Polygamy is just another way of life?

By By Libby Bailey

By Libby Bailey

It has arrived-the dreaded post-graduate question asked by every friend, relative or casual acquaintance who happens to get wind of my future’s uncertainty: “So what are you going to do now?”

Well, I have evaluated my options and religiously attended the university’s career fairs in search of a provisional answer to satisfy the masses. Men and women in business suits and nametags have handed me an array of pamphlets suggesting options like The Peace Corps, graduate school and corporate America. However, I think there may be one more promising offer that is often forgotten, despite the fact that it has been a historical trade in many of our families for a number of years.

This civic-minded, educated and entrepreneurial group is biannually missing from tabling in the Union Ballroom. If they were there, they would not be wearing suits, pumps and loafers as one would come to expect, but rather bonnets, lace-up leather boots and name tags reading “Sister-Wife.”

Although polygamy is not necessarily classified as a career, it is a progressive option for many 22-year-old females like me. I am single, goal- and career-orientated and have a desire to start a family of my own someday. Yet the competitive-and often sexist-nature of today’s job market, combined with my plight for economic stability, will most likely put me in a position that makes me choose between a career and domestic care-giving. If I somehow manage to escape this dichotomous choice and juggle both, I will most likely still be penalized economically for my decision.

Polygamy, as we all know, is currently a hotly debated topic because of the theatrics of “Big Love” and the Warren Jeffs pursuit, but it’s not entirely deserving of its unflattering contemporary reputation. In fact, it might be one of the more promising paths towards women’s liberation.

I in no way condone the types of alleged abuse that male polygamists like Jeffs practice, but I do see the beneficial attributes that polygamy-when practiced by consenting adults who respect one another and maintain a non-violent and healthy lifestyle-can offer to enable women to have a more empowered role in the public and private spheres.

Companies like UPS have given me many pamphlets describing their all-too-attractive benefits (which they fondly refer to as “bennies,” if anyone would like to sound like they are in with the men and women in brown), which include tuition reimbursement, health care and stock options.

However, moving to Centennial Park, Ariz., marrying a polygamist and becoming a “sister-wife” also has its “bennies.”

Nowhere in the UPS pamphlet did it ensure me of automatic childcare, nor did it describe the ways it would allow me to continue with higher education and still embrace and promote the option of having a family. Polygamy does.

In fact, many polygamist societies encourage their “sister-wives” to get their master’s or doctorate degrees, while the rest of the family willingly accommodates for the children, other sister wives and husband. These polygamist societies strive to educate their women through higher-learning degrees to better educate their children, and thus enhance the good of the community. Is that civic-minded enough for you?

Betty Freidan would most likely spit upon my gender studies degree or the feminist card I pull out every now and again, but I think I might pack up and move to the desert with the polygamists.

People, I think they have it down. If they want me to get a master’s, encourage me to better my community through educating children, financially support me and allow me to have a family, then I think that grad school, The Peace Corps and corporate America can wait.

And perhaps once I have established myself as Sister-Wife Libby, I can take my message of feminism to the Union Ballroom, where I can set up camp next to UPS, throw a humble table cloth upon a desk, lace up my bonnet and leather boots, spread out my pamphlets and provide other prospective U graduates with the same unconventional options polygamy potentially provided me.