Marginalization of young polys

CielDuMatin

New member
A comment was made in another thread that I really think deserves some sort of discussion.

The statement was made that young polys are being marginalized, and that new communities (the TNG networks, http://www.cpn-tng.org/wiki/ ) are being formed to cater to this age group.

So I guess the question is - how do people feel that young polys are being marginalised in the general poly community? What actions are being taken or ignored that makes them feel excluded and not able to be a part of the larger community?

My preference would be to make sure that polys of all ages are included in the general community and understanding what the issues are might help everyone become more aware and inclusive. I think we can all learn from this.

So if you are in the demographic (18-35 years old) could you talk a little about whether you feel marginalized in the general community and, if so, how?
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Well I fit the demographic for another month or so.
To be honest I haven't noticed any great difference for me.
BUT I did note that no one in our JUST STARTED Alaska Polyamory Group meeting was under 33 (GG). He was the youngest. There were two ladies (both of whom are close to me) his age, and everyone else was older than me.

Something I was contemplating was that there is a HUGE supportive group around here for "gay/lesbian/bi" "kids"(ie 16-25ish). I've seen MANY more in this age group "coming out" in recent years. Many of these also identify as poly... so I wonder if they are just not participating so much in the poly groups because they feel so connected already in their age group with other gay/lesbian/bi friends?
I don't have a clue, just observing what's going on around me and wondering. :)

Glad you brought it up! Look forward to reading more about it!!
 

CielDuMatin

New member
Well I fit the demographic for another month or so.
To be honest I haven't noticed any great difference for me.
BUT I did note that no one in our JUST STARTED Alaska Polyamory Group meeting was under 33 (GG). He was the youngest. There were two ladies (both of whom are close to me) his age, and everyone else was older than me.
We have a lot of 30-somethings in our group, and several 20-somethings. They seem to be quite comfortable mixing and I don't sense any divide.

This is why I want to know more about this, so that we don't fall into the trap of biasing things against the younger demographic.
 

GroundedSpirit

New member
Hmmmmmmmm

Ciel,

This thread looks similar to another you started that I was weighing a response on. Because the question and concept is similar, I want to do a 'call out' on this because there's implications threaded through it that concern me greatly.
And maybe it's just me ?
There's some patterns I've observed taking place, over longer periods and most recently (last few years) and I vacillate too much on. There's concerns.
The term "community" now has become the kewl buzzword and now everyone wants to start, support, belong to etc some 'community'. Now initially one might think this is a 'good' thing. Bringing people together. More bonding etc.
But for reasons it's hard to explain right now I just have to call that out because what I have seen - and STILL see - and is evident in the two posts you've recently added is that some of this so called 'community' is bordering on 'clique'-ing !
And what does a 'clique' do ? It's inclusive of the 'in' group - and - per your words - tends to 'marginalize' everyone else.
This is a lesson I learned long, LONG ago - as did many others. And I would have hoped that lesson got passed on in some way that was clear and understandable to those coming behind.
There CAN be advantages in grouping people/things together but those advantages can really only bear fruit if everyone is FULLY aware of the risks and keeps that foremost in their minds. It's kind of like the fire thing - biggest boon to mankind ever, but VERY dangerous in the wrong hands/wrong places.
So when I see such talk and proposals as you've spoken of here, i.e. the Under 35 group of polys and what 'entrance criteria' there should be (the questionnaire you mentioned etc) I just shudder. Think there's any chance of 'marginalizing' anyone else here? Is this a competition or retaliation ? Etc etc YIIKKEEESSSSSSSS
Even if I was in the designated target group - no thanks !

There's only one 'community' that exists. The one that consists of all living things and everything surrounding them supporting them. That's the only 'community' I want to belong to.
But that's just me.
I really don't mean or want that to sound high-handed etc (someone will undoubtedly think so) but we are in the state we are in in this world because of so much divisiveness. One group opposing some other. Attempts at differentiation. It's just dangerous water. Swim carefully............

GS

PS: and there's nothing PERSONAL towards you or anyone else in my comments - only concern for the concept and implementation
 

CielDuMatin

New member
GS,

You bring up some great points and I want to address them (and no, I didn't take then personally at all - they are very valid).

I don't know any of your history, how you grew up or anything, but the idea of someone being "the only one" thinking something is hard - it's too easy to label what you are doing as "wrong" because "everyone else is not doing that". There are some people for whom that is no issue, but many (including me) have struggled with this in the past - is it ok to be the way I am?

Finding others that thought like I did was a huge relief to me, and others have expressed that it was to them as well. The internet has been a huge boon for this - forums (communities) like this one have sprung up, and are found easily and are very successful. Different forums do different things, provide different services, and maybe cater to different audiences with different interests (there is a Yahoo group, for example, that deals with Polyfidelity). I see all of these as really good.

So, that was the background as to why I see online communities as useful.

However, there is a fine line between being welcoming to all poly folk and keeping out the spammers (the ones selling viagra, for example) - that was my question about entry criteria - I was trying to have some discussion as to where that fine line is, or should be. We have debated this in various circles, and I wanted to get a wider sample of opinions on it.

Likewise, I think that it is important to have a tone that is respectful and welcoming to everyone for whom the online community is targeted - a community like this one is for all ages, for example, but a comment was made that younger poly folks feel marginalised. I think the idea of my post is to understand better how they do feel marginalised and to maybe put some corrective actions in place to maybe ameliorate that.

So, in summary, my "proposals" - which weren't actually proposals, they are questions that hopefully can spark a discussion - were to:

* discuss and maybe find the fine line of not being too overbearing on the initial barrier to entry in a community while keeping out the spammers. (the other thread I started)

* discuss how younger poly folk may be feeling marginalised (something that was claimed to be the case in another thread) by "mainstream" (whatever that is) poly society, in an effort to reduce that. (this thread)

I hope this clarifies where I am coming from on this.
 
Last edited:

redsirenn

New member
Hello -
For me it is more related to trying to find a community that you fit well in, and can relate well with on many levels. i.e. listen to similar music, like similar movies, have similar social schedules, taste in clothing, etc. Lots of stuff that is frivolous on the surface, but really does contribute to kinship. In addition to that - talking about the social issues that affect us more than they might those with children, or have survived the vietnam war. :rolleyes:

It adds to the comfort of something that can be very confusing to some. Feeling like you don't fit in at poly meetings can be a hindrance to even going. I know I have felt that way. I'd like to find a group that is more my "style" so to speak.
 

redsirenn

New member
Ciel,

The term "community" now has become the kewl buzzword and now everyone wants to start, support, belong to etc some 'community'. Now initially one might think this is a 'good' thing. Bringing people together. More bonding etc.
But for reasons it's hard to explain right now I just have to call that out because what I have seen - and STILL see - and is evident in the two posts you've recently added is that some of this so called 'community' is bordering on 'clique'-ing !
And what does a 'clique' do ? It's inclusive of the 'in' group - and - per your words - tends to 'marginalize' everyone else.

Um yeah, I completely disagree with the negative tone in this statement.

I think of it more along the lines of how you find your friends and include them in your group. There certainly are traits and characteristics these friends must have, and i hope people do have those standards... I wouldn't be friends with just anybody, and they don't "get in" unless they fit those criteria.

I just want a "community" of like minded individuals that fit different criteria. people I can talk to about issues that affect me more than someone 20 years my senior!

Yes, sometimes the age gap is not important... but is DOES exist. and to ignore that fact and the differences between people is naive. It is OK too see the differences, so long as you understand them and don't criticize them - that you even appreciate them from time to time.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
I knew i was a misfit-but damn!

I spent an hour yesterday having a really deep, introspective (on both sides) and amazing conversation with a 16 year old.

He said something to me that was so precious...
He was pointblank that when he finishes school he's planning to leave, but that when he does he has every intention of keeping in touch with me because I'm so important to him and our friendship means so much to him....

I'm 34 years old, almost exactly 20 years his senior. We listen to the same music too. Obviously-he doens't have 4 kids and I'm not in highschool. But I WAS in highschool and I did struggle with parents fighting and younger siblings etc etc. There is a lot we can talk about and his is a friendship I treasure more than MANY of those who are "my age" because he's just closer to me spiritually... we have a connection.
So many people reach my age and they are jaded, so they hide their inner self, their energy and there is no connecting to the TRUE them no matter how willing you might be.

Yes-I do understand that there are times you just want someone your own age, like making love, I won't be making love to this young man, that age difference is a BIG deal to me in that area-because I want him to experience that with someone as innocent as he is, not someone like me.
BUT-it is important to remember that sometimes the person who can help you most-isn't in "your group", be that age, sexuality, lifestyle, religious, whatever group you identify with, your answer might come from someone who does not identify with that group.
 

lovefromgirl

New member
I guess I'm weird

I'm twenty-three and have been active in the poly community for a year and a half. I don't feel marginalised because of my age. I don't feel threatened by older polys. I know what's healthy for me and what's problematic. If I did not know those things, I would not feel fit to date anyone, much less poly folks.

I appreciate redpepper's concerns for my safety, but I have felt more pressure coming from people my age regarding the things I do with my body. CdM has respected my boundaries from the start, unlike the twentysomethings I have dated. I would put a lot of younger people's vulnerability down to a lack of self-knowledge, and I made sure I learned before I went out and gave it a go.

I don't really see age when I make friends. I find that the human experience isn't so different across generations, and where it does differ, we are better off learning from each other than closing our eyes. If you're legally an adult, I like you better if you behave like one. Mostly, I think in terms of interests, and my interests happen to span different age groups.

Incidentally, I know of veterans and parents who went to school with me. My generation is at war, too. My generation can get pregnant just like any other.

I realise I am something of an anomaly, but I'm a happy anomaly, drat it. :)
 
C

Ceoli

Guest
I've found in issues of marginalization, it's generally more useful to talk to the people who *aren't* at the table rather than the people who who do feel included.

So it might be useful to ask the question, "How can we bring more people to the table to talk about it?"
 

CielDuMatin

New member
I've found in issues of marginalization, it's generally more useful to talk to the people who *aren't* at the table rather than the people who who do feel included.
Good point, Ceoli - I was hoping that this forum had a broad cross-section that different voices could be heard. But you are right - maybe some feel disenfranchised from this forum.

So it might be useful to ask the question, "How can we bring more people to the table to talk about it?"
Good - any ideas on this? You made the comment in the other thread about the marginalization - so presumably you know some who feel that way - maybe you could invite them to this thread? Or maybe gather a summary of their views, if they don't feel comfortable posting, so that we can all get a better understanding of this issue.
 

lovefromgirl

New member
So it might be useful to ask the question, "How can we bring more people to the table to talk about it?"

Generally, I find it useful to flat-out ask. Like this:

Hey, Ceoli. Are you feeling marginalised? If you are, would you be willing to share your experiences with us?
 

quila

New member
I've met a lot of young people who brag about "how mature" they are due to some life circumstances that have forced them to "grow up" fast... And inevitably, I find them to behave much less mature than those who admit to their immaturity.

I used to be a very active member of my city's BDSM "community" and I found exactly the cliquism GS was talking about. They also had an online forum, and I always found that any new people who didn't meet their criteria was ostracised and made to feel like a freak. That's exactly what you don't need when you're coming out of the closet and you already feel like a weirdo.

For the record, that's not the feeling I've gotten here.

As far as the age-marginalization goes, I think that's one of the benefits of the internet. To the extent that people are judged on their maturity, it's for how old they behave, not how old they are physically.

At 27, I'm right in the middle of the 18-35 range, and I don't feel marginalized at all. I don't feel the need for any special treatment. If we young people have any special issues or concerns, I'm sure that an open, welcoming community such as this is perfectly equipped to handle them...
 
C

Ceoli

Guest
Generally, I find it useful to flat-out ask. Like this:

Hey, Ceoli. Are you feeling marginalised? If you are, would you be willing to share your experiences with us?

Nope I'm not, but I have experienced marginalization in the past. But I'm pretty sensitive to issues that may marginalize people, so I tend to try to pay attention and continually ask questions and challenge assumptions that create such marginalization.

I'm not clear exactly what community this thread is aimed at either. If we're talking specifically about this board, that's one thing. If we're talking about poly communities in general, then that's also a rather large question with many aspects to be addressed. Different dynamics exist in different mediums.

Plus, experience has taught me that just asking a marginalized group without doing the groundwork of self-examination often just results in marginalizing that group further. Basically, if a person generally feels uncomfortable or unwelcome in a group, they're not always going to be so forthcoming when just flat out asked what their problem is. (Just to be clear, I'm illustrating a dynamic, not a synopsis of how everyone may or may not react.)

I find that there must be steps made to show that a group is seriously looking to address the issues before people feel that their marginalized views will be listened to.
 
C

Ceoli

Guest
So when I see such talk and proposals as you've spoken of here, i.e. the Under 35 group of polys and what 'entrance criteria' there should be (the questionnaire you mentioned etc) I just shudder. Think there's any chance of 'marginalizing' anyone else here? Is this a competition or retaliation ? Etc etc YIIKKEEESSSSSSSS
Even if I was in the designated target group - no thanks !

JUST TO BE CLEAR AGAIN, since people seem to be forming opinions about a particular group's policies without the actual information about what the group's policies are, this is a group that is AIMED at 18-35 year olds, BUT OPEN TO ALL WHO ARE OVER 18. The "entrance criteria" being mentioned are two VERY BROAD QUESTIONS that are NOT age specific or designed to weed out people of one culture or another.

It is not uncommon for online forum communities to require questions when joining. The biggest purpose of such practices is to weed out spammers, who usually won't bother to spam a board if they have to do that much to join it. The other purpose of it is to be INTENTIONAL about the kind of community that's being build on that specific forum.

Again, that is NOT the same as being exclusive.
 
Last edited:

MonoVCPHG

New member
Redpepper and I talked about this thread a little today. I started thinking about it from a different and more basic angle.

I'll be very specific instead of attempting a witty example. If a group of younger people did want to include age as a factor in potential member's attempting to join something that they created, than I see nothing wrong with that. Why would I think that young people would really want to include older people,such as myself, in something that may be intended to linking like minds, attitudes and bodies LOL!

Hopefully this is related to the topic :)
 

redpepper

New member
Just so you know I took my post out as I don't think it related other than I think I was marginalizing by giving my opinion.

I will let people who feel marginalized do the talking as I feel Ciel has asked them specifically and my voice has no place in answering the question.

For the record, if people who feel marginalized want to start their own forum, or whatever, then so be it... I just want them to have a voice and a platform with which to speak.
 

quila

New member
For the record, if people who feel marginalized want to start their own forum, or whatever, then so be it... I just want them to have a voice and a platform with which to speak.

I'm not sure who these marginalized people are supposed to be, but this whole thread reminds me of whenever my professors give the class lectures about being responsible students (homework on time, etc), when most of the irresponsible students are skipping the lecture anyway... IOW, if they feel so marginalized, chances are they've already left the forum and aren't here to see the thread.

As for starting one's own forum because one feels marginalized, it seems to perpetuate the problem. Although I will say, at least it doesn't feel like when the men come into the women's centre and say all sarcastically, "Why isn't there a MEN's centre?? We have issues too, you know" and I'm like "well what, do you need the women to start one for you??"
 

redpepper

New member
if they feel so marginalized, chances are they've already left the forum and aren't here to see the thread.

As for starting one's own forum because one feels marginalized, it seems to perpetuate the problem.

I had thought of that first statement and then also the second, but really I see no end to the topic really, so I am not sure of the point at this point... :D
 
Top