How Far Have Women Evolved?

Women are dominating the headlines these days. From Casey Anthony’s murder trial (which, if she’s convicted, could possibly become only the fourth woman in Florida’s history to receive the death penalty, putting her in the same category as Aileen Wournos) to Sarah Palin to the women at the heart of the Rep. Anthony Weiner scandal, the spotlight’s on the fairer sex. But just how far have women come and are there a few who are inaccurately representing the collective contemporary woman? Here are two examples that have jaws dropping today. You be the judge.

I can’t resist going into the whole Sister Wives brouhaha. I have to say, I am absolutely fascinated by these women. At first, there was this powerful sense of unity in the TLC family that consists of a husband, four wives and 16 children (soon to be 17). My thought then was, “live and let live”. And, too, honestly, I didn’t understand why the authorities were so interested in investigating the family. After all, Kody Brown didn’t legally marry wives number 2, 3 and 4, so he wasn’t committing bigamy, at least in a legal sense. The family wasn’t then or now relying on the government to stock its food shelves and the adults had a working solution for earning money for the family. I think all but one of the wives had impressive careers. Their dynamics worked, at least on the surface. Granted, I think the fourth wife, Robyn, is a whining brat, but eh, who am I to say?

The new episodes have been sporadic and last night, they opened their lives again for us voyeuristic beings to catch a glimpse at how their lives work. They now have four separate households, each wife in one home with the children she gave birth to. They recently relocated to Las Vegas and it’s clear the burden is heavy for the family as a whole. These women are tired. I can’t help but sense a bit of resentment towards the shared husband over his newest wife who I’m sure the three wives feel they’re babysitting at times. Still, there’s no denying their individual and collective determination to make their lives work. It’s an interesting psychological study, no doubt. Love them or hate them, you have to admit, they are incredible mothers. Bottom line, I still say, “live and let live”. They’re either incredibly brilliant or sorely lacking in self-confidence. Somehow, though, I don’t think the first three wives are short any confidence. That fourth one? Lord, that woman gets on my nerves. Oh, and now she’s pregnant. Ugh!

OK, so if the sister wives don’t have your blood boiling, I’m sure this next gem will. What happens when you combine Muslim women, polygamy and no self-esteem? Why, you get a group of women who believe:

    • “hooker sex” keeps a husband faithful
    • it’s the woman’s role to ensure her husband does not beat her
    • obedience is the foundation of a satisfied husband
    • God agrees

Men who have wives in this culture who are “as good as or better than a prostitute in bed” have no reason to stray, at least, according to the women in this group. A spicy sex life ensures domestic violence never enters the marriage, they say. I’m amazed. I am amazed that these women believe first, that it’s up to them to ensure their husbands don’t beat them and more importantly, that they believe the better they are in bed, the more certain they are that a husband won’t cheat.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely believe a good marriage includes some (a “healthy” some, mind you) of what this group insists, but I vehemently disagree with the declarations that they can turn a cheating husband into one who’s loyal and loving. If he’s violent, no amount of sex or passive behaviors will change that. If he’s cheating, odds are, he will continue to cheat. All of these shortcomings and illegal activities (domestic violence is crime) are coming from within him and have nothing to do with how docile his wife is. Throw in polygamy and the problems increase tenfold. These women are in deep denial and the tragedy is that it’s all they know. The odds of them changing their lives is virtually nil. One tends to stay with the devil she’s most familiar with.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just feeling jaded today. Between Anthony Weiner’s press conference and at least a dozen more stories in the headlines, I think maybe I need a nap.

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