Tuesday, December 13, 2011
If you visit here often you know that sometimes things bug me. Usually they are things that most people probably dismiss easily. For some reason I can't. They chew at my brain, and sometimes my morality, mercilessly until somehow they are vented from my consciousness, hopefully in a constructive manner.
Here is the one bugging me a bit right now. . .
I know someone who is poly, let us call her Ethel, who is in a family support group that includes both adults and children. The group is on the alternative side of things so it would theoretically be comprised of more open-minded people. Ethel however has recently found out that might not be the case. Being an overly affectionate and vocal person about her poly (and lifestyle) views, she has drawn some attention to herself, and complaints from group members. Being a sensitive woman, Ethel is deeply hurt by this.
Knowing Ethel personally, I know that she is publicly quite affectionate and indeed, quite vocal. She has even told me directly how a friend of ours was hiding their poly lifestyle from their children and she felt it was her obligation as a parent to take those children aside and explain polyamory to them, against their parents wishes. Yikes! Fortunately she ended up not having the opportunity to do so.
When she expressed her dismay at having someone complain about her public displays of affection, and vocal poly conversations she was having, I gently tried to let her know that some people are sensitive to things to which they, and their children, are exposed. The feedback was not received well and Ethel made it clear she knows how to act appropriately. Umm, okay.
I'm really only telling you these things so you know enough of the story for it to make sense. This next part is where I think it gets interesting.
Ethel decided to get some online feedback about the situation. There were quite a few comments made on the topic. Some suggested she ignore the issues, others that she try to find out who made the complaint. Some suggested she try to work things out, or turn the other cheek. Others suggested the complainer was simply a mean, unhappy person and that Ethel shouldn't change a thing about her behavior.
The overall theme was that Ethel had a right to act the way she was. Most believed that Ethel is a loving, caring person (which I think she is at heart) and it was ridiculous for someone to complain about that. An underlying tone was that Ethel did nothing wrong, shouldn't change, and it was the complainers problem not hers. Essentially, Ethel should be able to talk about whatever she wants, whenever she wants, regardless of the audience.
Here is the sticky part. Those commenting that Ethel should do as she pleases are primarily from the Poly community. They are the same people who scream bloody murder if a monogamous person starts espousing the benefits of monogamy, or God forbid a Christian falls into their pagan laps and is vocal about their religion, and they are the same people who become almost frenzied when exclusivity or discrimination over their Poly lifestyle comes up.
What I got out of the discussion about the problem was this; Do as I say, not as I do.
For some reason a lot of people seem to think it is okay to shout their beliefs from the highest rooftops, beat people senseless with them, convert the opposition, and that they should be legally and morally justified in doing so. But should anyone with an opposing view try to do the same they are the first screaming a breach of morality and begging for legal sanctions.
Ridiculous. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Didn't anyone else learn that one growing up? It isn't a difficult concept really. Have some consideration if other parents don't want their children hearing about your poly lifestyle and multiple partners. Do you have to agree with how they are raising their children? Not at all. But it would be wise to respect their role as parents lest they decide to disrespect yours and educate your children on a subject of which you aren't fond.