Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sister Wives: Opinion, Hold the Judgement

The TLC reality show Sister Wives is new again tonight. I've watched this show from the beginning. At first, it was a curiosity, the same curiosity that made me watch Jon and Kate; but as I watched I was drawn into the insanity of their lifestyle. The drama and something that just is not an acceptable lifestyle. 

I strive to not be a judgmental person. So it wasn't until my mom mentioned one day that I was being so, that I realized what I was doing. We were discussing the show and I was just going off about their lifestyle. How strange they were, the choices they were making, etc etc. My mom basically said they kids aren't being harmed, there is food, shelter, love, more than basic necessities. The kids are well taken care of; they have so many siblings to play with and love who take care of each other. While they live a lifestyle I don't, and don't necessarily agree with, it's not my place to judge. Even if they have put their lifestyle on television, it's not my place to feel ugly things toward them and think they are bad or wrong. 

So after much thought, here are my raw feelings on the show/family/lifestyle. 

First, my concern is why would you put yourself at risk for felony charges, jail time, loosing jobs etc by going on television? I understand wanting to have your story put out there, teaching others, hoping to gain something for your family and future generations. I know about fighting for what you believe in, but I'm sure that there could have been a better way to start it than by going on television. 

Second, my personal issue. It feels to me (my feminist self) that this situation, these unions, suggest that one woman is not equal to one man. One man needs four wives to be fulfilled. I don't like the implications of that. I don't know any of the religious or faith based ideas that polygamy comes from, so that could be something that I've developed on my own. But it is something I feel and something I am not comfortable with. However, I can accept that many wives live a lifestyle differently from me. I don't accept that I should be obedient to what my husband says. I will be obedient in my marriage and follow the vows that we made. IF he made faith based decisions, I would follow them. But he doesn't, so that's a non issue. So basically, I have made a conscious decision that we all live the way that works for us, and there's nothing I can do with it except live my life the way I want.

Finally, the Browns are currently filing a federal suit against the state of Utah to have the law that bars polygamy overturned. There have been other law suits (one in the state of Texas) in which the Supreme Court stated gay sex was out of the jurisdiction of the law. This law being overturned would positively affect people like the Browns who appear to be living the way they should be. They are just a big happy family. However, and I know there are always exceptions, there are families in which children are just the result of marriages. They aren't valued for anything except the future marriage to someone, most likely an older family member and probably before they are legally of age. If the overturning of this law legally allows families like the latter to continue, I don't think that's a positive thing. I'm not sure how that can be regulated, probably can't, but I don't want to see something that could be positive for those who would use it appropriately be abused by those others who are doing it illegally and treating their families/children negatively now. 

Overall, this show is one that I watch because I'm nosy and curious. I am most definitely not being judgmental about this family any more and I'm not ready to stop watching because I'm appalled at what they're doing. 

So, there is my opinion on Sister Wives. The show and partially the lifestyle. What's yours?

Semi follow up post here.

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Nobodys Nothings said...

i don't watch the show. as a personal rule, i don't watch reality shows in general. things are never the way they portray them on television... there's always more to the story, whether it's worse or better.

as for Sister Wives... well, it just disgusts me. yes, the idea that they are making it look like it takes 4 women just to equal one mighty man who has commitment issues, pisses me off. the whole show is blatant sexism at it's worst. in the modern age, we have children by choice because of the joy and love they bring into our lives, not because they're one more bargaining chip we hold in our belt pouch.

but i don't watch the show, so i don't really know. and my opinion doesn't matter for much ultimately.

Rikki said...

I feel pretty much the same way you do. I wouldn't live life that way but whatever works for them, the only person they have to answer to is God. I feel bad that they are under investigation because even though I think it's weird I don't think they should really be treated badly for "breaking the law" all the women in this particular marriage are adults and seem very stubborn and more like the modern feminist woman for the most part and have made the choice to live like this, it's the same as a homosexual couple in my opinion. They shouldn't be thrown in jail because of who the love! Now if it were like the whole Tony Alamo thing that went on recently than yes of course that is illegal. He was forcing CHILDREN into marrying 50++ year old men and forcing them to have babies. HE was a criminal, Cody and his wives are strange sure but they aren't criminals.

Firehouse mama said...

I don't agree with their lifestyle for me. But whatever works for them, great. However, when I watch this show I see a bunch of struggling relationships. I don't see a happy relationship between 4 women and one man, I see a bunch of women trying to compete for attention and a bunch of children doing the same thing. I think it's sad really that Kody and his wives have put their children in such a bad place mentally. Since they've moved to Las Vegas all of the older children are really struggling and one of the boys really seems depressed. I'd like to see the show and family focus on building up their children not breaking them down and saying "oh well, this is what we chose, they'll be fine" But that's just what I see.

Sally @ A Blessed Existence said...

@FireHouse Mama--

You posed a point I hadn't really considered into my thought process. I guess I was thinking of the fact that they are happy in general. Not all people are happy all the time, and we are only seeing bits and pieces that are glamorized for television. So, I can honestly say I hadn't considered that they might truly be unhappy in their relationships.

As for the children: Lots of people move. Working in a military town, I see it frequently. And kids hate moving, especially secondary aged children. They get upset, angry, sad, depressed, act out, etc. But I don't think I can place blame on the parents for that, because a large part of that is the egocentric teenage mindset of, "Oh this is the worst thing I've ever been through."

Don't get me wrong, I am not comparing this family and their lifestyle to that of the military life. I know there are differences. However, one thing is true to both, it is a conscious choice. People in the military choose to go in, for whatever reason may apply, and they choose to have children knowing that those children will be subject to frequent moves, and the risk of loosing parents. So, no, they aren't the same thing (I'm not a military hater and am just CMA with this disclaimer section lol)but they both affect the children, and it's just not my place to have animosity to either for their decisions.

Thanks for the response. :)

Sally @ A Blessed Existence said...

@Rikki--I totally agree about the legal thing. It makes me wonder if a man could even be roommates with women (no relationships involved) legally. I know it's part of the "spiritual union" thing and "common law marriages" whatever, but it's still questionable to me.

Sally @ A Blessed Existence said...

@Jessica--You pointed out my one major issue with the show/lifestyle. I just don't appreciate the notion. And I don't know that it's even the intention of the family/faith/lifestyle, but it most definitely could be interpreted that way.

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