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  #21  
Old 12-30-2009, 08:35 AM
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Ravenesque Ravenesque is offline
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Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
I've come to a very recent acceptance that there are two languages at play all around me. I see this here and at the monthly Poly meetings I attend and even in my discussions with Redpepper. There is essentially two languages being spoken when the mono world meets the poly world. Words that have immediate and understandable meanings to one world are different for the other.

This is an interesting dilemma as we attempt to move poly into the mainstream so that it in effect becomes mainstream.

There will inevitably be long drawn out debates about what a single word means. People will be passionate on both sides. Reclamation will face off against tradition. Societal norms will be questioned and challenged while others will be judged and marginalized.

This is a fascinating time to be a part of the expanding poly world as it spreads in openness and understanding. Hopefully both sides will be able to communicate to the point where there is no longer the presence of "both sides" and all is left is acceptance.

There are already warriors in play on both sides in the media, in public forums and in person. And me?...Talk about a torn soldier!
I agree with Ceoli that the words do not mean different things between the mono and poly "worlds." Not if we're going by dictionary definitions (People switch back and forth as it suits them usually.) The way that the concepts behind these words manifest themselves in monogamous and polyamorous people's lives is what differs. The shape the relationship takes in monogamy and in polyamory is the difference here.

This is why there are arguments around the words love, commitment and fidelity. The argument is not about definition here. What is being debated is whether it is possible to have these within a polyamorous relationship. Ideas of dilution of love as well as commitment and fidelity are always brought up. The poly rationale is rightly that these are as possible within poly relationships as they are within mono relationships.

Language differs where concepts have been created solely for the non-monogamous experience. NRE could be applied to monogamy but it is a non-mono concept. So are terms like metamour, grok, compersion, etc.

It should be encouraged that those who lie at the center of privilege and normativity step out of their comfort zones to understand that which is different from them. It is a regular occurrence for those who on the margins, for those at the periphery, to make the trek from their comfort zones the majority of the way in order to be accepted. "I'm different, let me learn the normative language and mannerisms you know and teach you to accept me." This is not acceptable. At the very least there needs to be a meeting in the middle now.

It is a positive act to expand one's knowledge outside of oneself, one's comfort zone. If I do not understand something I seek to find the meaning behind it as it stands for various peoples, cultures and perspectives. This opens my mind to the multifaceted nature of the world.

Unfortunately what is encouraged is that no effort be made to broaden horizons if an individual doesn't understand something. In fact fear is reinforced and not explored as the covering emotion it is. An effort to make whatever is unknown conform to what is known is often pushed.

Seeking to be one with the mainstream causes fractures within alternative communities along lines of morality. This is why we have some within the LGBTQ community seeking to distance themselves from polyamorists (and even step on poly people) using the same arguments that were used against them by the mainstream.

Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution?

A Simple Point on Polygamy

A disheartening quote from Andrew Sullivan, a well-known gay political blogger, yet it is indicative of the mindset that develops when trying to prove worthiness to be apart of the mainstream. "We're just like you and have the same values you, even the same prejudices":

Quote:
I think legalizing such arrangements is a bad idea for a society in general for all the usual reasons (abuse of women, the dangers of leaving a pool of unmarried straight men in the population at large, etc.). I also think it's reasonable for society to say to a heterosexual polygamist: we won't let you legally marry more than one person, but we encourage you to marry one. Now, look at it from the gay point of view. We tell the gay polyandrist: we won't let you marry more than one person, but we won't let you marry one person either. In fact, we will give you no legal outlet for your relationship, and no social support, and do all we can to stigmatize and marginalize it. Is the difference not obvious?

Below is the lovely article by Charles Krauthammer which Sullivan was responding to.

Pandora and Polygamy

The solution is to think of new ways of existing where everyone has the rights they should have.

An example is to question why privilege is granted to those who get married and seek to have those privileges made available outside of that institution. This rather than seek to have our relationships validated by the mainstream by being given the right to marry and still marginalizing others by not giving them the privileges because they have been left.

It is a negative cycle.

I know of Heinlein but I haven't read Heinlein. There are racist connections to the author and his novels. I'd be more likely to borrow a book to see for myself before I'd buy it. Someone has already recommended one I may like. "Friday."

However the point is that I'm poly and wouldn't quote or understand a quote from Heinlein beyond the single word 'grok' which I think is cute. Poly people come from broad backgrounds and experiences. I'd venture that there are as many differences as similarities.

I lean towards the progressive and radical. I do not see the merit in seeking to conform or create a new version of the normative or orthodox way for polyamory. I do see great possibilities in different ways of living being accepted and not persecuted.

A beautiful concept which was quoted on another poly group is this:


Quote:
"Acceptance is not approval, consent, permission, authorization, sanction, concurrence, agreement, compliance, sympathy, endorsement, confirmation, support, ratification, assistance, advocating, backing, maintaining, authenticating, reinforcing, cultivating, encouraging, furthering, promoting, aiding, abetting or even LIKING what is.

"Acceptance is saying, 'It is what it is, and what is is what is.'

Something perhaps that would help people live better together instead of struggling against each other because of difference.

~Raven~
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Last edited by Ravenesque; 12-30-2009 at 08:42 AM.
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  #22  
Old 12-30-2009, 02:58 PM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenesque View Post
It should be encouraged that those who lie at the center of privilege and normativity step out of their comfort zones to understand that which is different from them. It is a regular occurrence for those who on the margins, for those at the periphery, to make the trek from their comfort zones the majority of the way in order to be accepted. "I'm different, let me learn the normative language and mannerisms you know and teach you to accept me." This is not acceptable. At the very least there needs to be a meeting in the middle now.
THIS! The part I bolded is one of the hardest concepts for people who don't experience the margins to understand. That was just worded so beautifully I'm going to have to steal that.


Quote:
I lean towards the progressive and radical. I do not see the merit in seeking to conform or create a new version of the normative or orthodox way for polyamory. I do see great possibilities in different ways of living being accepted and not persecuted.
I agree with this entirely. When we create an orthodox or a new normative paradigm, we're merely shifting where the weight of the oppression is lying, not undoing that oppression. We end up having to change our own definitions to fit the more normative ones, which doesn't really accomplish understanding. An this is why I find it more useful to reclaim terms for our own experiences. While the intent of conversations like this may be to build bridges of communication, the effect is trying to make a non-mainstream identity to conform to a more mainstream one and that causes problems all around.

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  #23  
Old 12-30-2009, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Ravenesque View Post
NRE could be applied to monogamy but it is a non-mono concept. So are terms like metamour, grok, compersion, etc.
Actually, grok's gone mainstream, or at least it was in 2003 when I first heard of it. Context? A trivia bowl question which had nothing to do with polyamory except that Heinlein came up with the term.

Quote:
The solution is to think of new ways of existing where everyone has the rights they should have.
Exactly. I believe I saw a poster somewhere on here propose that civil unions be what determine rights, not marriage, which for many carries religious associations. To me, comparison of marriage to handfasting yields far more similarities than comparison of marriage to a civil union.

If I didn't see that on here, well, I still think it's a valid idea.

Quote:
However the point is that I'm poly and wouldn't quote or understand a quote from Heinlein beyond the single word 'grok' which I think is cute.
Do you one better, even: not only have I not read Heinlein (hey, I got that trivia question wrong), I've not read The Ethical Slut or Opening Up. Cue gasps of heresy?

-- the girl who's pretty sure Krauthammer's the most liberal conservative she's ever seen
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  #24  
Old 12-30-2009, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
THIS! The part I bolded is one of the hardest concepts for people who don't experience the margins to understand. That was just worded so beautifully I'm going to have to steal that.
You can take it. It's under an attribution share-alike license. Just kidding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
I agree with this entirely. When we create an orthodox or a new normative paradigm, we're merely shifting where the weight of the oppression is lying, not undoing that oppression. We end up having to change our own definitions to fit the more normative ones, which doesn't really accomplish understanding. An this is why I find it more useful to reclaim terms for our own experiences. While the intent of conversations like this may be to build bridges of communication, the effect is trying to make a non-mainstream identity to conform to a more mainstream one and that causes problems all around.

Damn, I'm glad you're here!
I agree with all that you wrote as well especially the above.

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Originally Posted by lovefromgirl View Post
Actually, grok's gone mainstream, or at least it was in 2003 when I first heard of it. Context? A trivia bowl question which had nothing to do with polyamory except that Heinlein came up with the term.
I should have known it would filter in through other geeky ones like me lol. Sci fi always does that. May The Force Be With You. But then some wouldn't say sci fi and its fandom are... normative and mainstream.

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Originally Posted by lovefromgirl View Post
Exactly. I believe I saw a poster somewhere on here propose that civil unions be what determine rights, not marriage, which for many carries religious associations. To me, comparison of marriage to handfasting yields far more similarities than comparison of marriage to a civil union.

If I didn't see that on here, well, I still think it's a valid idea.
Where I would be concerned here is whether civil unions are being given as a method to separate privileges once again. Marriage affords these privileges and civil unions don't. Then equality has not been given.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovefromgirl View Post
Do you one better, even: not only have I not read Heinlein (hey, I got that trivia question wrong), I've not read The Ethical Slut or Opening Up. Cue gasps of heresy?

-- the girl who's pretty sure Krauthammer's the most liberal conservative she's ever seen
*laughs* I certainly wouldn't burn you. These texts give perspectives poly people agree with or don't agree with. And I have a transcendentalist perspective in addition to my existentialist ones.

I haven't finished The Ethical Slut *gasps* and I'm not worried hehe. I do love Opening Up though.

~Raven~
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Rest your weary head and let your heart decide. It's so easy.
When you know the rules.
It's so easy. All you have to do is fall in love.
Play the game.
Everybody play the game of love. Yeah...~
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  #25  
Old 12-30-2009, 10:56 PM
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Where I would be concerned here is whether civil unions are being given as a method to separate privileges once again. Marriage affords these privileges and civil unions don't. Then equality has not been given.
Hence why I wouldn't be comfortable with such a change until it became widely understood that a "marriage" in front of a justice of the peace, for example, is just a civil union. It's what my parents had and they're none the worse for it! I'd love it if that were the default understanding: that it's the piece of paper that makes it a legally binding union, not the religious/cultural ceremony.

Either we're all married or we all have civil unions, pretty much.

That would, of course, require America to become much more of a secular nation, and given current circumstances, I doubt it'll happen in the next fifty years, but a girl can hope.

[edited because this code is still veeeeery new to me!]
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  #26  
Old 12-30-2009, 11:03 PM
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Ravenesque Ravenesque is offline
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Originally Posted by lovefromgirl View Post
That would, of course, require America to become much more of a secular nation, and given current circumstances, I doubt it'll happen in the next fifty years, but a girl can hope.

[edited because this code is still veeeeery new to me!]
I see what you mean. I'll light a candle and send a prayer out to the universe lol.

Some have said it would be good for the government to step out of marriage all together. Is that similar to what you're saying? Something made me think of it.

~Raven~
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Rest your weary head and let your heart decide. It's so easy.
When you know the rules.
It's so easy. All you have to do is fall in love.
Play the game.
Everybody play the game of love. Yeah...~
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  #27  
Old 12-31-2009, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Ravenesque View Post
[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]It should be encouraged that those who lie at the center of privilege and normativity step out of their comfort zones to understand that which is different from them. It is a regular occurrence for those who on the margins, for those at the periphery, to make the trek from their comfort zones the majority of the way in order to be accepted. "I'm different, let me learn the normative language and mannerisms you know and teach you to accept me." This is not acceptable. At the very least there needs to be a meeting in the middle now.

It is a positive act to expand one's knowledge outside of oneself, one's comfort zone. If I do not understand something I seek to find the meaning behind it as it stands for various peoples, cultures and perspectives. This opens my mind to the multifaceted nature of the world.

Unfortunately what is encouraged is that no effort be made to broaden horizons if an individual doesn't understand something. In fact fear is reinforced and not explored as the covering emotion it is. An effort to make whatever is unknown conform to what is known is often pushed.

Seeking to be one with the mainstream causes fractures within alternative communities along lines of morality. This is why we have some within the LGBTQ community seeking to distance themselves from polyamorists (and even step on poly people) using the same arguments that were used against them by the mainstream.
I agree with what you are saying here, but I don't think the way to meet in the middle is to bash people over the head with how I am marginalized. I also need to make a trek from where I am to meet people where they are at. How do I do that? By living my life without apology or trying to fit in.... living my life in honesty, openness and staying calm and understanding that others are not where I am... keeping my frustration and anger over other peoples agenda in check.

I have made some amazing friends who consider themselves mainstream and who I consider them so also. The feed back I have had over the years has been that they are grateful to me for "inviting" them to talk about stuff they don't understand. Making the space for them to ask me hard questions... I have not judged them for their difference and have not seen them as across an ocean of stuff that they just don't get. Instead I've been inviting and accepting of what they don't know and have asked if they are interested in knowing. Assuming they want to know really. sometimes I have been blind sided with "fuck off" but often times I have been seen as novel and interesting. Someone to ask questions of and someone who will answer any question... just by being me and willing to put myself in situations where I step out of my own comfort in order to make a difference. I think being "inviting" while not giving up what is important to us is more appropriate than saying, "that's not acceptable"

Actually, I find many people in activist communities to be more closed off to discussion than those in mainstream society... sad, but true for me. I used to identify as an activist for years. I don't openly identify anymore although I still think my heart is there. I don't because I don't want to be thought of as someone so radical that I am unapproachable. Which is often how mainstream people see activists. Quite often activists are so damned angry they miss the real opportunities to make change in the world. Anger is blinding it seems.
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  #28  
Old 12-31-2009, 01:17 AM
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I also need to make a trek from where I am to meet people where they are at. How do I do that? By living my life without apology or trying to fit in.... living my life in honesty, openness and staying calm and understanding that others are not where I am... keeping my frustration and anger over other peoples agenda in check.
Words I can live by, redpepper, thank you for articulating this so well.

I have had one pretty mainstream friend who has been utterly fascinated by the poly thing when we "came out" - he says it's not for him, but he is so keen to learn about the different ways that people can live their lives in happiness. I very much take the approach that this is what I want to do with my life, and I'm not trying to "convert" anyone or to tell them that my way is somehow better than other ways - it's just a different option, and I would like to have it seen as a valid option, rather than getting slammed for it from both the mainstream who think I am too radical and the activists (as you call them) who feel that I am not radical enough - both can be equally as intolerant of my chosen relationship model and feel that they know better, somehow, about what is "right".
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  #29  
Old 12-31-2009, 01:19 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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I agree with what you are saying here, but I don't think the way to meet in the middle is to bash people over the head with how I am marginalized. I also need to make a trek from where I am to meet people where they are at. How do I do that? By living my life without apology or trying to fit in.... living my life in honesty, openness and staying calm and understanding that others are not where I am... keeping my frustration and anger over other peoples agenda in check.
I think that the issue is that people who are marginalized don't have a choice about having to make that trek out of their comfort zones. They are faced with having to do this on a daily basis in order to get the very same things that come easily for those in the majority. From a position of privilege, it could be seen that wanting to address the fact that they don't have that choice is "bashing people over the head with their marginalization". The privileged position has the ability to dismiss it and remove themselves from the conversation. However, those in the margins get privilege bashed over their head on a daily basis and they don't have the choice to dismiss it or remove themselves from that. The only agenda is wanting to break that cycle.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:24 AM
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I think it should be said that people can experience privilege in some aspects of life and can be marginalized in other aspects of their life at the same time. It's always a dance, but I always work hard to keep aware of both situations in my life.
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