Thu | Aug 16, 2018

Give us more husbands

Published:Monday | June 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Jennifer Mamby Alexander

In contradiction to the Islamic Council's suggestion that polygamy can solve the family crisis in Jamaica (published in The Gleaner, June 4, 2015), and with monogamy failing so miserably, my question then is, Why shouldn't a good woman have more than one good husband?

In Jamaica, where illegal and unofficial polygamy is practised in separate households and one man can father 25 or more children whom he cannot and does not support, polygyny, or having multiple female partners, is not the best choice if it is only based on sexual freedom. However, if polygamy is practised because men have traditionally had the resources to support several wives and many children, it should work equally well for women who have resources capable of supporting many husbands and their children.

So why not polyandry, a form of polygamy where a woman can afford to take on to herself two or more good husbands at a time? Polyandry works well in societies where there is extreme gender or educational imbalances between women and men. The Jamaican society today is sustained by women who have equalled and at times surpassed their male counterparts socially and academically, and many are already successfully supporting their own households with good results.




I put forward that if a successful woman is married to five husbands, she is capable, over a two-year period, of producing only two children who stay within their means and limit national population growth. These children are likely to be well educated and nurtured and not become a burden on the system.

She may also limit the number of children she has, still function sexually and otherwise, while being pampered by five husbands, each with a schedule to maintain the household and be good fathers to the children.

Conversely, a man-dominated polygamous relationship with five wives is capable of producing 10 children over the same two-year period in a crowded household where children, especially boys, struggle to be nurtured and get ahead. Jamaica's poor economy is already burdened with an overpopulation of street children who are poorly educated and who are raised in overcrowded homes starved for the nurturing of a father figure.

In Tibet, the Mustang population located in the northwest of Nepal, polyandry is practised. One aspect of polyandry in that country occurs when brothers marry one woman and by doing so they establish family and financial security, retaining the entirety of family land holding through generations. Why shouldn't it work here?

In addition, polyandry offers a shared nurture of a child by multiple fathers and a calm, rested, happy mother who is 100% pampered by the men who adore her and whom she loves. Let's face it: There are repeated complaints from women in monogamous relationships that they are fatigued by heavy housework for which they get little support, so here is a solution. She does not have to cook, wash, iron, clean or do the shopping and now has the strength and capacity to cater to more than one man within a 24- or 48-hour period without any fatigue or 'the headache excuse'; whereas in polygyny, a man who does not cook, clean, wash or do the shopping cannot perform the same quality husbandry services daily, even with performance-enhancement drugs and a whip.

So with the failure of monogamy, the Islamic Council is an advocate for polygamy, and many men are dreaming about it becoming official. Based on the success and dominance of women in our society, as good mothers, supportive and capable partners, we should now be considering laws to promote heterosexual, one-wife, many-husband marriages above any other types of marriage or sexual relationship.

As it stands now, isn't it true that if women did not go home one night, the world would come to a standstill?

Do I hear an amen, ladies, for polyandry?

- Jennifer Mamby Alexander is a medical doctor. Email feedback to