Oprah, Polygamy & Colonialism

Deep breath now. Doesn’t that title make you want to wretch?

I bumped into Oprah two Sundays ago, and saw a clip of these three gorgeous women [not the ones pictured above] saying how they love being married to one man. Two of the wives are twins, and between the three wives, they have 21 and a half children. Wife Number 1 was 7 months pregnant during filming.

I don’t know how old this episode was, but the women weren’t wearing prudish gowns and poofy hair. They were supermodel gorgeous and looked like an ad for hair colours by Revlon.

The wives admitted that they sometimes feel bad about sharing their man, especially when he picks a number for a one-on-one date. But they also have group dates, and their kids get along perfectly.

Yeah, right.

Well it’s not for me to judge. I mean as long as they’re happy. But despite my assertions in this post, I would not willingly share my man. I just might let him cheat, but only if he’s respectful enough to keep i discreet. Polygamy just would not work for me.

The Oprah thing led to a heated discussion with workmates. The guys, of course, were advocating polygamy. One girl accepted it as fact, because she comes from a multiple family.

I was attacked because many of  ‘my people’ demand polygamy, and as a proud daughter, I should acquiesce. I explained that I was raised to believe that men from my father’s tribe need to have more than one woman, and I accept that. Which is why I’ve never dated one. That, and I love multicoloured babies.

My workmate wondered why I refuse to share, especially when I said I accept my male relatives having many women. He challenged me to prove that I wasn’t already sharing my man. How could I be sure that he was faithful?

My answer to this is simple – what I don’t know can’t hurt me, and what I don’t want to know is that he’s cheating. Let him keep it quiet. The premise of polygamy is that it’s all out in the open. Hence, I can stand the unseen mistress, but I will not share my man’s last name [with women who are not his sisters].

My two cents on the matter is that polygamy would not work today – at least not with women like me. Polygamy in the past worked for the same reason that marriage worked in the past; there was no choice.

If a man brought home 15 other wives, you said, ‘Yes boss,’ because unless you had enough cows to pay back your dowry [and a father who adored you almost to the point of incest] then you could not leave the home. Women ran off after abuse only for their families to drag them right back.

Divorce was rarely an option because marriage was communal, and a failed marriage showed a failed community. Nobody wants to admit to being a failed community.

As a woman, you couldn’t go running to mum, so you grinned and bore it. In fact, you were grateful if your man was progressive enough to let you pick your cowives – that way, you could pick girls that you could boss around get along with.

AND, in some communities, a woman was allowed to keep a lover, so her other needs were met despite sharing a man. As long as you kept it discreet. I don’t know how the lover boys liked this arrangement, or if they had other wives as well; folklore is suspiciously silent on that.

Some tribes even encouraged women to have kids outside of their husbands, you know, just in case the dude pissed someone off, his lineage was cursed and his biological kids dropped like flies. If this happened, the woman [and the family] would still have progeny by way of the kids from a different father.

Professor Wambui Mwangi [brilliant woman!] feels that we look at tradition through modern eyes, so my opinion on these facts may be ‘tainted’. But the facts themselves are not. Marriage – polygamous or otherwise – worked because there was no other choice. You lived with your cowives because there was no other way to live. You had never heard of a one-man-one-wife family unless the man was ridiculously poor.

But today, women are ‘emancipated’. I know that if my man brings head – no gutter intended – then I can walk out. For that reason, I cannot be forced to accept his other wives … unless I want to.

A discussion on Matatu FM this week was on mistresses. Maina asked – if you met your man’s mistress and discovered she was hotter than fire you, would you let it go? Sometimes, I see a girl go after my man, and I feel that I can’t possibly compete, so I don’t bother. If your man is your man, you shouldn’t have to.

So if dude has let you meet his mistress, you might want to ditch him for someone discreet. A man who loves and respects you, yet somehow can’t keep it in his pants, will make sure you’re satisfied and that you don’t know about his other women. Unless of course you’ve hired a Private Eye, in which case I can’t help you. In my experience, if you go looking for dirt, you’ll find it, so don’t look. Leave his cellphone alone already!

This assumes, of course, that your man loves and respects you. If you have a man that makes out with random women while you watch, and hits on everyone from your kid sister to your mom, slam the door on your way out; he’s an idiot.

Now on to the colonialism angle. For westernisation to be successful, we had to be convinced that everything we believed was wrong, including African names and polygamy.

So, am I the only who’s amused that the modern societies now want plural families?  And while we’re at it, why does no one push for polyandry?

In essence, I have no beef with plural marriages as long as:

(a) the bride is over 21 [18 is way too naïve]

(b) it’s all voluntary – no forced marriages or rape here

(c) the man involved is not my husband

Beyond that, do whatever you want.

But I am still immensely tickled that the very things we were taught are backward and uncivilised are now finding their way into modern society. Tsk tak. For shame!

I wonder how long before we ditch the microscopic skirts [that are a lot closer to loin cloth than we realise] and just walk around toting spears and birthday suits…

Schitzophrenic psycho Puddle of Mudd

For more information on 3CB, click here.

12 thoughts on “Oprah, Polygamy & Colonialism

  1. Coming from a religion that permits polygamy, this issue has always elicited mixed feelings from me..

    My dad never married another wife so I have no first hand experience on it but there are many polygamous families around me. Some are as happy as these situations could be and some are a total mess.My cousin is 3 years into her marriage and she’s seriously considering getting a 2nd wife for her husband. Her reason is since she knows her husband WILL (her acceptance amazes me) marry a second wife she would rather he does it now early in their marriage so that they can get used to it and establish a routine early on. Plus she feels like it’s a sword hanging over her so why not get it over and done with.

    Personally, I don’t know. I hate the idea of my husband with someone else. Yet it is something that is allowed. Having been in a situation that made me the other woman (looong story), I know for sure I will never be a 2nd wife. About accepting my man having a 2nd wife, I’ll handle it if it comes (Fervent payer; Please God don’t let it come!)

    • I can relate to that. I think my way of dealing with it is escapism – I’ve gotten with a guy who’s very unlikely to consider polygamy … or pay cows for dowry. Makes me feel safe ;-)

  2. A man should stick to one wife. Having many is in most cases, due to a man’s selfishness though it’s always passed off as tradition.

    However consent is what counts. Whatever the arrangement, is parties involved are in agreement and happy, cool stuff.

  3. I love it when the man who thinks he is the head (read Zuma) and goes on and takes other mistresses and co-wives and later learns that when he was busy with the other woman, someone else was getting busy with his first wife. The cost on the mans ego – to quote mastercard advert – Priceless!

  4. Pingback: The Walkabout » Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

  5. Monogamy is the ideal marriage. But when the situations sway from that ideal, polygamy becomes a better evil for the society than the other alternatives such as divorce, single parenting, widowhood etc.
    Is marriage for selfish happiness as the ‘modern’ world would make us believe or is it a channel to sustain and propagate the human race? God hates divorce because He wants Godly children.
    Polygamy is better than divorce if a Man insists on having another woman. It is better for our laws to allow for polygamy than to demand that he divorces his 1st wife first in order to give way to a second.
    Serial monogamy is some form of Polygamy anyway!

    • I find it quite interesting that you use God and polygamy in the same argument. I’m a single parent by the way, and there’s nothing the least bit evil or ungodly about my child. Also … you’re not implying that widowhood is evil, are you? Or that it’s an alternative for divorce? Coz that’s infinitely more interesting that the God-and-polygamy factor …

      Again, interesting that you call marriage for happiness selfish, yet slam single parenting. If the aim of marriage is child bearing … then isn’t a single PARENT propagating the human race as well? Plus, not all single parents are divorced. Some were never married to begin with.

      You seem to advocate godliness, slam childbearing, and push for polygamy all at the same time. Curious threesome, wouldn’t you say?

      • Polygamy is not ungodly and that is why God and polygamy can be used in the same argument. The Bible has demonstrated polygamous families, particularly Jacobs’ (Israel) the chosen nation, without rebuking them. It is the Western countries who portray polygamy as evil due to their culture.
        Polygamy is a marriage system that has advantages over monogamy firstly because it increases the field of potential husbands to women and also because a single marriage seems inadequate to the requirements of many men.
        It is especially difficult for a young widow with children to find an unmarried man to be their husband. Many widows suffer in silence while others abandon their faith and get involved with married men. In 1 Corinthians 7: 9 ‘But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion’. How noble it would be if such women had the opportunity to become second wives of God fearing men!
        The Bible in Malachi 2:15 says that God seeks godly offspring and that is why he hates divorce. My take from this is that it is godly to bring up CHILDREN under both parents. Divorce because parents are not happy and without utmost consideration for children is selfish.

    • Here there is no oppression and no injustice. Everybody is born with a propensity to love, and everybody that is willing to marry should not be denied to marry, and indulge that propensity in innocence and purity.

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