The Jane Doe Novel Experiment

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Does #Polyamory: Married & Dating Feed Sterotypes?

First, let me clarify that I am not bashing the people on Showtime’s, Polyamory: Married & Dating, but I have some issues with the image of the lifestyle they are portraying.

Let’s imagine it’s the first time a minority will be broadcast on television. We’ll start with gays. The first ever episode features gay men who are all flamboyant, colorful dresser, with high-pitched voices who love to shop. Another first time show featuring African Americans. The show focuses on a fried-chicken eating, baggy pants wearing, all day cussing black family drinking B&J like it’s water.

Now imagine you’re apart of either of those groups. Wouldn’t you be a little upset that the first ever truly public display of your minority is represented by the most common and least favorable stereotypes? Even if you have friends/family just like the ones you’re watching and you love them to no end! You love them, but maybe it wasn’t wise for them to represent the entire, “I’m gay and I’m proud” community.

I feel that way about the couples on Showtime’s, Polyamory: Married & Dating. I’m sure they are great people, but wow! Way to feed into every, “poly people are sex driven, free love, hippy-types, with more drama in the relationship than it’s worth,” stereotype.

This blog was inspired by a blog titled, “Things I Learned From Showtime’s Polyamory: Married and Dating.” The author gives her very witty and laugh out loud commentary. And the not-so-funny part about it is this: that’s what the show is presenting poly to be.

Let’s assume 50% of the population is already prejudice against poly relationships. The other 50% never heard of it. I feel like this show is making the first 50% feel they are right in their assumptions and the unbiased 50% would rather not consider it if based solely on this show.

And that irritates me just a little. I have plenty of friends who, if were video taped, have very stable and loving multiple partner relationships. After watching them the census may be more along the lines of, “it’s not for me”, vs what I’m reading and hearing now: “controlling, selfish, greedy, sex-focused, straight man’s dream, girl’s must be bi or desperate (aka unattractive) to share their man…” ugh!

But yes, I know groups similar to the ones I’m watching on Show, but I also know some who are the exact opposite. Can they get a TV crew as well?

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15 comments on “Does #Polyamory: Married & Dating Feed Sterotypes?

  1. I think people would find the typical poly households/relationships rather mundane, boring and much like their own household/relationship, just with more adults in it. People work, kids have to get to school and get home and need help with homework. Meals, laundry, cleaning house. I would say our household is not much different from when I was in a single couple household. Everything in daily life still happens, there’s just now three adults to help spread-out the workload.

    • Jane Doe
      July 21, 2012

      I agree with you. I think it’s unfortunate Show didn’t pick at least one poly reality like you described. The commercial seemed promising: a couple with a child asking another couple to share their lives together. (= family & true bonding. Yay!) A triad in love. (polyfidelity? Each person in the group is in a committed relationship with the others in the group and don’t date people outside. Yay!) Those were two great concepts I would have loved to see evolve.

      But, watch the show and chaos. 😦 Showtime did a bait and switch in my eyes.

      Who is your poly family composed of? (If you don’t mind sharing.)

      • My poly family consists of myself, my partner, her husband, my two children from a previous marriage and my partner and her husband’s child, three cats, three birds and two dogs.

  2. Alisia C
    July 21, 2012

    I have an easy answer to why normal poly families did not do this show. Unlike the desperate, narcissistic characters they did cast, a normal family would not film their children in a show like this. Devi’s son is like four years old. He is not old enough to sign off on this. What is he going to feel like in ten years? Or when he’s eighteen? He’s going to be embarrassed that his mom dragged him on screen on her soft porn television show. I actually blogged about this too, after watching the first episode. It think it’s so ridiculous. I will say this, I am going to keep watching!!

    • Jane Doe
      July 21, 2012

      Interesting point, Alisia. I don’t mind the child being on the show. I think in ten years, he won’t regret his face being on TV, but his parents nude bodies being there!

      There was a documentary, on BBC I believe, where a woman with two men and a two or three year old child were followed for a week or so. The vibe was so much more refreshing because they behaved like any a loving, stable, typical mono family with an extra dad.

      What’s the link to your blog on the subject. I would love to read!

  3. Libbyjean
    July 21, 2012

    As a part of a poly family, I completely agree with you. The show makes us all look like orgy-happy hippies. I can appreciate the effort, but…

    • Jane Doe
      July 21, 2012

      *Nodding…*

      Do you mind sharing who is involved in your poly family, Libbyjean?

  4. Jessica
    July 22, 2012

    I’d strongly encourage people to reach out to the show’s executive producer / director / creator, Natalia Garcia, about their concerns with the show (she can be found at https://www.facebook.com/natalia.garcia.737 or http://www.nataliagarcia.net/ – she reached out to the Modern Poly crew after our recent response and review. Sadly, she did not take the feedback well (us voicing concerns about the lack of diversity, monogamy bashing, etc.) and wouldn’t acknowledge the feedback from this site because it was coming from an anonymous source. I was left fuming after that.

    • Jane Doe
      July 22, 2012

      Hello Jessica. First let me thank you for suggesting Natalia review this post. However, her “it’s anonymous” reasoning doesn’t hold water. If I say my name is Alisa Robinson, does that mean she’ll take it into consideration? Doubt it. 😉

      Second, is it possible for you to link your review on here? (If you make your way back.) I would love to read it and I’m sure future readers would, too.

      Your thoughts on reaching out to the show’s executive as my wheels spinning! I’ll blog about it once I get my thoughts together. Thank you for the inspiration!

      Oh, and I’m sorry you’re fuming. I hope you’re feeling better.

      Jane

      • Jessica
        July 22, 2012

        Hi Jane (or Alisa) 😉

        My review of episode 1 can be found at http://www.modernpoly.com/article/polyamory-married-and-dating-episode-1-review . I’m at the point where I need to break my post on episode 2 into 2 parts. The first being the review itself (which is already at 3600 words and only 75% complete), and the second being a synopsis of the social media reaction to the show to-date, which will hopefully also discuss the need for compassionate yet constructive criticism among those of us that fall into the “movers and shakers” category of the polyamory movement.

  5. Annika
    July 22, 2012

    It’s a reality TV show. Has there ever been a reality TV show without a lot of drama? If this were a documentary or a movie, I would completely agree, but it is not.

    How many *normal* poly families would be willing to participate in a reality TV show? What about the consequences? If the families lives were *normal* before the show, they would certainly be very different once the show aired.

    I have corresponded with the producers, because I was auditioning for the show myself, along with two of my partners. We are very low drama, and we are all fortunate enough to be able to be fully out at our jobs and (most of) our families.

    But when it came down to it, we realized how much this show would change our lives. We didn’t opt out per se, but we also didn’t offer enough excitement on the poly front for a reality TV show. Most of the excitement in our lives comes from the fact that we have had very intense life experiences and continue to live life on the edge. The fact that we’re a triad with a part-time child and other lovers and partners living in a community with other poly people offers very little excitement due to our lack of drama.

    • Jane Doe
      July 22, 2012

      Annika,

      “How many *normal* poly families would be willing to participate in a reality TV show?” You took the words right out of my mouth. I just finished a post: Do You Want to Be on Season 2 Polyamory Married and Dating? http://wp.me/p2sDTP-fc

      I think you nailed it by implying that poly families aren’t willing to put themselves out there. But, I think poly is interesting enough without the drama. (Sister Wives comes to mind) The reason I looked foward to Show’s more is because it’s poly without religious condition.

      Do you blog?!? Reading about your casting experiences would be a great read if you’re willing to share. Or, if you’re up for an interview, please contact me: authorjanedoeblog@gmail.com

      • Jessica
        July 23, 2012

        See my comment on your next post. The activism nonprofit that I am a part of (Modern Poly / @modernpoly / http://www.modernpoly.com) is working on developing a low-impact way for members of the community to explain what it means to be polyamorous -to them- and to come out in whatever level they feel most comfortable (photographs, whether or not their name/location is disclosed, etc.)

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