‘Sister Wives’ Might Highlight the Imbalance of Power in Polygamous Relationships

Kody Brown once insisted that he, and his family, signed up for their television show, Sister Wives, to show the world all of the good that comes from polygamy. The controversial practice of one man spiritually marrying multiple women has been a hot button issue for decades, and while the Browns insist their life is a happy one, family followers note that the show may be doing more harm to the Browns’ mission than good. In fact, the show might actually highlight the most prominent issues within the practice, many of which are cited by opponents of the alternative lifestyle.

Polygamy may cause an imbalance of power, claim experts

The concept of polygamy is pretty controversial. Those within religions that promote the practice argue that consenting adults should be able to do whatever they wish, while opponents of the practice suggest that the definition of consenting adults is a bit difficult to define.

Several women who have escaped polygamy have gone on to blow the whistle about the abuse and manipulation that they say happens inside family’s that practice polygamy. Many have even claimed that they have been manipulated and threatened into remaining in their marriages, long after they wished to leave.

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Posted by Kristyn Decker on Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Kristyn Decker, who left polygamy several years ago, is a staunch opponent of the practice. Decker has gone on to write a memoir about her years inside polygamy, and she doesn’t pull any punches. Decker, who happens to have a familial tie to the Brown family, has suggested that polygamy is inherently abusive. Decker, speaking to Radar Online, went as far as to suggest the movement was a cult. She is the aunt of Kody’s third wife, Christine Brown.

Kody Brown seems to have all the power in his marriages

While no one really wants to think about relationships in terms of who has the most power, most fans can’t help but notice that, when it comes to the Brown family, Kody seems to be holding all the cards. Fans were dismayed when Kody claimed he would divorce his fourth and legal wife, Robyn Brown, if she didn’t agree to purchase a property with him. Robyn wished to rent another home until the family made a decision regarding building on the Coyote Pass property they bought ahead of moving to Flagstaff.

The moment, which, in a monogamous relationship, would have seemed like a sign that something was terribly wrong, registered as utterly normal to Robyn and Kody. For fans who aren’t in polygamist families, it highlighted the severe imbalance of power that clearly exists. Kody can, at any time, dissolve a legal partnership with Robyn because he, in every sense, has two other wives who would be more than willing to fill that space. At the same time, Kody knows that Robyn is unlikely to leave the family because, according to their religious beliefs, remaining in a polygamist relationship is a requirement for getting into heaven, whether you are the legal wife or not.

A hierarchy seems to extend past Kody, too. Robyn, who has primarily been seen as the favorite wife, seems to have more power than the women who, while in the family longer, are not Kody’s legal wife. Fans have also noted that Kody tends to pit his wive’s against one another in an attempt to get his way. Allegedly, the manipulation tactic is not all that uncommon inside polygamist families, according to CBS News.