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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.

Comments

cordelia's picture

POLIGAMY, POLYANDRY AND ALL?

Funny you should bring up this issue when it has been burning in me for a while. This in different contexts. Christianity versus my own grandfather having had 17 wives (how he could afford them all is still beyond me!). I have plenty of arguements against polygamy, but, I live and work in Johannesburg, the economic capital of South Africa and possibly even sub-saharan Africa. At 21, I was rosy eyed and believed in one love for life. Now, 8 years later, my viewpoint has changed. Men in this part of the world, have had to leave behind wives and children in search of economic prosperity. in the process, they meet other women. The rest, as they say, is history. The problem is that Joburg is largely superficial. It took a while for friends of mine to come to terms with the fact that I sometimes have the audacity to go to the supermarket still in my pyjamas. Not done. Looking aound me, I see women looking absolutely lovely in their individual ways. Take a lonely man and add all that plus charm and soon the man is enamoured.
Women too suffer the same ill. There really is your kind of man here no matter how unique your tastes. Couples tend to prefer living together for reasons ranging from economic to pure vanity. Marriage not being especially high on the agenda in circles where the women now earn more than the men. Needless to say, a musical chairs sort of senario ensues with one hopping from one relationship to the next. Married men remove their rings and by the time one is aware, the fascination will have dwindled on one side or the other.
I have finally decided that happiness is a choice. I was lambasted by the more conservative in my circles when I decided i wanted to be a mother but had no desire to be married-simply because I have great respect for the institution but little faith in its practise in current form. I do not believe that anyone can ever be more equal than they have first determined in themselves to be. So I determined how I was going to live. At first it was hard, but even some of my harshest critics have since come around. If you believe polygamy is right for you-more power my sister. If you want more than one husband at once-good on you. Just please be careful-people are dying. Choose for yourself and the world will follow in time.

Kurui's picture

You got my point

Thanks Cordelia for pushing forward my thoughts. My point is really the power to choose what you feel is right and makes you happy. The other thing I was bringing forth is the power of openess which enables people to make informed choices as pertains their lives. When you are aware of what kind of relationship you are in or getting into, it gives one an opportunity to negotiate, for example, for safe sex. Take a situation where people are in monogamous marriages and are aware that their spouses are cheating on them but since they have no evidence, they cannot ask them to use condoms. Ignorance has never gotten people anywhere and pretence is even worst.
Freedom to choose is my drive and I wish all women would have it regardless. I don't champion for monogamy, poliandry, poligamy or whatever but wish everyone especially women could choose what works for them especially as a way to protect their wellbeing whatsoever for to me this is all EMPOWERMENT IS ALL ABOUT.

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