Recently the "lifestyle publication" Madame Noire ran an article with the following headline "Love & Marriage: Are Some People Really “Polyamorous” or Just Plain Greedy?" written by Toya Sharee.
Although the article wasn't half bad (Toya made a better effort than most at being fair and factual), the title annoys the heck out of me. And this isn't the first time I've heard the statement "Poly people are just greedy". But I am hearing it more often. (Don't think it is that prevalent? Try the Google search "Polyamory Greedy" and see how many hits you get, many complaints by people who have been called greedy).
So I sat down for a minute and thought about why that statement bothers me and came to the conclusion it is the word "greedy". More to the point, I think it is the commonly held definition of the word "having or showing a selfish desire for wealth and possessions" (2., from Merriam-webster.com) in the context of that sentence that bothers me.
The sentence implies that there are some people out there who rather than being Polyamorous actually just have a strong desire to accumulate possessions, or people in this example. Literally there is separation in the statement between Poly people and those who are just greedy. In actuality however, the statement is mild stereotyping with the judgment that many Poly people are in fact just greedy relationship collectors. I liken it to saying something like "Love & Marriage: Are some serial monogamists actually monogamous, or just sluts?"
To be honest, I find the implication of the statement "Poly people are just greedy" not only offensive, but a good indication of the depth of ignorance some people enjoy.
-The definition of Greed includes "selfish desire". If I’m poly, and happy with my partners having other partners, does that sound remotely selfish? It sounds a heck of a lot less selfish than monogamy to me.
-Sometimes "greedy" in the statement refers to the poly persons desire to be loved by many. How exactly does wanting to be loved by many make me any different than say Oprah or Ashton Kutcher? (That's assuming that wanting to be loved by many people is a bad thing to begin with and even needs defending).
-I've even heard the statement defended as "Poly people just want everyone else's partners." Sorry, that's "coveting", not greed. By the way, what makes you think I want everyone else's partner, let alone yours? Hell, I've heard how you talk about your partner and he/she doesn't sound like a prize to me!
Where I was left at the end of my ponderings was guessing that someone who would describe poly people as "greedy" probably has bigger issues than understanding Polyamory. It is quite possible that taking an offensive stance with such a strong statement is due to a lack of confidence in their own abilities to acquire and keep even a single, solid relationship let alone more than one.
I think next time someone says poly people are greedy I will agree. I will tell them that yes, I do want their partner so they better lock them up and/or start sexing them up real good if they want to keep them past next Thursday. And yes, I'm a selfish bastard who wants everyone for myself. None for you! And when I acquire all those people as mine, we will all join Twitter and kick Oprah and Ashton right the heck off into obscurity. After that, my new extended Poly family and I will proceed to conquer Earth. Our first order of business . . . elimination of the word "greedy" from the dictionary and the public beheading of anyone who uses the word in the future. (Though maybe we will grant clemency to a few serial monogamist sluts for giggles).
Today I will be proud to be a greedy Polyamorist!