Polygamy- A feminist issue?


(The topic of my first posting chosen by my Media Studies lecturer, Marian Pike, is an assignment. A lot of my writing here will be for academic purposes, but I aim to make it as entertaining as possible. Welcome to my blog, I hope you enjoy my first entry 🙂

The question is whether modern feminists are opposed to polygamist lifestyles. I’m going to take a look at what polygamy is and then I will apply the views of feminists to it.

Polygamy is the practice of a man having more wives than one. In African cultures polygamy is a tradition that sets the status of a man. The more wives a he has the wealthier he is.

Jacob Zuma with his three current wives.

South African president,  Jacob Zuma is a proud polygamist who is constantly in the media’s eye. Much is being said about the fact that he has three wives and 20 children, but what is the core of the matter and why are so many people opposed to his lifestyle?

Feminists see polygamy as a definite issue in terms of what they stand for. The feminist movement of the late 20th century highlighted that all women be treated equally to men in all facets of life. In that context it isn’t at all fair that a man may have many wives and a woman doesn’t have the right to support many husbands.

Cultures are supportive of arranged marriages to men who already have wives. This, from a feminist point of view cripples a woman’s rights by forcing polygamy to occur.

Something else worth mentioning is that a woman living under these conditions may be belittled in her position as a second or third wife. The first wife is usually given preference over the others and this is indeed not a sign of equality.

Polygamy is a feminist issue.

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One response to “Polygamy- A feminist issue?

  1. nicolefernandes

    nice picture and great angle on way you look at both sides of story:)

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