Is the practice of polygamy inherently sexist or abusive? Take a long look at this photograph of Warren Jeffs' concubines and put it to the simple test one noted American feminist recently suggested.
With that simple test taken, now I invite you to review a piece I wrote in February of 2009. It angered some and offended others. I still stand by it, though.
An Open Letter to My "Sister" Feminists
Dear American Feminists,
Although I have contacted numerous national feminist organizations, which I will not attempt to embarrass by naming here- because I would still like to see you step up to the plate, about the gross abuses occurring to women and children living in polygamy, in the American west, none of you has responded, not one. You have ignored me.
To my "sisters" on the East and West Coasts, I have concluded you must not think I am a real woman or a real feminist. I suppose, I've failed to attend Vassar, Brown, Berkley, or NYU, and abort a baby or two along the way to protect my academic career and prove I'm worthy of being considered a real woman.
To my "sisters" in Atlanta, who are diligently working to ensure that road signs are not sexist, by spearheading a campaign to change them from "MEN AT WORK" to "WORKERS AHEAD", all I can say is, bless your hearts.
It is to the rest of America's women, who may not fall into one of those groups, I now appeal. We have a problem here in Texas, with a sex cult run by Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints leader, Warren Steed Jeffs.
We have hundreds of eyewitness testimonies from men, women, and children who have left, been abandoned, abused, or exiled from polygamy in the states of Utah and Arizona, where the FLDS residents of the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas came from. We now have evidence of sexual abuse perpetrated against young girls, Texas citizens, on Texas soil.
Our other "sisters" continued silence indicates they are indeed flirting with the trendy, liberal idea of allowing legalized polygamy in America, as another valid alternative lifestyle choice. In doing so, they are allowing their sophomoric, fantastical, and unrealistic ideals about political correctness and liberal tolerance to endanger every woman in America.
If they go along with legalizing polygamy as a valid alternative lifestyle choice, here, based on my four-year investigation of the FLDS in Mohave County, Arizona, is what you can look forward to as an American woman:
- Your husband can come home one day and tell you that he has taken a new wife or three...
- You will now have to compete for his time attention and affection, daily, or divorce him.
- You will now share the financial resources of your family with the other woman or women, and any children who come along.
- The more that come along, the less there is for your children, or their futures.
- If you leave, you are no longer entitled to half of everything in your marriage. Now you get one third, or depending on the number of concubines in the marriage, one sixteenth, or one hundredth?
- Muslim American men, now free to build American harems, pressure masses of Muslim American women to wear the burqa.
- Other costumes, uniforms, or "coverings", such as long prairie dresses emerge from Middle America, as men claim "religious inspiration" to pressure their concubines to dress "appropriately".
- These same masses of women will be secluded, and as they give birth to more children, their access to communication with the outside world and education cut off.
- Emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual, and physical abuse will thrive in environments where one man is now the focus of the complete attention of multiple women.
- When a polygamist man dies, and his multiple unions recognized as legitimate marriages, each wife is now entitled to receive a check from Social Security.
- Each now legally legitimate child also gets Social Security benefits.
- Thousands of women will find themselves thrust into abject poverty, because their husband is unable to support all of his concubines and children equally.
- Thousands more will be forced to accept government assistance for food and medical care, for the same reason. Their family structure is legitimate in the eyes of the law, so they will qualify for multiple government assistance programs for the poor.
- Birth rates among polygamist marriages will skyrocket, more children = more benefits.
- Infant mortality and child death rates among polygamists families will soar – see the Colorado City, Arizona death rates.
- Accidental child death rates among polygamist's families will increase – see the Colorado City, Arizona death rates..
- The reporting of domestic violence shrinks to zero in entire communities, for decades at a time – see the Colorado City, Arizona history of zero prosecutions for domestic violence in over a decade.
- Competition to the older, more powerful men, underage boys and young men driven from their communities, with no education or job skills, become a burden on law enforcement and social services in neighboring, non-polygamist communities where they are abandoned - see the Colorado City, Arizona history of driving 400 boys out of their town.
- Trained from birth to expect assignment in marriage, complete submission to patriarchal religious authority, and acceptance of the "blessing" of an early marriage, millions of bright American girls, along with their potential talents and contributions to society, will be lost for generations.
We face that chilling future if polygamy remains either unchecked or legalized in America.
These sorts of things, however, are apparently unimportant to the average American Feminist.
Stay up there in your classrooms, drum circles and symposiums, where you can drone on forever about the suffering and ignorance of the typical American housewife, I mean homemaker. My grammar check doesn't seem to like the word housewife and has now twice suggested homemaker, as an appropriate gender-neutral job title.
You laugh when I support a Marriage Amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman. I'm not an intellectual, I'm a Southern conservative, so how can I know anything about the world?
On Gays and lesbians: Come let us reason together. Like Sara Palin, I am not against civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, the key word being couples. They deserve, when they are in loving, committed, stable, and monogamous relationships to enjoy the tax, ownership, inheritance and medical power of attorney benefits, or the same property/custody/relationship termination headaches of heterosexuals. Kinky Friedman is right, "Homosexuals should be free to be as miserable as the rest of us".
Go play with your words. I've got dozens of unexplained dead children, sexually abused little girls, abandoned little boys and abused women to think about. You know, the same ones that child advocates and anti-polygamy activist in Utah and Arizona have been begging for your help with, for years now? I am a Texan and a Southerner. I am a woman who believes in living in a free country, where I have rights equal with men.
Nobody is going to come down here to Texas and take away my right to be my husband's only living equal. I know many other people, straight, and gay, across America that feel the same way about protecting women and children from the cultural disaster of polygamy.
If we have to fight this alone down here, we will. Y'all just hide and watch how real Southern sisters take care of each other.
Don't, however, expect to own the words feminist or feminism when we get done, especially if you threw all your party invitations away.
P.S. Confidential to Phylis Chesler and Noni Darwish:Help!