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Monogamy

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Jan. 24th, 2006 | 05:51 pm
sentiment: thoughtfulthoughtful
posted by: lolweasel in philobate

Why do you think monogamy is important in society?

Where do you think it comes from?

Is it important to you?

What does it mean to you?

My two cents:

Of women, the Bible's Paul has this to say (referring to the fall from Eden):

"For Adam was formed first and then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty."
- 1 Tim. 2.13-15 New Revised Standard Version.

This passage highlights several main points that hint to the roots of monogamy.
- women are not equal to men, because Eve's sin was greater than that of Adam, and because Adam was created first
- women will be saved, despite the sins of Eve, through childbearing, faith, and love (assumedly, from what I know of the Bible, this means marriage to one man)

To further condense, from these points it can be assumed that women ought to enter monogamous relationships because it increases their soul's purity to the level of men's souls.

To summarize my next related topic, I will merely quote from a research paper (one that I've written, to clarify). So be warned - it sounds a little awkward out of context.

"Because of the anatomical construction of their genitals, men proceeded to “rule” over women for quite some time by keeping them forever in fear of rape. Women soon began to seek out allies who had the power to protect them from assault. They could not productively ally themselves with other women, who were also similarly dominated by men with little or no power, so instead they sought out allies among their predators. And it was thus that women paid a steep price to put an end to “an open season of rape,” and female monogamy was born. Essentially, women consented to belong to one man exclusively, and became a sort of possession. It became the custom that a woman belonged to her father until she wed and her betrothed paid a dowry – at which point ownership was transferred from father to husband. By then, any “crime committed against her body became a crime against the male estate,” rather than a crime against an individual."

I cite: Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape (New York: Bantam Books, 1976), 3-5.

Please consider this topic.

The most incredible thing is how few people have ever asked why monogamy?

Question all. I beseech you.

Regards,
Cypress

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Comments {9}

Emily

[[unnamed]]

from: justrandomwords
date: Jan. 25th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
entry

point #1: when one thinks of polygamy, i think one generally thinks of many women to one man, whereas the idea of female polygamy is really a much less common thought. (and frankly, in our society, i think it's also much less common reality.) i don't know what it has to do with anything, but if you're going to bring in gender issues, i think it ought to be noted the difference between the two different types of polygamy. is one "worse" than the other? are either bad? are either good?

point #2: (in regards to 'why monogamy?') i've always considered romantic, sexual, you know, deep relationships, to be between two people. whether a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and a man, i think the very basics of the whole concept of a romantic relationship is focused on a very strong connection between two people, and it's kind of hard to picture that/those sort of relationship/feelings occuring with more than two people, because it's simply a different type of relationship when you alter the number of people. so i personally believe in monogamous lifetime relationships; the idea of polygamy is strange and unnatural to me. i'm guessing my stance is mostly ased on the "nurture" aspect of myself, but to me it seems like "nature" for romantic relationships to be between two people. *shrug* i've never really thought about my view on polygamy much, beyond the fact that i think the extremist mormons with bajillions of wives are pretty much crazy. so i guess i'm kind of blabbering on uselessly, seeing as i'm not educated on this topic at all, but at least this has sparked some sort of thought in me that i'd never really considered before. this is interesting. i'm curious to hear what other people think about this topic!


(YAY for useful, thought-provoking community posts! this is why i love philobate!)


recap: i just reread my post and it kinda seems like i'm basically saying "well i believe in monogamy because that's how i was raised/that's the kind of society i live in and that's what i feel is right," which i think is a kind of weak stance. but basically what i'm trying to say is that the basics of a relationship change when they're between a different number of people. so you can't even really compare monogamy and polygamy. they're like... two separate ideas. i don't know. does that make sense?

sorry for ranting!

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mouse fitzgerald

[[unnamed]]

from: lolweasel
date: Jan. 25th, 2006 02:46 am (UTC)
entry

I'm glad you raised the issue of female versus male polygamy. I think it's quite relevant to Brownmiller's theory (the theory belongs to other people as well, I would imagine, but for the sake of simplicity...). If marriage was originally a contract between a man and a woman, where a woman agrees to give up her body for exclusive use by one man in return for his protection from other men, of course it would follow that polygamy is primarily a male thing.

I don't think there is anything wrong with polygamy or monogamy, as long as the same "rules" apply to both genders. Meaning, a woman can have multiple partners or only one, likewise a man.

Polygamy is, of course, less practical now, in a sexual relationship. It means a higher probability of spreading disease. It's risky.

Another thing you have to look at in regards to polygamy versus monogamy is your definition of a romantic relationship. After all, you can form meaningful friendships with multiple people. What polygamy means (for our discussion purposes, but not always) is multiple meaningful friendships with some sexual/physical aspect to each relationship. In that context, it's not such a stretch to believe that polygamy can offer profound, loving relationships as well.

As for me, personally, I doubt I could ever be polygamous. I have been conditioned by society for a very long time to believe that polygamy is unnatural and wrong. And while I consciously disagree, there's too much "nurture" to wade through for me to leap into polygamy. Too many issues - primarily jealousy, I can assume - would arise.

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Emily

[[unnamed]]

from: justrandomwords
date: Jan. 27th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC)
entry

i agree. i think because of my culture it would be natural for jealousy just to become a huge issue. and while i can understand even the idea of sexual, close relationships with multiple people at the same time, i can't see long-term relationships ever existing like that.

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1ad_astra1

A social structure and its relationships

from: 1ad_astra1
date: Jun. 4th, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
entry

Monogamy at this point and in this society, where farming and immediate labor is not a necessity (the common product of polygamous cultures is abundant offspring) is better for the family in the average social structure of today.

Outside of monogamy, chances of spreading/catching treatable or non-treatable diseases with ill effects on the human anatomy increase the more people "sleep around".

Monogamy allows for a more emotionally/ intimately connected society given that it is comparably smaller than that of a polygamous one; however, in the average western society the benefits of a monogamous family are countered by things such as both parents working full time and the immaturity that is a product of a youth concentrated society. Counter issues that can be resolved by sorting priorities that the extreme capitalist society manufactures.

In a non- family view things such as health concerns as i have mentioned before are an obvious. Aids being the worst product of polygamy, followed by cancer causing HPV, painful sorts of Herpes (sad to think that cold sores a form of herpes is viewed to be normal).

Beyond the physical ailments the human mentality and emotion. Polygamy as it is used in mainstream western cultures, defeats morale and allows abuse and narcissistic habits, all things that i would deem detrimental to a society.

Now for the religious context you pose, i will try not to be bias simply because of my beliefs so if you would please bear with me where my tone may sound hostile.

First off, good usage of text that promotes masculine dominance.
My first question to this, since i do not relate to any religion associated with the bible is; How is it that female is less pure when sin is equally passed to offspring?

One problem i find this second portion is that it is dated material. At one point in time i suppose marriages were a sort of ally partnership, however, that is not why monogamy persists( insert the above as of to why it persists).

Now for the anatomical difference and the rape you imply. I find it difficult to consider the phallic to be dominant. In more abstract thoughts thinking of how the genitalia is placed, the male more offensive and the female more defensive. neither are dominant in that case for one can overcome the other. (insert argument over strength which leads to rape)

If you put someone of similar weight and strength against a woman, the odds are in the females favor for it is more likely her legs are too strong for her equal counter part. Now if you put a stronger and larger male against her she will no longer have her favor.. Why is it that women are so much weaker than men? It is not biological rather society ( you can ask if you want more detail) After all if you put a stronger male against another they too can be raped.

All the issues i have mentioned are derived from social priority and belief. Is woman really on God's Shit list if she does not procreate and the difficulties of child birth prove she is? If you ask me child birth pains are also felt by the father for they can have sympathy pains and have to deal with the emotional roller coaster of their counter part. They are also required in polygamous social structures to provide for their offspring and their wives.

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mouse fitzgerald

Re: A social structure and its relationships

from: lolweasel
date: Jun. 5th, 2006 03:42 am (UTC)
entry

STDs are, of course, a practical concern. I don't feel that they're much of an issue of moral or social values (beyond the fact that most members of society value not contracting a fatal illness).

Also, by polygamy I don't really mean "sleeping around." I mean having multiple spouses or partners, which does cut down the risk of disease considerably from the risk of just sleeping with everyone you meet at a bacchanalia.

I must tell you I have no idea what makes a woman "less pure" than a man. The idea is almost like she duped Adam into trying the apple. Paul is something of a misogynist.

I quote the Bible, but I didn't write it.

I think you may have made the assumption that I am Christian. But I could be wrong.

As for the Brownmiller reference, it's only meant to provide a possible reason for the start of monogamy. Brownmiller herself makes no claim that it is the reason why monogamy remains today.

The matter of interlocking genitalia: I would argue that males do have an advantage and it is easier for them to perpetrate rape because of that advantage. A man can force entrance to a woman's body with his own body, but it is very difficult for a woman to rape a man, given the differences in genitalia.

I'm not about to argue with you, also, about society having a huge amount of influence on gender and sex. I tend to lean more on sociology than biology in matters of gender identity and roles.

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1ad_astra1

Re: A social structure and its relationships

from: 1ad_astra1
date: Jun. 5th, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC)
entry

Philosphy is typically more useful if you argue( i use the term lightly because debate would be the practical and more applicable word i would use in this case), why would you not argue on the issue?

If you read what i said, you would have noticed that i hardly touched on the relgious aspect of monogomy vs. polygomy and with the little that i did say, i did not imply that i believed you to be christian, i simply asked if you had more insight because i hardly have any at all and given that you quoted the bible, that gave me good reason to believe you would.

I spoke about how polygomy is utilized today in the western culture outside of marriage, if you note, i said "in the non-family view of things", i was not trying to put words into your mouth. You take things too personally, i was simply asking acouple of questions in hopes of debate and being able to dig deeper into the subject that you wrote upon along with putting forth my thoughts.

As for the last bit about interlocking genitilia, you missed what it is that i said and i am sorry i was not more clear. I was speaking of social issues(somethine sociology should touch on) and how different aspects of society affects people.Could you after all, say that people of ethnic backround are prone to crime simply because of their ancestory or is that societies fault? Same thought process applies to gender(ouside of instinctual behaviour). Think back to sparta and how sociey viewed a woman's role and how that effected their physical ability... on more of a twisted humor note, for the woman not being able to rape a man, outside of unwanted seduction, there are other devices that can be used.

There is a proven diference biologically between man and woman, there is no arguement there. Those differences also happen to effect all things including how their brain functions. However, i believe that the over all frailty that woman is perceived to be is socially derived.

If i remember correctly there was an experiment done with newborns, where they dressed females as males and visa versa and then back to what their gender really was, the perception of frailty followed the clothes rather the child. Now, Obviously, there is not much physical difference outside of their diaper, but this shows how society, therefore people view things according to gender and roles that are disposed onto people from birth effect how people behave and what type of person they will grow into. Muscle is something aquired through physical activity (genetics applies its limitations but that is not gender bias), it doesnt naturally occur as you age. Being female, and someone who is majoring in sociology, i think that it is safe to say females are encouraged to do less rigorous physical activity and physical activity as a whole outside of ballet( not necessarily by their parents but through pop culture).

Where as i spoke about monogomy vs. polygomy, i am not sure where it is unclear but if you point it out, i will ellaborate.

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mouse fitzgerald

Re: A social structure and its relationships

from: lolweasel
date: Jun. 6th, 2006 12:18 am (UTC)
entry

Well, I could argue about it. But it seems a little silly when I agree, that's all.

I'm also not going to argue with you about who said what, unless you really feel that it's a productive use of time.

I don't have much more insight into the reason behind the Bible. It doesn't make sense to me that woman is morally inferior to man, as both Adam and Eve disobeyed the same rule laid down by God. The trouble with Paul's reasoning (in which Eve was decieved but Adam, apparently, was not) is that it says that Eve was gullible, whereas Adam was wicked. So who is whose moral inferior?

I don't believe I took anything you said personally (bad form to take anything a stranger says - especially in a debating forum - personally, you know), but it's too bad that I gave you that impression.

Of course many differences between genders are influenced and created by society. When did that become a question?

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1ad_astra1

Re: A social structure and its relationships

from: 1ad_astra1
date: Jun. 6th, 2006 04:51 am (UTC)
entry

I’m going to work with things counter clockwise because that seems the only way my mind is able to function tonight.

I simply refuted you example of why monogamy is:

to support monogamy and its existence you stated:

"Because of the anatomical construction of their genitals, men proceeded to 'rule' over women for quite some time by keeping them forever in fear of rape..."

i simply elaborated on my reasoning because in your first reply you seemed to concentrate on certain aspects but not all. i.e.

*males ability to over come woman... why? (weakness and frailty on the woman's part)

*Difference in genitilia, I mentioned previous the differences between offensive vs. defensive and the upper hand only occurs when things are outweighed such as strength, something women lack due to social priorities.

I added to my argument in my reply against your reasoning according to anatomical features, women can "rape" a man in ways such as unwanted seduction.

For example: a female that one would not typically associate with gets the upper hand due to either a)intoxication more so on the males part b)exceeding amounts of sexual frustration (the coyote ugly effect on either a or b) its emotionally raping... and of course there are add ons that you are able to purchase at shady sex shops if your victims is unwilling... that was more of a twisted joke on my part but not ruled out entirely because people do crazy things.

Female raping male is more emotional currently, but imagine if things were not so "frail" on the part of the woman.. After all rape isn’t typically about sex it is more so about the violence or pure stupidity. Just because one requires arousal for anything to happen does not mean that rape can not happen.

~Therefore, the argument for why monogamy is: according to anatomic features is weak and that is why i decided to argue against it.

I am sorry i thought you were taking things personally but be more cautious with your tone, when you stated:

"I quote the Bible, but I didn't write it./I think you may have made the assumption that I am Christian. But I could be wrong."

Of course i would figure you were taking offense because of the way you lashed back; the person bellow average comprehension is able to understand that nobody currently alive wrote the bible.

I am curious though, how Adam was wicked? my knowledge of the story is at an elementary level due to my early loss of interest.

Finally, why not debate when we clearly have some differences in opinion?

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1ad_astra1

Re: A social structure and its relationships

from: 1ad_astra1
date: Jun. 6th, 2006 05:21 am (UTC)
entry

I was curious and looked adam and eve up in wikipedia:

"Because Eve had tempted Adam to eat of the fatal fruit, some early Fathers of the Church held her and all subsequent women to be the first sinners, and especially responsible for the Fall. 'You are the devil's gateway,' Tertullian told his female listeners in the early 2nd century, and went on the explain that they were responsible for the death of Christ: "On account of your desert _ that is, death - even the Son of God had to die."[13] In 1486 the Dominicans Kramer and Sprengler used similar tracts to justify the Malleus Maleficarum ('Hammer of the Witches') that led to three centuries of persecution of 'witches.'"

which given that tertulian was one to decide this, it makes more sense to me why such an irrational theory is taken from the story (i am not fond of most of his thought processes despite the fact that he was one of the few philosophers to not contradict themselves)...

if you get a chance to read the adam and eve bit in wikipedia, i would recomend it, it has some interesting historical persepectives and encompasses all religions to round the different perspectives from the different religions that use the bible as their divine text.

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