Polygamy in Indonesia

Chiron

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Recently, Vice Indonesia covered the sensitive topic of polygamy. I have to say the reporter did a pretty good job on this piece, however it's obvious she does not agree with the practice. In fact, they're saying that 86% of Muslim Indonesians oppose polygamy. The video focuses on a group calling themselves the: "Indonesian Society of Ideal Families" who are actively trying to change the perception of polygamy.

In short, the group proposes that men are designed to be attracted to more than one women, and that Islam has provided a solution through polygamy. In fact, women who participate and are patient with the incumbent jealous feelings are automatically rewarded with heaven.

My thoughts on this very interesting video, is that it seems to be exclusive to men belonging to the Islamic faith only. Women cannot have more than one husband, or so they imply. I really don't believe there's a non-Muslim woman would ever tolerate such an idea, but if it's legal for one group then it should be legal for another. However, I would imagine this is only legally allowed for those practicing Islam. As a side note, the reporter says that if she can have more than one husband she's in. In any case, here is the video:

 
Think of the challenge of which town/city to live in then :hand:.....maybe he was able to marry women from one area........think of the multiple in-laws to deal with :hand:..........I think one is all I can handle.:smile:
 
Think of the challenge of which town/city to live in then :hand:.....maybe he was able to marry women from one area........think of the multiple in-laws to deal with :hand:..........I think one is all I can handle.:smile:

There's probably a lot more going on than the complicated family logistics. The main protagonist in the Vice clip, tries to show that he's got everything figured out. They get together with all the kids, see the in-laws, etc. What's probably making this all possible is money, and the power it has to manipulate things. In-laws get a house to live in, bills get paid, and life is good. As the younger wife mentioned, her dad told her to go through the process. She also says that she never expected this would be her life. That said, neither of these wives look very happy (at least from my western viewpoint). Psychologically, I sense there may be depression, stress, and some level of fear of not conforming. They seem to be going through the motions making the best of the situation, taking care of the kids, and just accepting their fate.
 
You are way too smart for me Chiron. You have some depth to your analysis. From my Western perspective he may have his thumb up but it is more a sign asking for help and pointing heavenwards as an earthly expectation. He is hoping he will die soon to escape the situation.:smile:

But on the other hand it can mean many and complicated things, including a possible distortion of their religion, abuse of power, money and status within a minority of the religion. As some sects have done in Christianity with multiple wives. A different religion and culture but both with multiple wives practicing polygamy.
 
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I really don't believe there's a non-Muslim woman would ever tolerate such an idea, but if it's legal for one group then it should be legal for another.

Check out polyamory. In Portland, OR I have lots of friends subscribing to this lifestyle. Both males and females.
 
The most telling part of the interviews was that the first wife approved of a second marriage... after arguing about it for many years!
 
Check out polyamory. In Portland, OR I have lots of friends subscribing to this lifestyle. Both males and females.

Actually I have heard about polyamory, and have pretty good idea about the social scene in Portland and surrounding areas. I also have friends and family in that region, and most notable is a free spirited lady I worked with living in a yurt alongside a river outside the city. Lots of interesting and colorful stories...

I suppose what I probably should have said is: "I don't believe there are many Indonesians from other religions or walks of life that would ever tolerate such an idea."
 
is that it seems to be exclusive to men belonging to the Islamic faith only.

I thought it was their duty? If a man returns from war and obviously some husbands do not. Then the surviving one's take on the widow(s) of their fallen comrades to support them.

Also an outward sign of wealth as it costs money?

No different from say the Thai practise of having a Mia Noi or "minor wife" aka mistress. The Mia Yai or official wife is to be placed on a pedestal and worshipped while the Mia Noi is like an amulet one wears to show off when out and about. Off course in the Thai case they are never supposed to meet!
 
From my vague understanding from my decades in Dubai, it all started from the Bedouins in the desert, who if the husband / man died, the woman had no form of support, so another man was allowed to marry her so that she could be taken care of, but only if that man was able to (i.e "financially")
The idea is not for the man to have lots of different partners. The idea is that a wealthy man could be able to support another woman in the tribe who had no means of support.
 
Of course Chinese Emperors had concubines, harems, etc etc, USA has pimps, Asia has Mamasan, it has all got twisted a bit.

Jakarta has BATS
lol
 
From my vague understanding from my decades in Dubai, it all started from the Bedouins in the desert, who if the husband / man died, the woman had no form of support, so another man was allowed to marry her so that she could be taken care of, but only if that man was able to (i.e "financially")

This echoes my understanding of returning from war etc..
 
So I gather Polygamy has an altruistic genesis story or two, cooked up to justify present day lust and pride. Perhaps the practice is not so bad in that it does not encompass all seven of the deadly sins.

The Western serial polygamy regime cannot itself be held up as a shining beacon on a hill, although it does seem to be slowly becoming more egalitarian gender-wise.
 
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Remember this one? It is his real voice...


The parodi that appeared afterwards were rather funny.
 
Not a bad video. I like vice for some of the style and topics. I give them respect for some of the challenging areas that they will report on. They are extremely biased though. Even if I agree with some of the points of view, I find the glaring bias distracting.


For me, one of the most telling parts of the story was the comment when the reporter pointed out this was possible because of his wealth.

This is not an exclusive cultural phenomenon to Indonesia or Islam. Men of wealth or power have had second wives or paramours through most of history. This was culturally acceptable through most of southeast Asia and still is in many countries. The difference is how well the women and these second families are treated culturally. Daniel50 already linked to articles in Bali. In Malaysia it is also legal. Vocalneal pointed out the practice in Thailand. In the Philippines it is the second wife. Vietnam has different terms for each wife and her status. For most other SEA cultures, the first wife is the primary wife and all other wives have lower status. At least in principle, Islam brought some protections for the women. They have to approve and the rule is they must be treated equally. In practice, I know it is still not fair.


The upside of polygamy under Islam is that it gives rights and benefits to children born from the paramour. Traditionally, most Indonesian and other Asian cultures treat children born out of wedlock, especially to an already married man, pretty shitty. The mothers are treated as whores and the children bastards. They had very little rights to claim property or care from the father. Only recently did Indonesia even begin to recognize fathers may have to support a bastard child. In practice, it is still very unfair in this aspect.
 
I'm not a big fan of polygamy. Societies in which polygamy are prevalent tend to skew marriage toward wealthy, older men. Young men have fewer marriage prospects. In a country like Indonesia where such a large slice of the female population works as migrant labor, that means even fewer marriageable women. Whether or not this has a deleterious effect on society is up for debate.

Still, I cannot in good conscience forbid the activities of consenting adults. If it makes them happy to have a plural marriage, let 'em. It's really none of my, or anyone's, business if they have more than one wife or if a wife has more than one husband.

As far as Islam and polygamy, a few posters have already mentioned the idealized Islamic view of polygamy being reserved for widows who cannot support themselves. In practice, I doubt it has been applied this way in the vast majority of cases. My personal belief is that Muslims should work toward an understanding of rejecting polygamy as anachronistic and unnecessary.

As my wife famously quipped to me when I jokingly asked if I could get a second wife, "sure you can have as many wives as you want... as long as I'm not one of them."
 
I'm not a big fan of polygamy....Still, I cannot in good conscience forbid the activities of consenting adults. If it makes them happy to have a plural marriage, let 'em. It's really none of my, or anyone's, business if they have more than one wife or if a wife has more than one husband....

The myth of the happy slave, polygamist corollary.
 
The myth of the happy slave, polygamist corollary.
That more or less sums up my overall opinion as well.

These may be "consenting adults", but I don't think the situation these two women find themselves in, is something they wished for. It's certainly something the husband wishes for - that's fairly obvious. What makes this situation intriguing to me, is how an out-of-context religious framework is wrapped around the whole process to not only legitimize the actions, but as a tool to manipulate these somewhat timid, and not-so-willing young ladies.

At the end of the day, it's worthwhile to understand how this segment of the population thinks. If I'm going to live in Indonesia, it stands to reason that I may meet someone who lives this lifestyle some day. It's good to know about the religious context, and the uniquely Indonesian cultural nuances.
 
I'm not a big fan of polygamy. Societies in which polygamy are prevalent tend to skew marriage toward wealthy, older men. Young men have fewer marriage prospects. In a country like Indonesia where such a large slice of the female population works as migrant labor, that means even fewer marriageable women. Whether or not this has a deleterious effect on society is up for debate.

Still, I cannot in good conscience forbid the activities of consenting adults. If it makes them happy to have a plural marriage, let 'em. It's really none of my, or anyone's, business if they have more than one wife or if a wife has more than one husband.

As far as Islam and polygamy, a few posters have already mentioned the idealized Islamic view of polygamy being reserved for widows who cannot support themselves. In practice, I doubt it has been applied this way in the vast majority of cases. My personal belief is that Muslims should work toward an understanding of rejecting polygamy as anachronistic and unnecessary.

As my wife famously quipped to me when I jokingly asked if I could get a second wife, "sure you can have as many wives as you want... as long as I'm not one of them."

I read an article in the economist about the effects polygamy has on a nation and this quote really stuck in my mind:
"Polygamy nearly always means rich men taking multiple wives. And if the top 10% of men marry four women each, then the bottom 30% cannot marry at all"

The examples in the article are not similar to Indonesia at all (no men here have 100 wives and we are nowhere near the to 10% of men having 4 wives thankfully) but its an interesting read:
https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/03/19/why-polygamy-breeds-civil-war
 

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