Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts will be found at www.polymeansmany.com . This month, our topic is “ polyamory and feminism”.
While thinking about what to write for this, I came across this fabulous comic on the Everyday Feminism project that I wanted to give a 1-up to.
It doesn’t make mention of the issue of polyamory and race, and of how people of colour can be relatively invisible within the non monogamous community. I’m sure there are other axes of oppression that are also missed out, however that is the one that jumped out at me.
That aside, this is a really good introduction to how one can experience oppression in one axis (like being in a non monogamous relationship) and still be relatively privileged compared to others.
That’s all I’ve got for this month, but in my defence, that comic is really good!
To believe in a monarchy is to believe that some, by birth, deserve more. More power. More wealth. More adulation. More respect. Not for their actions, but for their genetics.
To believe that about one family, it is a small step to believe that about a whole class of people. To believe that there are people who, by virtue of their birth, not their deeds, deserve more from society, and are better suited to shape it.
To believe that about a class of people, and about one family based on their genetics, it is almost inevitable to believe that about people who look and sound the same.
If you believe that some inherent characteristics entitle one to more, you may not realise it, but you must also believe that some people, by virtue of characteristics decided before their birth, deserve less. Less power. Less wealth. Less respect. Not for what they do, but for who they are.
To believe in a monarchy is to believe that some people are just not worth as much. That they don’t matter. That the comfort of this group of people is worth more than the suffering and deprivation of those people.
To pay lip service to a monarch is to glorify and perpetuate this system. This societal agreement that if your parents had the wrong job, if your written and spoken language don’t match, if you love the wrong people, if your skin and your faith don’t match the colour and practice of the realm, then not only do you probably get less than the right people, but the fact you get less is a consequence of society working properly, not a sign that it is broken.
I love my country. I love its people, ancient and new. I love its voices, in their glorious melodic variety. Its kaleidescope of faces.
But my country has a cancer at its heart. The monarchy is a modern hangover. Colonialism is not dead.
In the age of empire, the class that ruled Britain ruled the world. Those people committed horrors upon horrors on those below them, both in these isles and across the world.
We have not exorcised these ghosts. Their structures remain. The same blood sits on the same seats.
With those seats, the message is given, over and over, that we are not the same. That some people are just worth more than others. That some deserve gold headwear. Others, a photo of their child, cold on a Turkish beach.
So no. I will not sing your anthem.
I am not more than you because of my parents education. I am not less than you because of who I love. And I will not say that I am, not in any way, and certainly not with a song.
With eternal thanks to all those who have helped me see the consequences of my attitudes, and helped me be a kinder human being.
So, I have something to say about the reaction to Jeremy Corbyn as a pacifist and a republican.
Being opposed to nuclear armament and armed conflict is not incompatible with being supportive of our troops and their service. The people who declare war and the people who fight wars are two separate groups of people. It is totally possible to condemn the decisions of one without in any way diminishing the contribution of the other.
It is not our troops on the ground who decide who their enemies are. That is decided in Parliament. More often nowadays that is decided in Number 10. To be opposed to conflict and favour democratic negotiation, and to be willing to speak to all parties, including Hamas, to avoid military action, is merely pacifism. It isn’t and shouldn’t be interpreted as a slight to serving men and women or veterans.
It is the duty of our armed forces to serve at Her Majesty’s pleasure and to follow the chain of command. To do so is an honourable decision. Regardless of how one feels about the monarchy or the commands being given.
It is the duty of our government to determine where and how our armed forces should be used, and to correctly interpret the will of the people. And debate should be welcome in this arena given the lives that hang in the balance.
There are many aspects to polyamory, but sometimes you just have to go back to the basics. Is it possible to cheat in a polyamorous relationship, and if it is what does that look like? I’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked me if it is possible to cheat in a polyamorous relationship, or have thought that my polyamorous relationship is the same as cheating.
After the Ashley Madison data leak the spot light is on marriage, cheating, and mistresses. These are all ways to have more than one relationship, that fall under the heading of cheating. But what does it look like to have more than one relationship, and for that to be not cheating? What does it look like to cheat when you are in relationships with more than one person?
In my relationships and my experience, the definition of cheating is to do something outside the agreed parameters. My family is, to all intents and purposes, a closed group. This means that, within the four of us, there are no relationship restrictions. However, if one of us wishes to start a new relationship, they need to discuss that with the other three, and get all of their agreement.
Cheating is therefore defined as going outside our rules. That would mean having sexual contact or starting a relationship with someone without the agreement or knowledge of the family. That doesn’t mean that new sexual and romantic relationships are not possible. We have, in fact, recently recently added a new relationship to our family, someone I am immensely proud to be able to call a metamore.
The fundamental difference between monogamous and polyamorous relationships is usually the variety of shapes and situations that are possible in a polyamorous relationship. There can be a very small or very large number of people involved. There can be very strict rules and boundaries, or things might be very relaxed. Regardless of the agreed structures, cheating in these circumstances is any action which breaks those agreed rules, whatever they are. By comparison, monogamous relationships are very simple. The defining feature of a monogamous relationship is that you have one sexual and romantic partner.
Defining what is cheating in a polyamorous relationship can be more difficult, but it is still very possible.
Ultimately, it is our responsibility as sexual and romantic partners to be aware of the responsibilities we have to those we are in relationship with. Being faithful to the rules that we have agreed to is the essential foundation to healthy and nourishing relationships, weather monogamous or polyamorous.
Poly Means Many: there are many aspects of Polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found on Poly Means Many. This month we chose to respond to a piece in The Guardian.
This week, the Guardian published an article by Emer O’Toole on the subject of polyamory. It was an interesting read and in it, Emer gave the stories of several of her friends who were polyamorous. I really liked the structure of the article, and the stories, showing that poly really does mean many – many stories and many ways of structuring relationships and lives.
In the spirit of the article, here is my story.
I started going out with my first real boyfriend when I was 17. And about 7 months later, he broke up with me for reasons that I did not at that point understand. I later found out that one of the main reasons he has broken up with me was because he had met and kissed another girl. He was feeling guilty about this but also didn’t want to hurt me and so didn’t tell me. When I found out about the other girl, I was heartbroken. I felt hurt that you wouldn’t trust me to tell me what had happened, and that he didn’t feel able to tell me and trust that I would respond appropriately. I guess this was my first clue that I wouldn’t be doing relationships in a conventional way.
My next relationship of any length was with a wonderful man I am privileged to now call one of my best friends. He was in a vulnerable place emotionally at the time, and therefore despite the obvious feelings we had for one another, we never officially called ourselves a relationship. I knew that at any time, either of us could meet someone else, or find ourselves in different circumstances, and that they could take priority over what we had together.
The new circumstances arrived, and I moved to Sheffield. In my first year here, I started a relationship with a married couple. It was the first relationship I had had with a woman, and it was so much fun to play with the two of them.
I still didn’t have a name for these flexible relationships I was having. There was still very definitely an assumption that at some point I would find the one and then all of this experimentation would be just that. A period of exploration at the beginning of my life as an overture and prelude to the main event – marriage and 2.4 children.
And then I met Tom. Well, more accurately I met up with Tom again. Tom had been one of the first people I met when I came to Sheffield, and we had started a relationship within the first week of knowing one another by virtue of being two thirds of a threesome. Also he let me drive his Mini. Which is a swift way to a girls heart if ever there was one!
By the time Tom and I got back together, he had figured out that he was polyamorous, had a word for it, and knew that for him, any relationship of significance needed to be a polyamorous one. As soon as he explains the principles to me, I knew that I had found my home. All of my past relationships suddenly seemed to make a lot more sense.
For this reason, polyamory has always seemed, at least for me, to be an orientation. A relationship orientation, if you will.
That conversation, between Tom and I, in which he explained polyamory, will be 10 years ago this July. I am so grateful to the work of everyone who has gone before us, to those who have battled for individuality, and who have shared information that has helped me to know myself and love my loves so much better.
So, how about you? What is your polyamorous story?
I couldn’t do a February update as I was busy with a custom order, which I can now tell you about! This is (before washing) the second of two skeins of light fingering weight yarn I was commissioned to do.
The final thickness and length were both super satisfying. I beat my previous record for length from 100g by 100m! It was a real challenge to get the yarn as fine as I wanted it, but the recipient is thankfully happy with it, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they make with it!
Because of having to concentrate so closely on the commissioned project, I decided to have some fun with my next few skeins, and have been playing around!
This pink was a JOY to spin! I didn’t concentrate too much on making it any particular thickness, and did a very simple and lazy 2ply with it by balling it using my wool winder, then taking the outer and inner ends and plying them together.
Apparently my resting WPI for merino is 16wpi, and again, I was very pleased with the length I got.
I stuck this up on the shop today, after managing to get some pretty good pics of it. (Shop link, pink merino yarn)
The next thing I got my teeth into was something completely new! I’d noticed a pleasing synchrony of colours in my stash between some merino tops and a couple of machine yarns, so decided to try doing some thick and thin spinning and combine the different elements to make things interesting.
Obviously I also put some sparkles in there because Why Would You Not! (Merino top thick and thin, plied with acrylic green and sparkles)
These two also seemed to go together quite well. (Merino and silk, plied with cotton)
And the yarn I ended up with from this I’m also really happy with.
I had some of the merino single left, but not enough to sell. I made a 2ply with it, using the same method as the pink above, and I’m going to try using it as a contrast yarn to finish off a top I’ve had half-knitted for about 18 months! I’ll let you know how I get on with that!
Apart from all the spinning, I took apart an old poncho and am reusing the yarn to make a big baggy cardigan, and after finding some very bright odds and ends of sock yarn in my spring cleaning, am working on the most eye-bleedingly bright socks you ever did see! I can’t wait to wear them!
Also, just for fun, I played around with some nail polish! See you next month!