Okay, folks.
So Janani Balasubramanian has a post up at Black Girl Dangerous offering nine strategies for non-oppressive polyamoury.
A lot of it is pretty common-sense, basic courtesy stuff like (A) Don’t introduce your date as “So-and-so, she’s [oppressed minority]”, or (B) Recognize that your Secondary Partners aren’t less important as people, that their feelings aren’t less important to take into consideration, it’s just they just get less of your time, energy, and attention and, likewise, you get less of theirs.
Some of it is stuff that I only semi-agree with. Like the idea that dating five [x type of privileged] people all at once isn’t necessarily a radical act all by iteself… I find myself asking “Why not?” I mean, I get that – in the same way that you (and everybody else) exists at an intersection of multiple oppressions & stigmas AND multiple privileges – it’s possible to do something politically radical while also having other Stuff you need to examine, unpack and fix about yourself. But why is dating a bunch of people ethically and openly and considerately – which (I hope!) is what poly folks are generally striving for – why is that not a radical act when we’re part of a culture that treats dating multiple people at once as childish and/or doomed to failure[1]?
And some of it is stuff that I think is really important to remember – like the bit about, if you frequently date people from [x oppressed group that you aren’t part of], it’s important to remember that, specifically because you’re not part of X group, you’ve got privileges – around things like cultural beauty standards, for example – that are going to effect the (invisible/unspoken/involuntary) power dynamics in your relationship(s).
I think you should all go and check it out. 🙂
Ms Syren.
[1] To offer a related (ish?) example. Having been married twice, it feels SO DIFFERENT to identify as “somebody’s wife” when I’m the wife of another woman than when I was married to a man the first time around. My wife (MY WIFE!) gave a talk at a huge physicians’ conference in Quebec City not that long ago, and her name tag read Mrs Ghost. She explained to her (het) co-facilitator that, while co-facil might go out of her way to avoid being Mrs (as opposed to Dr, which she also is), for my wife the claiming of, and insistance upon, the title of “Mrs” in an extremely heteronormative space was, for her as a queer chick, a radical act of forcing The Majority to take her relationship (and her gender, and her spouse’s gender) seriously and to challenge them to recognize all of the above as legitimate. I think that insisting The Majority take your multiple open relationships seriously and to understand them as legitimate is also a radical act. But I get that it’s a lot less radical when you insist that all of your non-married-to-you partners stay in the Dirty Little Secret Closet when you’re around your co-workers or your relatives.