The Problem with Polynormativity

Comments

1
Does acceptance of female bisexuality disqualify them as queer?
2
Maybe we should ask straight, married porn stars. There seem to be quite a few. They and their spouse get up and go to work where they spend the day snogging in various combinations of sex.
3
Maybe it's time to start using the word "harem" here.
4
Besides that one Showtime series on the subject, I don't really see Polyamory presented on television or at the theater much. Occasionally you get monogamous people who test the waters but it's always pretty clear in the end that they are and should remain monogamous.
5
In the show "The Big C", Sean gets into a poly relationship for a couple episodes that is him with another man and one woman (he calls it a throuple).

Though, a large portion of it is him explaining that he's not gay...so, I guess it's not a great example.
6
Oh for...

We just barely got to the point of presenting gay people as a normal thing. (Also: Asians. They just suddenly appeared on TV in the last few years. Latinos are just starting to show up in roles that don't require an accent.) And now the thing to do is hand-wringing over how the media is not doing shows that focus on the LG monogamish and swinging community? Like this is the only thing missing in primetime's fictional depiction of what America looks like?
7
Maybe so. Maybe so. But my wife are I are poly (proud to live in a state where I have to specify that I'm a man), and date another straight/poly couple. We also know three other poly couples, and all are M/F and straight(ish). All that is to say, maybe queer people pioneered poly as this article suggests (thanks queers!), but we exist too. The author seems kind of mad about that. Sorry.
8
I want Sue that "dates" Tim and Jim and John (all at the same time), but I don't want to stay home. I wanna be there :P
9
Syphilis, meet thy makers.
10
"Andrea has lots of other insights into the way polyamorous relationships are being packaged and presented for the mainstream."

Ah yes, another trailblazing sex writer - doing what's already been done, but passing it off as new with a psychobabble name.

These "polys" are "swingers," kiddies. You can look it up. And whatever you call them, divorce attorneys love 'em.
11
She does make some good points that I agree with. But yeah #6 is right, plus who wants to watch most of tv anyway? It's mostly crap.

Plus, the video you downloaded shows a guy in bed with a woman and another guy. Not exactly the kind of video that represents what Ms. Zanin is talking about; I was expecting the guy to be in bed with two Swedish female models. Or something.
12
@10, as someone who knows quite a few people in poly relationships (including a very loving threesome who have lived together for years), you are full of shit.
13
The mainstream media whitewashes EVERYTHING. Nothing new to see here.
14
#10

I can say first hand that you are wrong on all counts.
15
@6 has it. Andrea has it backwards. If you give too many column inches to LGBQ polyamory, people will return to the thinking that gay is a poly doorway, and that gays are ruining heterosexual monogamy by introducing polyamory into the mainstream. By keeping it mainly hetero, and with a bit of bisexual lesbianism for the men, it is hetero people threatening their own monogamy instead of gay people doing it.
16
Who pays the mortgage?
17
It looks pretty boring to me. I mean it's just a three/four/five way right? For us gay's that just a typical day. Call me when the media starts to focus on fisting (anal and vaginal) hard core bondage and stuff like that. Maybe public sexual humiliation?
18
@16 lol
19
Swinging, it's not just for old people.
20
Ah-ha! An explanation at last! I wondered why it was like that when every poly I know is either penis-free of a total sausage-fest.
21
This reminds me of how NAWSA embraced the separate but equal spheres philosophy in their efforts to promote women's suffrage.

No no no! We don't want to vote because we're promiscuous child-neglectors who want (gasp!) reform of divorce law! We want to vote because we are virtuous defenders of the home and family and because women's influence in politics will clean up the corruption. It wasn't true but 1. at least some of them believed it to be true and 2. it worked.

So regardless of whether polyamory is a good idea or not, regardless of whether being deceitful is good or not (it isn't), it is possible that playing up polyamory's less threatening sides will lead to acceptance.
22
@ 9 - You're the one who needs new hobbies, me thinks. Trolling is so passé.
23
This over-thinking of sex is starting to be annoying. I have trouble believing that anyone who'd write that much about this could possibly be very good at it.
24
Oh Gawd. I barely managed to get through this. I'm not going to go read more whining about people who insist on getting outside confirmation for private personal choices. I think its lovely if you have deep meaningful relationships with dozens of people, but really, you think you're going to get Hollywood to present that in a respectful, thoughtful manner?
25
25: Yeah, I really don't get all the quasi-academic wank surrounding having sex with multiple partners. I guess it makes them feel special.
26
@1: As a bi woman who has been harassed a lot on OkCupid by couples looking for threesomes despite making it clear in my profile I'm not interested, I would say no - because the mentality there is primarily that the woman's bisexuality only exists as a sexual kink, that it's not a legitimate sexual orientation on its own besides how it can please a guy's lesbian-porn fantasies.
27
I mean, I'll admit that there are certainly some couples out there that are more respectful of boundaries, but the sheer amount of this shit that you get if you are a single bi woman on a dating site suggests it's not a fluke, but an attitude common in that community.
28
That "community" specifically being straight couples who are interested in threesomes with women, not polyamory in general.
29

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"the uploader has not made this video available in your country"
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WTF??

What kind of idiotic scumbag does that?
30
@2: Uh, you do realize that they're ~acting~ on camera, right?

JFC, actors in rom-coms don't love each other either.
31
Just for fun, watch the movie Guys and Balls. Silly cute and entirely watchable. Includes a triad of leather guys who live and bed together. Fun stuff.

Ahem, it's European, so that's why...
32
Most states still don't allow gays to marry, denying homosexuals the basic rights enjoyed by heterosexuals. So maybe it's not such a bad thing that polyamory, at this cultural moment, is primarily seen as a straight thing. Seeing as how so far the winning argument for same sex marriage has been that it won't open the door to a radical redefinition of marriage.

33
I wish polyandry were normative.
34
@29: Pretty much every major American movie and TV company (Showtime in this case).
35
I find the hand-wringing by the author about the polyamory community's (especially new and potential members) response to their aggregate depiction in the main stream media kinda cute.

Acceptance often comes from a realization that "they" are just like "us"; it would seem that within it's flawed framework, the main stream media is giving the polyamory community the best it could expect.
36
They'll get to accepting other forms of poly. They just tend to nibble these things off in bits. Probably next after the MF seeking bi F will be either the couple dating couple, or my configuration of two best friends in an LTR with the same girl.
37
meanwhile mainstream british televison has a show about Thai 'Ladyboys' including full and frank discussion about sexual identity of the girls and their parners, sex acts, genital and hormonal treatments, and the inherent power imbalance between european tourists and thai hookers. US television is timid and bland by comparison.
Glad I live in Australia where we receive so much british content.
38
Well, better badly represented polyamory presented as normative than no polyamory represented at all.

We're not going to see much better until the polyamorous feel comfortable coming out outside of communities like LGBTQ and BDSM.
39
@2: Mmmaybe not. There was a "True Life" episode about a gay-for-pay porn star and his wife and their cupcake business. The husband looked like he was having the time of his life while the wife looked like (and did at the end of the episode *SPOILER!*) she was going to have a nervous meltdown at the drop of a pants. It was painfully obvious she wasn't okay with it, even though she was allowing her husband to fuck dudes.
40
Are you sure this isn't a clip from Portlandia?
41
40 wins the thread. I thought the same.
42
I know this may sound shocking to a polyamory advocate, but she has to consider why these articles are written and read in the first place. The whole point is to find something sort of titillating to write about that will draw in readers and make them want to continue to read.

This means something slightly outside of their comfort zone while still seeming to apply to them and still within a stone's throw of their comfort zone. So in magazines oriented towards the mainstream this will mean behaviors that are pretty close to mainstream sexuality. If she wants articles about queer poly relationships those are going to appear in queer media for the same reasons mainstream poly relationships appear in mainstream media.

Seriously, as much as this issue may be her passion, this is seldom going to be an issue of hard hitting journalistic investigation and integrity. It's just a little bit of naughty human interest intended to move some magazines and provide for some clickbait.

This is true for every subculture so she really needs to get over herself. No one is going to take seriously nerd complaints about how cosplay is misrepresented in the media or hardcore knitters's complaints about how media focus on hipsters distorts coverage of what is really going on in the knitting world. Accurate articles about niche communities are for media consumed by those niche communities. For everyone else they are a momentary diversion.
43
Wow, there's a lot to hate in that column.
44
@43 agreed. I think a lot of what she's describing is ethical nonmonogamy rather than polyamory. But either way, why can't we all navigate these waters in the way that works the best for us as individuals and couples? I'm not going to apologize for having a primary parter in my husband. Most of the other people I see have primary partners as well. It works for us. We're happy.
45
It's weird to see a blogger I've been following as a reader for a long time get discussed over one article that hits another longtime favorite blog. I guess this should make me rethink my own knee-jerk assumptions about *other* other bloggers when reading a single post of theirs that starts going wide. Hmm.
46
@33: Did you see this article on polyandry? http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
47
42 FTW.