POLIGAMY, POLYANDRY AND ALL?
There might be a feeling especially amongst us women to feel that we have fewer choices than men in society. May be true but so far I think it is a question of accepting change or the lack of it across the board in our societies.
If am not wrong, someone in the group recently wrote about men being able to marry more than one wife while the opposite is next to impossible if not so. Realistically, women tend to be monogamous or is it monoandrious(is there anything like this?) by nature as compared to men. But lets look at our society today and try being open about what goes around.
There is this thing referred to as serial monogamy, considering that our generation is such of temporary come we stay arrangements. We find ourselves(both men and women) hoping from one partner to another and all the while feeling that we have found the right person. So I beg the question; is it only men who have this habit or rather the cause of this or it is all of us engaging in a new era relationship system?
Most of the laws in our countries do not permit poligamy unless one marries under what, for example, is termed as customary law down here in Kenya. If a man otherwise decides to acquire a new wife under civil laws he will fall victim of bigamy which carries around seven years imprisonment if am not wrong.
So is it only women who have less choices or is it a matter of redefining our societies to match times and maybe avoiding hypocrisy?
I really don't know why Christianity roots for monogamy and I would want members of the group from Western nations to share with us from a historical perspective the rule of monogamy and also tell us what is happening today as concerns marriage.
Today, most of us have found ourselves in relationships with married men and even married women 'hooking up' with married men or single young men. It is happening but nobody wants to acknowledge or even talk about it. Married men and women go back soberly to their spouses while behind the scenes 'illicit' relationships flourish. Churches and other religious groups continue to preach of faithfulness while they are aware of what goes on without trying to openly discuss and maybe find a level ground.
The tragedy of all this however, and this is where inequality and stereotyping sets in is in the way women are demonised in all these manners of relationships. If say a relationship between a married man and a single woman is busted, the woman will be accused of 'seducing and stealing' the poor and innocent responsible husband and father. The man will be forgiven for succumbing to temptations and allowed to go back to his marriage. What then happens to the young woman or even the wife who is persuaded to take back an 'adulterous' husband?
I really don't know how we are supposed to face all the changes in our society without sounding like pagans or something close to that. Personally, I often get the feeling that it would be better being open than hiding under the guise of religion while we really don't practise what we preach or preached to.
In the traditional African society, polygamy was practised and though I was not there, historical records attest to harmonious families and societies. Islam also permits poligamy and looking at it comparatively especially in a Kenyan scenario, their families are more stable than the Christian ones. I don't mean that all Christian families are unstable but am just being open and realistic of what is happening around us. The rates of HIV infections amongst married couples has been found out in Kenya to amount to 50% of all new infections. What then does this testify for our truly monogamous society?
The new era feminism, women rights activism or even general human rights activism should be a forum where we can all bring in issues that accompany the dynamism of our society. I feel that it is really the way we define or even accept issues surrounding us that shape our approaches and attainment of the causes we champion for.
The case of lesbianism and gayism as human rights issues, for example, gained momentum a few years ago. But this continues to be a worthy cause for activism mainly in the west. In Africa, these issues are still stereotyped and even branded illegal in most countries. If feminism and any other form of activism is to be achieved across the world, it is worth putting them in context and defining issues accurately in every society.
We might not be able to reverse history but I think we can redefine it! It is a call for New Era Feminism and Activism otherwise the status quo persists and some animals continue being more equal than others.