I’ve read a few things about the difference between equality and fairness in poly relationships (i.e. Couple privilage and Rewriting The Rules), especially to do with non-primary partners. Mostly it’s been about giving partners the chance to decide what they want rather than automatically trying to split what you have with your primary (or primaries) and give everyone an equal share. While I completely agree with all of this, a few things popped in to my head:
Much like socialism or communism, I think that trying to give the same to all will not lead to everyone being happier. Not only that, but everyone is different, so people need and want different things and are capable of giving different things to their relationships. Like Jack Sprat and his wife, these differences may actually build a stronger relationship. Deal with it.
I’m not at all sure that we as a community are not shooting ourselves in the foot by trying to re-purpose “fairness” to mean this instead of “equality”. Why? Because when we speak of equality in Western society at least, we are talking about giving people equal opportunities, but without forcing everyone in to a single mould or box. Feminists don’t generally fight for “positive” discrimination for instance.
Wouldn’t it be better for us as a community to actively use “equality” the way that it is generally used in the world at large rather than trying to re-define it and come up with a new, more specific term for it?
I would certainly begin tearing my hair out if we made it more difficult for everyone to understand what we’re talking about rather than easier. I’ve seen just how easy a target such things are in the battle between religious fundamentalists and secular scientists. Perhaps it would be a good idea not to give such people an easy target to go for as the word “theory“…