Well, whaddya know? Another article – this time in The Guardian – telling us how perfectly normal and mainstream polyamory is (thanks to my research assistant for pointing me towards it. No, not that one. Nor the other one. This one is, erm, heavier.)
How movies brought polyamory into the mainstream
Why, it’s so mainstream you get a free extra partner with every third box of washing powder!
Non-monogamous relationships used to be portrayed as disastrous in film.
Thank goodness for audiences’ ability to suspend belief, eh?
Last week, a very different period drama hit cinemas. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women concerns a real-life love story between a professor and his academic wife – and their teaching student, Olive. From the late 1920s onwards, they begin sharing a workplace, a bed, a home and eventually a family.
Angela Robinson’s biopic of the creator of Wonder Woman, American psychologist William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), may be the most positive depiction of polyamory – the state of being in love with more than one person – in mainstream film to date. It posits that the comic-book superheroine was inspired by a happy, long-term union between the feminist Marston, his brilliant, acerbic wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and bright young student Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), as well as their dalliances with S&M, a theme that worked its way into the comics. Despite the controversy the latter caused at the time, it is an accessible, occasionally moving film that treats the three-way relationship much like a typical movie coupling. This makes it decidedly atypical in the history of cinema.
Now I’ve had a brief look at the story behind this chap and his two lovers and unless what I could find online has been sanitised, it seems the three of them made a proper go of it. Well, good for them. I’ve never said polyamory can’t work, I’ve just said that it is very unusual and most examples I’ve heard of are based mainly in sex/shagging around and end in disaster after a very short time. In fact, I think it’s telling that in order to make a film about a polyamorous relationship that didn’t end in disaster they’ve had to go all the way back to 1930 to find an example of one. If this was so mainstream one would have thought they’d have used a more modern example – or not bothered to make a film of it at all.
Also, none of the accounts I have read of this particular case indicated there was any sex going on outside the trio, i.e. it was a locked-down version of polyamory. Most other accounts involved one or more of the partner being free to go off and have sex with someone else, provided the ground rules are followed (and they’re often not), which isn’t quite the same thing. The relationship depicted in this film seems to differ from contemporary accounts of polyamory by virtue of it not, at least on the surface, being centred wholly around sex and shagging around.
This line in the article amuses me somewhat:
It posits that the comic-book superheroine was inspired by a happy, long-term union between the feminist Marston, his brilliant, acerbic wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and bright young student Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), as well as their dalliances with S&M, a theme that worked its way into the comics.
An alpha-male with a wife and a mistress who are into threesomes and S&M is a feminist, is he? Wikipedia goes further:
Marston had 2 children each with both his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston and his live-in mistress Olive Byrne. Elizabeth supported the family financially while Byrne stayed home to take care of all four children. Both Olive and Elizabeth “embodied the feminism of the day.”
Now I have no reason to think this Marston chap was a bad ‘un, and his women appear to be happy with the arrangement so good for all three of them. But two women agreeing to be part of a harem is an embodiment of feminism? Are the multiple wives of Mormons feminists too?
In my previous post I wrote about how modern-day feminists seem happy to let all sorts of weirdos and scumbags into their circles provided they are on-message with the latest progressive pronouncements. We can add to that a bizarre habit of calling anyone a feminist if their lifestyle meets with their approval. No wonder so many of them come across as barking mad.