Is Polygamy Really so Bad?

March 31, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Yes. Yes it is. That, at least, is how Libby Copeland answers the question. Researchers have found that it’s bad for men, women, children, and society. Here’s why:

  • Women: Since polygyny – the specific practice of one man taking on many wives – is so common one would imagine that it would, in fact, be a better arrangement for women because they are in higher demand. But that’s not how it works out because:
    • The high demand and subsequent pressures this creates causes women to get married at younger and younger ages.
    • Fathers and brothers realize that having a young female in the family is valuable and thus become controlling, selling girls to the highest bidder.
    • Once married women are trapped in households where they’re competing against other women for their husband’s attention, making life a constant struggle.
  • Men: Older, richer men hog all of the women leaving none for the majority.
  • Children: Polygamous arrangements are associated with higher rates of child mortality. This might be because in polygamous relationships there is less investment in any one child as the husband normally has many wives and many children.
  • Society: Men are more likely to engage in rape. Moreover without any families to invest in other, non-sexual, crimes also rise.

To read more about the effects of polygamy, why our culture is fascinated with it, and certain conditions where polygamy may not really be so bad, click here.

Source: Slate