A Hopeful View
You know how all the innovative, beautifully progressive-for-its-time art of 30 years ago is deeply cringey to rewatch now, if also sometimes nostalgic and full of Feelings? The portrayal of gay folks, or trans folks, or of sexually liberated women, or of fat people, is horrifying in hindsight but at the time was “wow they actually have some of these and they’re humans, that’s great.”
That’s what anything we like about polyamorous relationships that comes out now is going to be in even ten years, because of the acceleration of progress. That’s what’s happening to innovative work from just a few years ago. (I practice polyamory entirely differently than I did 8 years ago, and consensual nonmonogamy as a larger category WILDLY differently than I did when I started nearly 14 years ago, and not in a lovely, linear growth way - in a “well there were these trends and I’ve followed many of them” way, as well. So, I might cringe a little at myself if someone had it all on film.) While some things that represent(ed) our community have done so badly for shock and awe and tabloid titillation; others have actually meant very well and just… get it wrong or get it narrowly right or get it “how they think it can be understood” at that moment. Is it great? Maybe not. Or maybe it is, because it opens a door for gradually more and more nuanced stories, and more and more stories we get to write ourselves.
Those are the ones that are going to actually be what we want. Not what some monogamous writer’s room imagines a unicorn-hunting couple’s life must be like; not what a tabloid editor thinks is understandable to the broadest possible audience; but stories we tell about ourselves that are compelling enough that someone thinks folks will want to hear them. Will it take another decade? At least, probably. Is it worth waiting for? Again, probably. I’ve got hope for it.
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