I consider myself to be a relatively emotionally mature woman. Open minded, considerate, hopefully intelligent….and yet I seem to have been rather naive on the old feminism front. I have taken for granted the relative equality and opportunity I was born into. I have never felt particularly discriminated against, objectified (save for the odd cat-whistle once upon a time), or socially excluded. Of course I have been aware of such plights…aware and sympathetic. Sometimes even moved or outraged, but not personally targeted.
That is until I came out as in a poly relationship. I now brace myself for the repeated comments of ‘oh that’s weird’, ‘I could never do that’ (because obviously I am expecting you to conduct your life according to my preferences), and ‘doesn’t your boyfriend get jealous?’ That is, unfortunately, par for the course. But it has astounded me that a few people have been completely ok with my male partner having more than one partner, but not me because I’m female. And apparently that makes me a slut.
Wow. Really? Although I’m aware not everyone is poly savvy; society is becoming more socially aware. Gay marriage is now legal, women have equal rights; we can even vote dagnabbit. But apparently conducting my behaviour in the same way as my boyfriend opens the door to the 1950s.
Furthermore, the misconception that polyamory automatically equates to promiscuity is starting to grate. Funnily enough, that’s another view that has been reserved for my female self and not my male partners. Because promiscuity is still regarded as an aspirational freedom in a man, but a character slight in a woman. As it happens, I am not promiscuous. But if I was…so what? Why should women apologise for wanting the same sexual freedom as men?
The saddest part is, almost all of the sexist and presumptuous comments have come from women. Women who genuinely seem to think is is alright for a man to have more than one partner, but strange for a woman. And that I must have pushed *my* views onto my unsuspecting partners.
I have had both monogamous and polyamorous relationships, and will likely do so again, but never did the monogamy cause such interest. So to those women I would like to say no I have not convinced my boyfriends to tolerate my ‘sexually predatory’ ways. We fell in love the same way most couples do. They respect my honesty and the love and commitment that I bring to the table. They trust that I will always be open with them because I always have been before. They are happy that I know my own mind well enough to live life according to my own moral compass and not by a social label. And they appreciate the freedom they have as a result of being in a polyamorous relationship. A relationship which we jointly decided to make polyamorous.
And ladies…it is ok to be honest about your own needs and views, whatever they are. You can live by your own standards and still be morally upright. And more often than not, when you are honest and genuine the people in your life will love and respect you for it.