Polygamy Essay, Research Paper
Polygamy in the Liberal Societies.
Diverse customs and traditions are travelling at the same speed as the information on the change in Wall Street’s stock market, postings on AOL, and junk email. Many developed nations are available for immigrants, whose prior traditions contradict the norms of the societies with liberal rights and freedoms. Immigrants, who along with their luggage and unique value systems, bring a couple of wives and a football team of kids to their new place of residence. The Muslims of the Third World Countries and Africa widely accept polygamy, nevertheless in most other societies it is an exception to the rule. Polygamous marriages are not successful in the developed nations with liberal societies, as demonstrated in Marlise Simons’ “African Women in France Battle Polygamy.”
One cannot disregard the major argument of Aisha Lemu, the author of “In Defense of Polygamy,” about the benefits polygamy has for women. He argues that “…for the majority of Westerners, polygamy is only thought of in the context of a harem of glamorous young girls, not as a possible solution to some of the problems of Western society itself” (Thoughtful, 258). However, do the positive aspects of such a solution outweigh the negative? The author considers marriage an investment, rather then a legal agreement based on love to share your life and finances with another person. He brings an example of an Eternal Triangle, where a husband is in love with another women, but his wife “may no longer love him, but may still respect him and wish to stay with him for the security of the marriage” (Thoughtful, 258). Mr. Lemu proposes for the husband to marry the woman he loves, but such a solution would not necessarily satisfy all three parties. In addition, many legal questions arise in such a case. Would the second wife have as much privilege on the money that the original two spouses made before her? How should the wealth be divided in case of a death of one of the spouses? A divorce of a polygamous family would be the nightmare of any layer. Just for a second imagine divorcing a husband, wife no.1, and wife no.2 that the husband married after twenty years of the first marriage.
In any liberal society with women’s rights, a polygamous marriage would be close to impossible. It is true that “polygamy of a sort is widely carried on in Europe and America” (Thoughtful, 258), but not too many women agree for their husbands to have a legal right of marrying up to four women. Marlise Simons writes that
“It’s a myth that African women like polygamy. Our mothers and grandmothers and every woman before them would go to the witch doctor to get a potion or cast a spell if she knew her husband was going to take another wife. Many still do” (Thoughtful, 78)
Being involved in a polygamous marriage means that you have to be ready to deal with another women being constantly in the same house; often a much younger woman. In “Practical Aspects of Polygamy,” author should be to concentrating on women’s benefits from polygamy, but ends up writing “polygamy removes the pressure on a husband to commit adultery, and removes damaging deceit from marriage” (Practical Aspects, 1). In contemporary societies, majority of women would ask about taking that responsibility off their shoulders too. If the husband can marry another women, so his first wife can have “a female friend for life” (Practical Aspects, 1), so she should be able to bring another man into their marriage.
The subject of polygamy is broad, but even from a few reasons, explained above, it does not appear as a marriage system that would be compatible with modern, liberal societies. Polygamous marriages can be compared to the large floppy disks that we used to use less than a decade ago, but which are not used in any modern computers. It is harder to keep all the people in a polygamous marriage happy and satisfied, because that is what “legal love agreement” should be all about.
Chapman, Samuel. “Practical Aspects of Polygamy: Benefits polygamy has for women
and the controls it places on men.” The Polygamy Page. 22 Nov. 98