The Poly-Game | Unpacking the Acceptance of Polygyny among Women In and Out of Biblical Contexts

As polygamy, specifically polygyny, gains exposure and picks up social currency in a contemporary U.S. context many voices have joined the conversation on both sides of the table to discuss the pros, cons, and practicalities of this family structure. Dr. Patricia Dixon author of We Want For Our Sisters What We Want For Ourselves (2009) and Shahrazad Ali The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman [sic] (1989) and many others from the academic and private spheres have written thought-provoking texts on the inclusion of multiple women to one man in a household and the potential benefits. Books like God’s Brothel have immodestly pulled back the curtain (or the sheets, as it were) on one of the United States’ only example of large-scale organized generational polygyny, the Mormons; while counter-narratives like Voices in Harmony rush to cover and preserve her  celestial virtue, insisting that it is a model that works. Popular culture, social media and television networks  all seem heavily invested in exploring this paradigm. South African polygamist Musa Mslelku (pictured), has even gotten his own reality show on BBC.

Whereas some have written impassioned texts and contributed to the growing corpus of  polygyny positive conversations, insisting on this paradigm as a practical solution for the melanated (‘black’) community; others read this movement as more about polyga-ME, on the part of the men; instead of the polygamo-US strategy that it is often package as. Women who resist polygyny as a solution for themselves face hard criticisms from the poly-positive community. And dismissed as jealous or “emotional”.

What happens when what you want for yourself and your sister is monogamy?

This is where the poly-game goes from the hard ‘e,’ to a silent ‘e’ and many women find themselves caught up in the game, the poly-game. Sisters find themselves being intimidated, insulted and jeered into silence or castigated and subjected to vituperative backlash. Unwilling to roll the dice or fold their cards these women are often threatened with loneliness, accused of selfishness, labeled as “westernized” and dismissed as emotional.

Part 1 : “Just the Stats Ma’am” crunches the numbers in an attempt to discover what adds up and whether or not female jealousy is just an excuse to hold on to a losing hand dealt by contemporary sensitivities.

For Access to the FREE The Poly Article 1.1. JUST THE STATS MA’AM


 

A.S. Johnson (Mayanah HaSoferet) is a Masters candidate, formally trained in the discipline of Cultural Anthropology at the CWE – City College of New York. She has studied ancient Hebrew culture and its application in contemporary urban spaces for over two decades. HaSoferet, is a committed community leader, specializing in reclaiming accurate biblical feminine identities and protecting intellectual integrity wherever it is threatened or compromised.

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