This lovely blog post from Sex Geek deconstructs the publicly acceptable image of polyamory and makes some unconventional and progressive points. Some I agree with and some not quite so much. However, it’s one of the best poly pot-stirrers I’ve seen around: the points are well articulated, the topics go straight to the heart of advanced relationship dilemmas in the non-monogamous realm and the whole blog piece is a fantastic discussion starter!
The main points that interest me the most…
The publicly most acceptable form of polyamory is the one where a couple happen to date other people but they keep their primary status and treat secondaries as if they were optional extras with few rights. This model comes closest to matching a monogamous ideal and therefore is the most accepted and commonly represented type of polyamory in the media. We rarely see non-hierarchical models, secondaries treated well, bisexual polyamorists who aren’t gorgeous looking white bisexual women, gays and lesbians (some of the original polyamorists together with bisexual people) or the disabled or old or not so beautiful in appearance.
However, polyamory is neither about the couple nor about exclusively white, heterosexual, gorgeous looking people emulating monogamy. This type of representation lies about the progressive nature and radical promise of polyamory and sells a prototype that is perhaps easy to digest for newcomers but also offers the least in terms of growth and possibilities.
One note on the wording… I’m not sure I’d call this polynormativity, but as there’s no settled definition of the word (just like there isn’t one for mononormativity either!) it’s still up for grabs so the author is definitely entitled to grabbing it and running with it. To my ears polynormativity sounds like the dogma that being poly is the only good way of being in relationships, in which case it would be, to some degree, the opposite of mononormativity, another word for compulsory monogamy.