Why do some women think that polygamy is unacceptable?
Have you ever wondered what women think about polygamy? Let’s talk about polygamy facts people often ignore. We should mention that our primary focus is on societies that still allow this practice and not on individuals that enjoy having multiple spouses.
Why Are Women the Most Affected by the Topic?
There are so many potential problems with polygamy. But before we go in-depth about all the issues, let’s take a look at terminology. As you probably know already, polygamous marriages are those where one person has multiple spouses. This means that one woman can have multiple husbands or that one man can have multiple wives.
Two key terms here are polygyny and polyandry. We say polygyny when a man marries more than one woman, and in the opposite case, we say polyandry. Everyone knows that the most common form of polygamy is the first one.
If we talk about polyandry, there aren’t many cases of abuse and mistreatment (if any). But polygyny often puts women in a bad position and leads to exploitation, abuse, forced marriages, etc. Of course, this is something that applies to polygynous communities. If we are talking about individuals that enjoy having more than one spouse at a time, there is no reason for things to be bad.
Polygamy Is a Ground for Harassment and Abuse
Today, we can find a couple of places where people practice polygamy. It includes a few countries in Africa, Asia, and the Arab world. There are other places where people have a polygamous relationship, but marriages are not legal.
One of the problems is that rich men will often practice what you may call serial monogamy. They will have multiple monogamous relationships one after the other and be with multiple women without all the stigma that comes with polygamy. In the countries where polygyny is perfectly fine, it is often inspired by religion or ideology. A person is rich or wealthy if they have multiple wives, and we couldn’t even begin to explain why this is wrong.
Since the primary focus of polygamy is to have as many children as possible, women are often victims of harassment and abuse. In the Islamic world, a man can have up to four wives (sometimes even more). The obvious problem here is that women aren’t allowed to have multiple husbands.
But not all Muslim countries allow this practice. There are numerous places where polygamy is sanctioned (like Turkey and Tunisia), and in other countries, it is banned altogether. Those that have unequal rules for men and women still allow harassment and mistreatment quite often, though.
Polygamy Depreciates Women’s Mental Health
In the majority of cases, having equal treatment is impossible. Wives in polygyny are often of different rank, with the senior wife being the one that “arrived” first. In some Muslim countries, a husband will need to get permission from his first wife if he wants to marry another one. And this creates a hierarchy. Of course, being a junior wife in this scenario is far from equal, and it can have a serious impact on one’s mental health.
Another thing we should mention is that polygyny is often a way for a man to boost his ego. But it rarely works in both ways. Of course, since the entire idea is focused on men and what they desire, it isn’t a form of polygamy that appears in Western culture. And with that, jealousy is quite common between wives. Jealousy and rivalry will never create a healthy environment, and it is the reason why mental health can deteriorate.
In the West, many couples are into exploring polygamy. But the difference here is that the entire experience is consensual. Whether we are talking about polygyny or polyandry, all involved parties are well aware of what’s going on. However, polygamy rarely works, and you will have a challenging time finding many polygamous relationships that work without problems.
Polygamy Only Nurtures Misogyny
Our focus here is primarily on polygyny. And since polygamy violates laws in many countries, it would be rather pointless to talk about countries that aren’t allowing it. This means that we will mostly be focusing on the countries and regions we mentioned earlier.
In Muslim countries, polygyny is strongly favoring men and their desires. As we mentioned earlier, it is a sign of wealth, and the more powerful the man is, the more wives he will have. There are numerous reports that talk about jealousy, psychological crises women go through, issues with low self-esteem, and others.
But this isn’t something that is concerning in Muslim countries since the entire society is favoring men. And continuing this practice only nurtures misogyny.
Polygamy Promotes Androcentrism
With all this in mind, we can easily see how polygamy (or rather polygyny) promotes androcentrism. Andro comes from a Greek word that means man or male, and it is a society focused on men. We already know a few countries that revolve around men and their desires, and we can easily see everything wrong with it.
For years, women have been ignored and neglected. We can see signs of androcentrism in everything from art to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And it is wrong. What is even worse is that there are still so many places across the globe that keep forcing this point of view.
Polygamy is just another way to promote it. You will never hear a story about a sad guy in a polygynous relationship and how he was mistreated by his four wives. It is always the other way around. The entire relationship is designed to boost his ego without regard for the women around him and their mental health.
Today, it seems that everyone has an opinion about the subject, but the only thing that matters and the voice we should be listening to is women’s thoughts about polygamy and what they have to say.