A House Full of Females

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Beefster
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by Beefster » 28 Nov 2017, 18:27

Good points, the both of you. I guess I meant it in the sense of Roy's first definition, not his second, because it isn't necessarily an anti-woman practice. Of course it isn't egalitarian, so there is that.

I'm not saying we should reinstate the practice or anything. If a prophet couldn't exactly be trusted with the practice, I don't think anyone else can. Too much room for serious abuse.

On the other hand, you could say that polygyny actually benefits women in that they don't have to worry whether a man is taken because men can marry multiple women, leaving them with far more "buyers" in the "sexual marketplace" and allowing them to be more selective. This would create a troubling situation for socially awkward or unpopular men as they watch women getting snatched up by all the smooth and high-status men. Even in the church's state of single men being inactive at a higher rate than single women, the I suspect the dynamics would still be out of whack and it would be a net detriment to men. There is already enough competition; I don't need more. The only way around these dynamics is with matchmaking and arranged marriages, which nobody likes. (BTW: many of the plural marriages in the church were by assignment, effectively making them arranged marriages)

I'm not going to pretend that men and women are the same, because they're not. There are distinct differences in biology and psychology that would drive these dynamics. Polyandry would have vastly different dynamics and polyamory is a different beast entirely.

Monogamy is a nice, clean, egalitarian, balanced practice that benefits men and women about equally, especially in modern times when wives are no longer seen as property.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

DancingCarrot
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by DancingCarrot » 28 Nov 2017, 19:41

Beefster wrote:
28 Nov 2017, 18:27
On the other hand, you could say that polygyny actually benefits women in that they don't have to worry whether a man is taken because men can marry multiple women, leaving them with far more "buyers" in the "sexual marketplace" and allowing them to be more selective.
This belief might carry weight, if only virtually every polygamous culture hasn't demoted women to some secondary status. Women don't go out "shopping" for which polygamous husband's family to "buy into". Women were/are expected to accept whichever man's proposal she receives, not only because is her opinion secondary, but often because her personal educational and economic opportunities are limited as well. Polygamy has never been a buyer's market for women. Frankly, until quite recently in human history, MARRIAGE has never been a buyer's market for women.
Beefster wrote:
28 Nov 2017, 18:27
The only way around these dynamics is with matchmaking and arranged marriages, which nobody likes. (BTW: many of the plural marriages in the church were by assignment, effectively making them arranged marriages).
Actually, there's plenty of evidence out there that suggests arranged marriages are the happiest and have the lowest rates of divorce. Besides the cultural values that don't see divorce as an acceptable practice, people have already bought into the practice of having their marriage arranged so when it comes time for it to happen for them there isn't any angst associated with it. Interestingly, it's the fact that us in the West have such huge amounts of choice from which to select, and therefore also know at what we're "missing", is what drives our unhappy marriages and higher divorce rates.
Beefster wrote:
28 Nov 2017, 18:27
There are distinct differences in biology and psychology that would drive these dynamics. Polyandry would have vastly different dynamics and polyamory is a different beast entirely.

Monogamy is a nice, clean, egalitarian, balanced practice that benefits men and women about equally, especially in modern times when wives are no longer seen as property.
Yes, because people usually enter into polyandry expecting open communication and consent from all people involved. If someone isn't okay with an arrangement, from what I understand, that's often allowed to be something to talk about and potentially not go through with - which isn't how polygamy works at all. Also, just because I haven't been a big enough pain already, monogamy and marriage tends to benefit men more - my guess is because of how masculinity is traditionally expected of men. Married men live longer and have better relationships than single men, overall. Married women often lose more sleep and have far bigger family and career stressors than do single women.
Beefster wrote:
28 Nov 2017, 08:44
The problem comes from when it was abused
Frankly, as a women and potential "other umpteenth of a polygamous relationship", I can't think of a time when polygamy HASN'T been abusive. To women. There is nothing redemptive or exalting in the principle or practice of it, in my opinion.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

DancingCarrot
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by DancingCarrot » 28 Nov 2017, 19:53

I've never made the link from polygamy to women's suffrage, but it seems to be a pretty strong one. I guess leaving women alone without the supervision of a man and responsibilities to be managed actually leads somewhere productive! :o

http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapte ... nutah.html

What I love is that while many people were willing to grant women the vote, everyone was also hoping that women would just help further their own causes. Also, it seems like the church voicing political support that eventually wins at the polls is a centuries' long tradition. Sometimes it's nice to see things not change. :D

I also think it's great that Utah was one of the first states to grant women's suffrage, as well as allow them to hold office. I love that the RS was a tour de force in helping women organize in their communities around the state, and that they were active in causes they believed in, formally church-related or not.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

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LookingHard
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by LookingHard » 28 Nov 2017, 20:01

DancingCarrot wrote:
28 Nov 2017, 19:53
I also think it's great that Utah was one of the first states to grant women's suffrage, as well as allow them to hold office. I love that the RS was a tour de force in helping women organize in their communities around the state, and that they were active in causes they believed in, formally church-related or not.
Women were allowed to vote while Utah was a territory and it was given with the assumption that they would vote against polygamy, but they didn't. It was then repealed by federal anti-polygamy legislation, but then was reinstated as Utah was admitted as a state. Isn't history kind of crazy?

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dande48
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by dande48 » 28 Nov 2017, 20:51

Thanks for sharing. I'll have to read it myself.

One of my biggest problems with the Church is Brigham Young, and my biggest problem with him was the absolute and utter skewed distribution among the early LDS Church. Young got the "Lion's" share of the money, the food, and the women, all while asking major sacrifice from all the saints.

Reading up on the discussion, and throwing in my two cents... the biggest problem I have is when people's agency is taken away. It's one thing if a consenting husband and a concenting wife want to have an "open" polyamorous marriage; and I can see in small populations, under certain circumstances how that could be benificial (still, gross!). But when you have someone you consider God's chosen prophet, commanding you under threat of hellfire, that I have a problem. Or when you have that same prophet and Church leaders placing people in precarious situations (sending the men on missions, hoarding all the resources), and placing them in a situation where they can't say "no". I can't think of anything more hellish than to sacrifice everything to follow a man you believe speaks for God into the middle of nowhere, and then to be commanded to partake in what you hold to be a decadent practice, and being placed under threat of hell by that very prophet.

I'm not upset my Abraham, or Jacob's polygammy. While I certainly don't have enough info to make any judgements, it seemed like the appropriate time and place for such a practice; small nomatic tribes. But when you come to King David, and Solomon, and later Brigham Young... it feels like a wicked abuse of power.
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Beefster
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by Beefster » 28 Nov 2017, 23:54

DancingCarrot wrote:
28 Nov 2017, 19:41
Also, just because I haven't been a big enough pain already, monogamy and marriage tends to benefit men more - my guess is because of how masculinity is traditionally expected of men. Married men live longer and have better relationships than single men, overall. Married women often lose more sleep and have far bigger family and career stressors than do single women.
Good point. I guess it's not equal.

Traditional masculinity might be part of it, but perhaps a bigger reason why men benefit more is that marriage makes sex far more available that it would be otherwise. It also gives them access to raising children while not spending the majority of their time with them. I'm not saying it's fair, but men get a great deal.

Then the last 30 years of societal shift have put more burden of providing on mothers without transferring much of the traditional maternal responsibility to fathers. Mothers these days are expected to do everything, which almost makes men obsolete while giving women the short end of the stick. Nobody is going to be happy constantly working at overdrive.

When mothers choose to or need to work for the family, fathers probably ought to step up and take over some of the child-rearing duties and other domestic tasks... Heck, men should be cooking and cleaning at least proportional to the time they spend awake in the home in relation to their wives. Mothers these days have a full plate.

There could also be biology at work. We didn't come by the "men provide, women raise children" roles by accident or by divine intervention; these roles formed organically from biological tendencies. Generally speaking, fulfilling your gender's role tends to be more fulfilling. Strangely enough, gender career preferences actually diverge more the more egalitarian a nation is.

I wonder how the happiness statistics look when taking into account single mothers and childless married women. There might be a statistical paradox lurking in there. For comparison, the single/married happiness stats for men depend on lower happiness rates of divorced men, since divorced men are counted as single. A better statistic would separate never-marrieds from divorced men, which will undoubtedly paint a different picture.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

Roy
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by Roy » 29 Nov 2017, 12:47

Beefster wrote:
28 Nov 2017, 18:27
There are distinct differences in biology and psychology that would drive these dynamics.
[admin note]This thread already has enough lurking pitfalls. Please let us not throw into the mix differences in biology, psychology, gender norms, and the relative benefits of the institution of marriage. Please return discussion back to the book being reviewed here (A House Full of Females) and the specific observations pulled from the book. Thank you. [end admin note]
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SamBee
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by SamBee » 29 Nov 2017, 13:27

I knew a woman years ago who had two lovers in the same house - polyandry - is that form of polygamy misogynistic?

I also know one woman in my city - she is a Hollywood actress and you may have seen her in some films - who has an old husband (a notable but less famous figure in his own right)... and basically she has a younger male lover quite openly and he tolerates it....

Besides which I have talked regularly about the hypocrisy of western society which currently denounces polygamy as baaad, but a person having multiple sex partners outside marriage is apparently alright and polyamory is fashionable. Seems hypocritical.

If it is consensual and the spouses are both full adults, what is the issue? I heard someone say polygamy is bad because of "the abuse", but I pointed out that there is plenty of abuse in monogamy too.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by hawkgrrrl » 29 Nov 2017, 13:57

If a prophet couldn't exactly be trusted with the practice, I don't think anyone else can. Too much room for serious abuse.
Exactly because someone is a prophet is the problem! Prophets are invested with more power and prestige, and polygamy, throughout history, aligns with wealth. The people in power had multiple wives (and harems) while those who weren't wealthy, who didn't have power or prestige, got the leftovers. Any way you slice it, that's women being treated quite literally as a perk of wealth, property.
There could also be biology at work. We didn't come by the "men provide, women raise children" roles by accident or by divine intervention; these roles formed organically from biological tendencies. Generally speaking, fulfilling your gender's role tends to be more fulfilling.
I think you need to expand your reading to include Stephenie Coontz and Cordelia Fine. Several key points here: 1) there is no difference between the male brain and the female brain, 2) most things that you might think are true throughout history (men provide, women raise children) are not nearly as true historically and universally as they have been since the 1950s in the US, 3) you think these roles have formed organically and biologically, but you can't prove that, and it's just as likely that culture is shaped by those in power, usually men (as the physically larger of the species on the whole), 4) I don't know many women who find "women's work" to be fulfilling. Women have often been barred from entry into careers they would have otherwise enjoyed either by cultural norms, lack of health benefits, lack of support from men, or outright sex discrimination. There are too many external pressures that limit choices for us to say what would happen in a vacuum, naturally or organically.

For example, if maternal mortality hadn't been as high as it was up to the last 100 years, how would that have affected women's choices? And that's a circular question because maternal mortality was doubtless as high as it was because it wasn't a problem men (who were in power and had access to resources) felt was a high priority to solve. We now live in a time when women outlive men pretty consistently, but historically, a double digit percentage of women died in childbirth.

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SamBee
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Re: A House Full of Females

Post by SamBee » 29 Nov 2017, 14:40

It's very controversial but there do appear to be differences between male and female brains. Female brains are often smaller for one - though size does not denote intelligence (Einstein had a small brain.)
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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