Beware : This is not an opinion piece , folks. Don’t try to find my opinion here, because I don’t have one.
So let’s go now…
Nowadays, from a Western perspective, everyone seems to be fine with same sex-marriage and transexual rights but polygamy is still considered a degrading savagery imposed on women. It is like a line that even the most reckless freedom fighters are not allowed to cross. So how come this is still a thing in good ‘ole Africa? Or is that continent doomed to fail and never evolve?
Well, three things actually make it hard for polygamy to actually disappear in Africa:
1. Conservative views :
I remember an African woman when I was living in Ottawa who claimed she told a Canadian that she preferred her “African polygamy” to his “western homosexuality”. Sounds pretty homophobic right? But then, If you actually prefer your “western homosexuality” to her “African polygamy”, doesn’t it make you a polygamophobic? So really, who isn’t conservative here? The woman who thinks her customs are OK but not yours. Or you who thinks yours are OK but not hers? Food for thought, right?
2. Religion? Maybe?
“And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].”
Quran, Surah An-Nisa (The Women)
This surah is probably the number one reason why polygamy is still a big thing in Islamic African cultures. And who are you to contradict God? But it is actually one of the most-debated surahs by modern muslims. And also the main reason why many muslims actually reject polygamy by saying that since there is no way a man can be just between his women, the safest way to not commit a great sin would be to only marry one woman.
3. Sexual needs? Anyone?
According to many African men, when their women age, they are constantly tired, have sagging breasts, forget their fashion sense, smell like onion and garlic, become less interested in sex, and so on and so on. Basically they are asking to be cheated on. But since cheating is an highly reprimandable act, this totally justifies polygamy! But there are actually two weaknesses in this argument. First, being a polygamist does NOT mean a man won’t cheat on all of his wives. It actually happens pretty often. And yes, cheating on one’s wives includes having sexual intercourse with another woman he wants to marry. This is rightfully called fornication and is considered the second worst sin of Islam after murder! And secondly, the new wives will also become constantly tired, have sagging breasts, forget their fashion sense, smell like onion and garlic, become less interested in sex, and so on and so on. So what’s the point, really?