #18  
Old 09-17-2012, 12:40 AM
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Even as economically disadvantaged as we were, living together would not be an option. First because Pretty Lady would never leave her family property to get foreclosed on and secondly because they would never consider moving their son out of his school district and into ours. He is a junior in high school and the head of his JROTC drill team. Finally, Pretty Lady would never allow any sexual activity in the house as long and the children were home (as she has not for the entire 16 years they've been married) and I can't live like that.
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  #19  
Old 09-17-2012, 04:10 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Does the author have some valid points? ....do these conditions exist in the community at large ?
I enjoyed the article for being throughtprovoking. The tone of the article had some snark in it, since it was journal writing/opinion piece. But it had good points. Thanks for posting it, Dinged!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DingedHeart
Does the author have some valid points? ....do these conditions exist in the community at large ?
Let me scroll through...

I had to agree -- All relationships ARE a privilege, regardless of configuration.
  • The expression of being in relationship and being safe in that expression (seen it, experienced it)
  • Having the TIME to have relationships in (seen it, experienced it)
  • Having the MONEY to have relationships with -- dating costs, raising kids costs, having enough food/home/clothes costs etc. (seen it, exeperienced it)
  • Woman considering relationship on factors other than just love (seen it, experienced it)
  • Moocher dating moneyed partners (seen it. )
  • Disabled/ablesim factor (seen it.)
  • Color/Race factor (seen it, experienced it.)
  • Orientation (queer, bi, trans, etc) factor. (seen it, experienced it)

Appropriation -- I've seen some of that but I don't really care. Everyone has the right to run their polyship however it is they want. Culture spreads via communication/sharing so... trying to keep anything "culture pure" is silly. Esp here in the USA -- it's a mishmosh already! The country was built on mishmosh of cultures. And the culture keeps on evolving in time even in a country that isn't built on mixed peoples. Technology, knowledge - other factors change how "things are done and expressed" which is part of culture.


Empathy vs Sympathy vs fake "i feel your pain"
-- the poly patriarch thing with the queer thing? No, not experienced that myself. There IS the issue of polyness, queerness, kinkyness, and more causing probs with child custody cases. There's similarities in there, I agree.


Abusers hiding easier inside polyamory
-- I agree. It is easier for abusers to hide in there. Seen it. The way it was written though... missed some bits for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneSmythe
The main thing that got to me was the part where they were talking about abusers. So, you are in a relationship with someone who treats other people like shit? And POLYAMORY is the problem? Why the FUCK are you in a relationship with someone who treats people like shit?!?! Because "everyone else" is okay with it? What are you, a sheep?
Jane -- No, abuse victims are messed up by the abuser. NOT polyamory. It is not that polyamory is the problem, or that BDSM is the problem.

It is that the nature of both (having many partners potential) that makes it EASIER for the abuser to hide in because s/he is harder to pin down and recognize as abusive than if there were in a monogamous (or expected monogamous) arrangement. Article could have communicated this a bit more clearly.

So it's harder to notice them/ roust them out. Esp. if the victim is gaslighted and unsure they are even being abused in a way that "counts." Not all abuse is physical leaving bruises on the body. Most people will count hitting as abusive. Some is more subtle leaving bruises on the soul where it cannot be seen. Some people will not acknowledge mental or emotional abuses even though they pain the victim just as much or more than beatings and are forms of controlling them. The article DID touch on this aspect.

When people say "Why don't they just leave?!" well... sometimes the victims are fully aware that the leaving time is the most dangerous time. Retribution from the abuser can mean death -- of the victim or the victim's kids or other loved ones. Wackadoodle is wackdoodle. Sigh. The article failed to touch on this end of it. The leaving time being dangerous time. Some people choose to be ALIVE even if dinged a lot than DEAD.

Some abusers are NOT going to let the "bad ex" off light. Some might, and just focus on their other abused honeys. But not all. And if the abuser were with ONE partner -- say married to them. If that person suddenly disappears people will look to the spouse and go hrm.... If the abuser was with MANY partners, and one disappears? The abuser can go "Oh, we broke up and they left" and not as many will look at them and go hrm as "deep"... because they still see them roughly the same. A person with many partners.

Article did not touch on that.

Veto Power / Weak Boundaries -- I have seen that. That paragraph would have been better as a bullet point its own. The way presented you can mix it up with the abuse bullet point. I can see why in the thought process it comes linked to the abuse though. It is a close cousin. It can happen on top of abuse too.

Superiority -- I have seen that. Polyamory is not more "evolved" than monoamory just as polyships are not more evolved than monoships. People like what they like for their relationship configurations. Nobody's business but the people IN the relationship.

Sugarcoating Cheating with "Polyamory" -- I have seen that. The article could have bulleted that out a bit more clearly though it touches on it.

Poly vs Swing and "vocabulary usage" calibration so everyone is talking about the same thing -- I have seen that. The article touches on it but it isn't a clear bullet point.

Really ANY one of those bullets could be a whole article in of itself!

And because of that, it could lead to interesting talks. I'm going to show it to DH. Thanks again, Dinged!

GalaGirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-17-2012 at 04:17 AM.
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  #20  
Old 09-17-2012, 03:17 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Gala,

you're very welcome, my pleasure.

I thought it might generate a discussion.

I was surprised to see in your analysis of the article that you skipped over her choice of Scifi series ....that debate actually spawned another thread
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