Exploring Polygamy Essay Example



Polygamy is defined as being the practice of possessing more than one significant other at a time and is contemplated as being an argumentative topic in society socially and legally, obtaining the attention from many individuals. As this subject has become a great deal of established culture through communication accounts of polygamist groups by reality television, for example “Sister Wives” that airs on TLC, shares the lifestyle of one man and his 4 wives. Uncertainty begins to develop the allusion to its main features and validity as an arrangement of marriage. Furthermore, this form of marriage is fascinating considering it involves more than two persons into the unification, hypothetically creating a cause in change of the husband-wife dynamic. Polygamy accompanied with multiple wives demonstrates to be increasingly common when dealing with media accounts of certain relationships. Meanwhile, recognizing this form of marriage needs to comprehend how dissimilar social participants conduct themselves and the widespread reciprocal actions of the husband-wife relations. Furthermore, it is significant to comprehend how this form of union represents the primary norm of marriage in the United States. 

Controversy of Polygamy

Leading into the controversy of polygamy, the proposition is less clear what the logical premise for objections to polygamy is, outside of the problem of automatic or pressurized marriages, and the participation of minors in unsuitable sexual relationships and adolescent marriages. If polygamy was to become a favored type of marriage in the U.S, it would generate many issues within the families, considering having to share a human without feeling a sense of jealousy or abandonment is a nearly impossible task. Also, the proposal of divorce is still in relevance and would produce complications in the families as well. In my belief, marriage is perceived to display dedication, faithfulness, and loyalty to your one and only significant other and the love that is portrayed to bind them together. Marriages should be between two people, whether gay, straight, etc. lacks relevance if it is just two people. Beyond producing a chaotic situation for the adults involved, the children are also put in jeopardy. Children require continuous warmth and affection throughout their adolescent years, in order to comprehend what a wholesome, healthy family structure is supposed to be like. Correspondingly, children who develop in these circumstances won’t be able to gain the knowledge of certain roles or feel the affection of a devoted family environment.

These children will most likely not be informed on who their biological father is. However, even though it is already difficult enough for children to feel the love and acceptance when there are two parents who love each other, if that security is removed or taken away it can become even more weighing for the child to express their emotions. Since polygamy in America is commonly frowned upon, these families are criticized ruthlessly by strangers looking in, thus producing even more difficulty with the child feeling accepted by peers or by others for the reason that this lifestyle is not accustomed. In continuation with my personal judgement on this topic, I do not have confidence in polygamy as a form of marriage in today’s society. In my belief there are more beneficial outcomes for the males considering they obtain more than one woman to call their wife while the woman shares the one man, which allows me to be convinced there are sexist aspects in this type of arrangement. 

Polygamy in Further Cultures

Equally important, polygamy in further cultures is certainly intriguing. Despite the still present controversy, Indonesian law currently accepts polygamous marriages only under secure circumstances. “Firstly, a man can have up to four wives if he is able to support them all and

treat them equally. Secondly, a man wishing to take a second wife, for example, must provide a consent letter from his existing wife. Lastly, a religious court will then decide whether to permit the proposed marriage while taking into account concerns such as infertility and illness” (Guyer, 2018). Polygamy has been ubiquitous everywhere in the African continent due to the reality that it is prevalent as a feature of the African religion and culture. These types of marriage have been increasingly favored in the history of Africa. This eventuality has occurred due to African societies that have organized the view of children to be categorized as a luxury and a way families see having more children is contemplated to be more substantial. First, in African culture polygamy was desired in the west part. However, the Islam began to disperse in this territory, the commonness of polygamy has begun to constantly decline due to the limitation that became visible to the quantity of wives.

Polygamy is extremely mainstreamed across Kenya, and a specific person who was well known for popularizing this specific practice was named Akuku Danger. Akuku Danger was familiarized by possessing more than 100 wives, and producing over 200 children within those marriages. “Almost 1.5 million Kenyans - or 10 percent of the married population - are in a polygamous marriage, according to latest data of from the Kenyan Population and Housing Census” (Bhalla, 2018). Overall, polygamy in Africa is a very customary practice that will be discovered all over Africa, however, it is of more popularity in countries of the West African. Another culture where polygamy is welcomed in is Sudan. This 

practice is so encouraged that even Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, advocates polygamous marriages with the aspirations of growing the Sudanese population. “South Sudan boasts 64 tribes and a total population of about 8.2 million, according to a census conducted in 2008 and released in 2010. The country’s female population is thought to be more than three times greater than its male population. For virtually all of the country’s tribes, polygamy is standard, with men usually marrying as many as many wives as possible without limit” (Anadolu Agency, 2015). In a typical household structure in South Sudan families are primarily immense and involve two different generations all living together, with certain families striving to produce as many children as is achievable. When taking a closer look at the Nilotic tribes, the norm of wife inheritance is perceived, meaning in the occurrence of a man’s death, the man’s brother receives the widow as another wife.

In Sudan, polygamy is standard in specific societies such as Dinka, Nuer, Murle and many others. Similar to Africa, in some areas of Sudan processing many children is viewed as an advantage, and the proposition of obtaining more wives leading to more children will make an impact on status and wealth. Men are the dominant figures in the household and control all power and authority over the children and wives. For Sudanese women, they are encouraged to obey their husband’s including the husband’s male relatives, even if the males are young children. An aspect of marriage in Sudan that is crucial in the Sudanese culture is that men need to reimburse a bride price before they can marry. Bride price is a major economic attribute of South Sudanese society. Noteworthy sums are rewarded in bride price, which progresses to being a vital source of income for families, and the wanting to afford bride-price payments allows men a significant goal to produce wealth. Thus, the idea of obtaining several wives is viewed as being necessary for socioeconomic advancement. This aspect is viewed as being significant for socioeconomic advancement for the reason being the more wives a man has, the greater chance those women will give birth to many daughters who will then conduct many cattle from bride-prices when they finally get married. 

Senegalese Marriages

Most of Senegalese marriages pursue the pattern of polygamy. Senegal’s polygamy rate is soaring compared to other parts of the world, even involving the younger crowd (fifteen to nineteen years old). “In Senegal, nearly 47% of marriages are multiple” (Diouf, 2004). Social factors surface the reasoning of why Senegal’s polygamy rate is so elevated. Those social factors consist of high mortality, pronatalism, levirate, and religion. Obtaining many wives is approved under the Islamic law, Senegal men habitually refer to their own religious faith to express their use of polygamy. The majority of the Senegal community resides in pastoral regions, making cultivation and farming their leading economic occupation.

Similar to other numerous cultures, polygamous marriage in Senegal is a declaration of men’s yearning to have a mass amount of children who are equipped to help out on the farms. For Senegalese families, polygamy has induced crucial impacts on the livelihood of people. In the countryside areas, the wives occupy jointly with the polygamous husband under the same roof, consisting of adjoining rooms with a fence. In these polygamous relationships, the husband gives a specific amount of nights to spend with each separate wife, while the wives themselves alternate cookery and other house duties. In homes that include more than one male, household ruling is based on age where the elder male is appointed as the head of the family. Families decide to have a large number of children simply because the mortality rate is towering. This will establish a few extra 

children to be assured of survival in the future years, thus making them obey social certainty for the parents through prosperity transfers. 

Polygamy in North America

Taking a deeper insight into the history of Polygamy in North America and how this practice was born, we need to first uncover the man that constructed this form of marriage. Joseph Smith was a religious American leader who was the founder of Mormonism, the man’s movement towards Polygamy attracted others as many individuals joined the practice which is still present today. After his passing in 1844, Joseph Smith was suspected to have been married to at least 33 women, with some wives being only 14 years old. Before becoming popular and a significant figure in the Mormon community, he published a novel The Book of Mormon, which was a religious text that reported the archives of Hebrews that resided in North America long ago. In historic times, Polygamy was only acceptable for men, however that soon transformed when Polyandry became introduced where the roles are reversed and the women are able to have more than one husband at a time.

Early Mormons chose to practice Polygamy through God, and that God ordered Latter-Day Saints to follow this lifestyle for a period. For early day Mormons Polygamy was sought to be strenuous and difficult, as this practice led to vicious opinions from outsiders and opposing other church members. The early Mormon people who were a part of the community believed they were pursuing a commandment from God and aspired that they would be blessed by following God’s rules and be rewarded in time. In the U.S, Utah is recognized for being involved with Polygamy and still to this day there are groups who associate themselves with the practice of Polygamy. One of those groups in particular is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). These communities originally resided in Arizona, however soon expanded to other areas in Utah.

This distinct grouping is one of the largest organizations in the U.S where the members participate in Polygamy. Diving deeper into the beliefs of the FLDS and their culture, it is believed that in the church it is unacceptable for a mother to show affection towards her children. “The FLDS believe that only one person who should make the children feel loved or valued is the head of the household. That would be the father. Escaped women have cried in front of cameras saying how they have never felt a mother/child bond, never knew what it was like to be a mother” (Medlock, 2017). 

While the practice of Polygamy is predominantly directed more towards males and viewed as being beneficial to them, it is essential to become educated through a woman’s perspective and the impact Polygamy has on women who are involved in this practice willingly or unwillingly. Polygamy creates marriages that are dominated or controlled by males, whereas the women are left voiceless throughout the whole marriage. Second, Polygamous marriages pressurize women into lower-ranking roles, and ends in families having more issues such as incest or abuse. The chances of sexually transmitted diseases increase significantly in the practice of Polygamy. For example a man is married to four other wives and will utterly engage in sexual relations with all of the women, if either the man or one of the wives contracts a sexually transmitted disease all participants will be affected or at risk.

Unfortuantley women who are involved in Polygamous marriages are more endangered of developing low self esteem, constant worrying behavior, or even depression in contrast to women who are in monogamous relationships. Depression is highly likely to affect women in Polygamous marriages, considering the women who become pregnant won’t be receiving as much attention that would be more frequent in a monogamous relationship, instead the husband is having to divert his sexual attention to the other wives. Wives can also be placed under harm due to some Polygamous marriages becoming abusive. With this practice, it is almost always connected with religion where the men are portrayed as the most dominant and powerful figure leading Polygamous fundamentalists to follow this today making women inferior to men.

Since men in Polygamous communities are placed in this category of needing to be dominant and controlling over their wives, this creates more opportunities for abuse to be present. Leading into another effect Polygamous relationships have on women is jealousy. Since there are already women who are in monogamous relationships that feel jealous imagine the jealousy a woman might feel with three other women involved. Because there are multiple females and one male, not all females will be given the same equal attention and love. Conflicts are sure to rise as well, for instance the first wife may complain that the second wife is receiving more attention or love than her, thus causing problems between everyone. 

Personal Opinion

Next, I wanted to express my opinions on why I feel strongly that Monogamy is superior to Polygamy. Monogamy vs Polygamy will always be a never ending debate since each has their own thoughts and it is highly opinion based. Some people view Polygamy as a form of cheating, however after writing my paper on this topic I learned that Polygamy doesn’t fit into this category considering when a person cheats in a relationship they are doing it with deceitfulness, going behind their partners back, and ruining the trust. Polygamous relationships are vastly different from cheating, as they are unions with many persons where everyone knows exactly what is going on and are all aware of the other individuals involved.

Although Polygamy isn’t defined as cheating, I still find the practice to be uncomfortable and would not want to participate in that kind of relationship. For my beliefs as I had mentioned in the beginning of my essay, marriage should be between two people as I feel it creates a special bond and makes you closer to that person. Reasons why I stand with monogamous relationships are because people who practice monogamy will have emotional security. When you are committed to a relationship with just one other person you can expect to be cared for in an emotional way, especially after being in a relationship for long periods of time creates more understanding and trust whereas in a Polygamous relationship emotional security may not be present since all the attention won’t be for you to create that special emotional bond.

Personally, I would rather devote my time and effort to one person instead of having to split my time with other people. Although these are my opinions, I understand not everyone will agree with me or have similar beliefs, some people may feel being in a relationship with multiple partners is ideal for them. Since Polygamy is highly unfavorable to outsiders and Monogamy is more of the norm and it is illegal in all 50 states, you would have to hide your relationship from others and ensure everything stays a secret so you don’t get caught which I feel is no way to live. An interesting point that grabbed my attention and made me think hard was what would happen if Polygamy was legal all over the U.S and was acceptable? I imagine that at first it would be a bit odd, but then eventually become mainstream.

The divorce rate would also most likely deteriorate, as well as an immense increase in children since families would become larger and larger. I also would predict that men who are not categorized in a high social class, or are not as wealthy as some other men would not thrive in a society where Polygamy is legal. Men with large amounts of money, famous athletes, or celebrities would definitely benefit from a Polygamous society and have multiple wives, because a lot of people would rather be married to someone who has a large sum of money than a person who may be able to provide as much. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the practice of Polygamy can offer consequential harm towards the marriage and the children. Polygamy may be accepted in certain cultures and countries, however overall I feel that Polygamy being banned is the righteous thing to do for the reasonings that lead to complications in a family’s life and many others mentioned in this essay. Polygyny supplies men with entry to reproductive or other sexual services provided by several women. Whereas the wives who are in Polygamous marriages need to split the emotions of affection, love, and time that is provided by a single man. What has also been informed is that many women and families that are involved in Polygamous marriages can experience mental issues due to the man favoring other wives or not being able to provide the same treatment for everyone.

I found this topic to be insightful, and beneficial as I did not have a lot of knowledge beforehand. Becoming more educated and researching all these different cultures and how each country views Polygamy and how the history of this practice was created. It is argued that Polygamy is immoral and can lead to rape, incest, and abuse which are present in polygamist’s societies, however we need to put into perspective that all those things occur in lots of other places not just those communities. Upon legalization, Polygamous marriages could be safe and regulated if needed, although I do not feel it will become legal anytime soon considering the ratio of people who support it and people who don’t. In the end everyone has their own personal thoughts on the practice of Polygamy, whether you disagree or agree it will always exist in some societies legal or not. 

Work Cited Page:

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(2018, August 14). 'Put up and shut up': polygamy breeds poverty for Kenyan women and .... Retrieved June 19, 2019, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kenya-women-polygamy-insight/put-up-and-shut-up-polygamy-breeds-poverty-for-kenyan-women-and-children-idUSKBN1L0009

(2015, February 11). Is polygamy corrupting South Sudan? - Daily Sabah. Retrieved June 

19, 2019, from https://www.dailysabah.com/africa/2015/02/11/is-polygamy-corrupting-south-sudan

(2004, June 6). On Thursday, It's Wife No. 3 in Polygamous West Africa - LA Times. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-jun-06-adfg-wives6-story.html

(2017, November 5). 15 Facts About Warren Jeffs And The FLDS Polygamist ... - TheThings. Retrieved June 21, 2019, from https://www.thethings.com/15-facts-about-warren-jeffs-and-the-flds-polygamist-church/