Despite generally being a feminist in most areas of my life, I enjoy watching "The Girls Next Door," E!'s reality series about the (former) live-in girlfriends of Hugh Hefner. I don't know if it's because I used to play with Barbie dolls when I was little girl, or the fact that their lives are (were) so far from reality, but I constantly find myself tuning in when channel surfing, or checking my On Demand listings for a new episode.

One thing that I do find interesting, is that Hef and the Girls challenge heternormative relationships. Sort of. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out why Hef likes the arrangement. But one thing I will give him (and the Girls) credit for is challenging the heteronormative idea that One Man + One Woman = The Only Path to Happiness.

In addition to being an avid watcher of The Girls Next Door, I've also watched Hugh Hefner's True Hollywood Story on E!. So, I can tell you that Hef tried normal hetero marriage. Twice. And it didn't work for him. Twice. So finally, he figured, what made him happy - lots of attractive blonds. Again, big stretch to figure out why. But, it's still a "crazy" idea to some people. People who think marriage (and thus relationships) should only equal one man and one woman. Why?

One argument against gay marriage is that if it is legalized, it could open the door to other "crazy" ideas, such as polygamy. But what's wrong with polygamy? If all parties involved are 18+ and OK with the arrangement, why does anyone care if someone has multiple spouses? Personally, I think marriage to one spouse is enough to keep me busy, I couldn't imagine having two husbands. (... or could I? TWO men to cook and clean?? Hmmm.) But if someone else wants two husbands, or two wives, what do I care? I don't. More power to you.

Of course, what have we seen of polygamy so far in the media? Mormans turning little girls into young wives, living subordinate lives of service to their husbands. However, even though they weren't married, Hef and The Girls have shown the world that polygamous relationships can work if all parties are happy with the arrangement. In many cases, it seems as though the Girls were in a relationship with each other more than Hef (romantic or platonic ... who knows). They all seemed happy. And as we are seeing with this season and what's been in the news, if they're not happy, they are free to leave the relationship.

So, while it still includes incredibly sexist stereotypes about men and women, on a very twisted scale, The Girls Next Door may help pave the way for acceptance of relationships that fall outside the heteronormative One Man + One Woman "Ideal."

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