Love, Self

No, Your Sh*tty Open Marriage Has Nothing To Do With Feminism

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Jason Sudeikis and Christina Applegate from Hall Pass


This article, What Open Marriage Taught One Man About Feminism, isn't what you’d expect. The author of the piece clearly thinks that he's a very open-minded man for allowing his wife to sleep with other men. He claims that he isn't oppressing her sexually, like most husbands do to their wives. Except most husbands don't "sexually oppress" their wives at all, so it's really unclear what he's trying to say here. 

He is also the furthest thing from a feminist ever.

Before I get started, I want to say that I don't think there's anything wrong with the idea of open relationships. If two people choose to have that sort of lifestyle, it doesn't affect me and I have no reason to care. As long as both people are happy, then why shouldn't they do what they want?

My problem with this particular piece is the fact that it isn't feminist at all, no matter how much it pretends to be. While I was reading this article, I was struck by how often this guy made it seem like he was letting his wife do something. Even though he was letting her do what she wanted to do, he still, at least in his own mind, maintained control over her — which is the very thing he was speaking out against so adamantly and so proudly.

I'm currently in a long-term monogamous relationship. I don't forbid my girlfriend from sleeping with other people, she just doesn't do it because she doesn't want to. I'm not in charge of her, just like she's not in charge of me. That's what makes it mean something. In our relationship, we're on equal footing. Not because I'm a feminist (even though I am, by its definition of gender equality), but because we love each other.

I'm not trying to say that people in open relationships don't love each other, but this guy clearly has some issues.

It's simply not a feminist issue. In a relationship, both people are supposed to be on equal footing. If one person thinks they are allowing the other one to do something, then there clearly isn't equal footing, at least in one person's mind, and that isn't a healthy power dynamic.

The best example of this inequality in their relationship is noted in the article. When his wife falls asleep at a man's house after being intimate with him, the writer of the article spends the night freaking out. When she texts him the next morning to explain she fell asleep, he scolds her. That's not how it works, buddy. That's how my parents used to treat me back when I was still living with them at 18. Who are you to scold her? So what if she fell asleep at someone's house?

You didn't set her free, you just adjusted the length of leash you keep her on.

Of course, this is all aside from the fact that literally none of his arguments have anything to do with feminism or gender equality. He wants to be a hero for "letting" his wife have sex with other people. That's a fine thing to do, but don't act like you're closing the wage gap, ending genital mutilation, proliferating women's suffrage or even just curbing manspreading.

You're just mourning your monogamy (which manifests in scolding your wife for staying out) and looking for something to tie it to so you feel special again.