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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Is Kody Brown a Feminist?

One of my readers once commented that she follows the manosphere because she doesn't have cable. I laughed with self-recognition at that remark.

Two months ago I finally broke down and got Direct TV, and as you can see, I've practically given up on following the Angry White Guys as a result. I've spent the past couple of months binging on television. My partner and I are currently addicted to Black Sails, Better Call Saul, and Vikings, and on my own, I have become a promiscuous consumer of true crime and obscure documentaries.

We're not into reality series much, with one notable exception: Sister Wives

As I've shared in the past, I have a great deal of interest in LDS Church history, being on my mother's side the descendent of Mormon pioneers. I was raised with a particularly dim view of plural marriage. The only twig in my family tree who actually had more than one wife was Uncle Charlie. According to my mother, poor Uncle Charlie and his wife Susan were perfectly content until he was "bullied" by the Church into taking a second wife, after which they hardly had a moment's peace. Now I am not at all convinced this is true. (My mother, like the rest of her family, was never one to let the facts get in the way of a good story.)

Like the Brown wives, they lived in separate houses fifty yards apart.
Subsequent reading -- and living in cultures where polygamy was commonly practiced -- only reinforced my perception that plural marriage was generally a bad thing for the women and children (and, often, for the men) involved in it. At the very least, it was ill adapted to life in post-industrial economies.

The Kody Brown family has indicated that they agreed to participate in the reality series Sister Wives because they had a spiritual mission to share their story, and to convince mainstream America that they were a "normal" family.  In my opinion, they've been very successful. In fact, they seem more "functional" than most monogamous couples I've observed: more respectful, more communicative, more committed.

If an emotionally intimate, committed relationship between two individuals is a crucible, the crucible of marriage amongst five strikes me as exponentially more intense, and greater both in terms of potential rewards and strains. It's clearly not for everyone, as the Browns themselves admit (and they cheerfully accept that some of their own children reject plural marriage for themselves).

It was easy from the start for me to like the wives (Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn), all highly intelligent, thoughtful, and attractive women. It was easy for me to be enthralled with the ideal of "sister wives." And spending time with a spouse once every four days strikes me as just about right since I happen to cherish my personal time and space. But I am surprised to find how much I have come to like and respect Kody Brown, a man who expects his daughters to pursue higher education and professional careers, encourages both his sons and daughters to have long (and chaste) courtships before marriage (because a solid marriage is based on friendship), and who reminds one of his college bound daughters that her body is her own ("and even after you marry, your body belongs to you").  

I don't know if Uncle Charlie and his wives were proto-feminists, BTW, although it's worth noting that during his lifetime Wyoming was the first state to grant women suffrage. I do know that he was very fondly remembered by the folks of my grandparents' generation and was most decidedly not a patriarchal a-hole.
Kody Brown
Is this what a feminist looks like?

44 comments:

  1. I've watched some episodes of Sister Wives and I admit that I have decidedly mixed feelings about polygamy. I am against legalizing polygamy for a variety of reasons, mainly because it will be extremely unfair to men at the lower end of the economic spectrum. On the other hand, if a woman voluntarily decides to enter into an informal arrangement where she's ok with sharing a man, who's to stop her?

    So you like Black Sails, Better Call Saul, Vikings and true crime shows? Me too- great minds do think alike!

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  2. Apparently a feminist is someone who shows a preference for increasingly younger and thinner female partners on ever-higher heels. ;)

    There is some not completely appalling logic behind such polygynous arrangements, IMO. E.g.: If, as it is often the case, menopause causes a significant drop in a woman's libido and her husband is still interested in an active sex life, having that extra younger wife without divorcing the older one is a reasonable solution to the problem (if there are no objections to it, obviously, on anyone's part).

    Moreover, I could see another benefit in this for the wife, and it is the built-in, as it were, female companionship and cooperation, something that men are incapable of offering (provided the women are friendly and agreeable with each other).

    However -- and it is a big HOWEVER -- polygyny is inherently an expression of female subjection. It thrives in cultural settings that promote disparity (economic, political, social) between genders and it reflects that disparity.

    Personally, I'm partial to polyandry. I can easily envision myself with two or even three husbands (four maybe...?).

    Although I don't believe my one and only husband would be willing to sign off on such a deal. So there goes that.

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    1. Interesting that first wife Meri proposed Robyn as fourth wife because she liked her as a friend. The women themselves make the decision to add new wives (and who to add). And maybe it's just for the cameras, but I see no evidence that Kody prefers, favors, or finds any one wife more sexually attractive than the others. IMAO polygyny is traditionally an expression of female subjection, but no necessarily "inherently" so.

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    2. "The women themselves make the decision to add new wives (and who to add)."

      Interesting. I don't watch the show. I wonder about the degree of closeness among the wives -- I don't suppose they are sexual with each other...? That would certainly add another dimension to their marriage.

      Do the wives work or does the husband support all four of them (ouch, if that's the case)?

      Re: the inherent subjection of women reflected in polygyny

      I don't think any woman with objective (or even "only" subjective sense of) power in society (wealth, status, inner strength and autonomous agency, etc.) would be interested in and willing to become one of several wives. Playing second (or third, or fourth) fiddle and sharing one's man with other women in a polygynous marriage is not something a woman with resources and power would agree to do, IMO.

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    3. The wives appear to work outside the home, at least one of them (Janelle) full time, and it's apparent the family relies on their income. They maintain a common budget, yet each wife also has her own private discretionary funds. This became apparent when they bought their new houses: each wife had a set budget, over which she was allowed to spend using her own money.

      Many women would balk at playing second (or third) fiddle, but the Brown family demonstrates that not all women find such an arrangement disagreeable. Personally, I would rather "share" a spouse than have to deal with the demands of multiple husbands. Probably because I'm so lazy and self-absorbed!

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    4. LOL! Yeah, on second thought those three or four husbands may not be all they are cracked up to be. It is taxing enough to deal with one male ego; multiply it by four -- yikes!

      That excess of, um, a good thing would also be a major reason, for me, against having "sister wives" (not that the option is in any way realistic). Too many cooks in the kitchen -- literally and figuratively. Like you, I too need my space and aloneness. Oftentimes even two is a crowd. Having that many people with whom to share my daily existence would drive me crazy (-ier).

      And then there is my need for exclusivity and some good ol' jealousy and pride associated with it. Sharing my man with other women is not something I'd ever find attractive or acceptable.

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  3. Uncle Charlie would probably make more than a few manospambot heads explode. On the one hand, he has his own personal "harem!" Polygamy is supposed to reduce Female Sexual Power and give men Hand! What a Patriarch!

    ...On the other hand, he seems to respect his wives and daughters, and generally seems like a laid-back guy without an axe to grind against Mean Girls or whatever. The manodrones would start screaming BETABETABETA before figuring out he's had more kids (and thus passed on more of his genes, which as we all know is the only mark of success, at all) than any of them have or ever will. Such delightful cognitive dissonance!

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  4. Polygamy leads to lots of single males. This is bad for society. They will likely act out in aggression, cause violence, because they have no women and families to tame them.

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  5. Your notion that single men are inherently violent and anti-social and that women "tame" them through marriage... I can't even...

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  6. What do you think about the claim that modern living is leading to young boys not being in touch with masculinity

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    1. I'd say if you have kids, boys or girls, be sure to spend time with them.

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  7. Maybe the solution to manuresphere frustration is for women to give the poor guys some loveeee like how эмма тне эмо rescued her bf

    https://archive.today/Tj39c

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    1. I don't think I want to click on that link, I'm familiar with her boyfriend's lovely compassionate views, like his belief that male rape victims are just ungrateful idiots. Lucky for Emma that it's a long distance relationship, or I'd fear for her safety.

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    2. Right, nothing nobler and more rewarding in life than becoming a sexual appliance for a psychopath. Yiipee! Not to mention the happiness that ensues.

      Well, just ask Kate M(inter) or that girl who (almost?) married Charlie Manson. ;)

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    3. It seems to me only an unwanted slut would assume the basis of a relationship is sex, not love.

      Let's ask Anonymous.

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    4. Oh, did the Manson marriage fall through? It wouldn't surprise me if the young lady got cold feet.

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    5. yah, yah; there was a thing in the NY Post about it last month. http://nypost.com/2015/02/08/charles-mansons-fiancee-wanted-to-marry-him-for-his-corpse-source/

      Supposedly she wanted to be his next of kin so she could claim his corpse when he kicked off and put it on display for the ticket-buying public.

      Say what you will, young lady's got hustle.

      But the deal fell through, 'cause Manson wasn't hot about that idea, and evidently thinks he's immortal anyhow.

      So, no deal! Damn. Though-- last I read, she was still claiming it was a go, that there have just been "logistical difficulties" like, you know, the groom backing out. Nothing that can't be overcome in time. It's not like he's GOING anywhere.

      WHO KNOWS

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    6. Anon @ 6:05 pm

      Re: Charlie Manson

      I'm hopeful. Love conquers all.

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    7. Kate, psychopaths don't love. You are either fooling yourself, or... Well, 'nuff sed.

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    8. @ Kate Minter,

      I saw your link to that movie 'Twisted Seduction' and the comments you made below it, insightful stuff :) Though I know better than to enter into any kind of discussion over on Chateau Heartiste, which is a shame as I liked some of the points you raised.

      @Anon 6:05, that is hilarious. Back when those two got engaged redpillers were seething that a young pretty girl would want to marry a decrepit sociopath and declaring this was proof positive of all the girls wanting bad boys; and it turns out she's just a shyster after all, somehow I doubt they'll be writing about that over on Return of Kings. Though, I suppose it is true that she was only after his body.....

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    9. "psychopaths don't love"

      Duh. And what do men who've been in abusive relationships with BPD women look like? Probably like psychopaths. Get a clue and stop libeling me and my husband. You are so stupidly sexist and wrong its pathetic.

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    10. @snork maiden: Oh, thank you :) If you ever join in over there, I'll try to run defense (which is a big deal cause I'm not a sports gal ;) ) With no introduction, here is a twelve minute film for you that could spark some more discussion: https://youtu.be/pUkXIgBHk8Q .

      "Though, I suppose it is true that she was only after his body....." GAHHH!!!

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    11. Are there two Kate Minters now?

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    12. Snork maiden, how can you stomach reading the commentary over at Heartiste?
      Doesn't the toxicity wear off on you and undermine your faith in humanity?

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    13. @ Kate. Thanks :) But my NYE resolution was no more trolling manosphere sites; I'm happy to engage with dissenting opinions, but I'm trying to stick to women friendly spaces. I'll check out your link tomorrow, right now I ought to be getting off to bed (got the school run tomorrow).

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    14. @Anon 7:08, I'm not a regular reader of Chateau Fartiste, I was over there on a fact finding mission (didn't find many) but I did like a couple of Kate's comments and saw no harm in saying so. I don't read redpill comment threads very often, and when I do I just laugh, and occasionally feel really sorry for some of them.

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    15. I'm thinking it should be like a CSI episode. "Turns out" *removes sunglasses* "she just wanted him for his body" YEEEAAOOOWWW



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    16. @snork:

      "Though, I suppose it is true that she was only after his body....."

      Yep. You know it was all about her gina tingles. Women are so shallow.

      @CSI Anon:

      LMAO! Perfect.

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  8. http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31930196
    This story is heartbreaking. This girl was getting sued by get rapist. Surely it's time to change the law so male rapists are guilty until proven innocent. That way we can save innocent women like this.

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    1. How would turning the justice system on it's head have helped? He wasn't prosecuted for rape because the evidence contradicted her story and his version of events was more credible. It was ruthless of him to subsequently go after her, and I think given her mental state she shouldn't have been prosecuted either, it didn't serve the public interest.

      I think a better way to prevent tragedies like this is to extend anonymity to men who haven't yet been convicted of a sexual offense, the same protection we extend to alleged victims. If his name hadn't been made public, he would have had no justification to sue her.

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    2. Dude, give it a rest. You're the lamest concern troll ever.

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  9. See Ashley Judd's powerful letter written in the aftermath of the online abuse she's recently received:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3003367/Ashley-Judd-recalls-personal-history-rape-incest-powerful-essay-addressing-offline-gender-violence-Twitter-abuse-college-basketball-game.html

    I so hope she goes after each and every one of her vile misogynist abusers. I also hope their names are made public for all to see -- to make their moms proud, you know./s

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    1. In this instance I agree, people do need to understand that freedom of speech shouldn't include harassing people with impunity.

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. Cynthia, really. I ask you to put a stop to this. It is absolutely senseless and unprovoked.

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    1. All right everybody: Quit being so mean to Kate.

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    2. Agreed. Kate didn't bring up her personal life in this discussion, why should anyone else?

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  12. Popcorn time! A white nationalist versus Roosh

    Battle of who is the more darkly endarkened!

    https://archive.today/npWmr

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    1. Hehe! Have you passed this on to David Futrelle? Let's hope Roosh takes the bait and we can watch a dust up akin to the one raging between AVFM and the MGTOW over on Youtube.

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  13. I disagree with anonymity for men accused. Surely by publicizing their names it sends out a powerful message that these sort of crimes won't be tolerated. Ok some innocent men might be burnt but isn't this a small price to pay to protect our daughters.

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    1. Hmm, if you actually thought that I don't think you'd phrase it like that. But pretending you're serious for a moment, no publicizing an accused man's name doesn't send out a constructive message, that's lynch mob mentality. The justice system doing its job properly would send out the right message.

      Sex crimes, whether rape or paedophilia carry a heavy stigma of guilt by accusation, I think it would be wise to keep people anonymous until they've been convicted. I'm not sure this will be brought about though.

      Btw, as a straw feminist, do you ever suffer from dry skin? Do you have to avoid magnifying glasses on a hot day?

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    2. "Btw, as a straw feminist, do you ever suffer from dry skin? Do you have to avoid magnifying glasses on a hot day?"

      LMAO!

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  14. So snork maiden a woman makes up a claim of rape but she shouldn't be punished? Amazing. So what you're saying is women should have no responsibility for their actions. Really well done.

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    1. Er, nope. And if you want to get outraged, why aren't you raging it out with the anon I was responding to?

      Men and women are individuals, just because I don't think it was a good idea to prosecute a severely ill young woman, and the fact she killed herself rather proves my point, does not equal my saying no women on the planet should ever take responsibility for her actions. In the case of false rape accusations they should be taken on a case by case basis, just as every accusation of rape is. Did you read the story anon was linking to? If you had you might understand what I was saying. But if it'll cheer you up, check out this story, where a woman just got named, shamed and jailed for having falsely accused two men of raping her:

      http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/girl-who-cried-rape-after-5406386

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Thanks for commenting!