Advantages and disadvantages of Polygyny

Published 15 Mar 2017

Polygyny in social anthropology is referred to as a common type of polygamy. It is defined as the practice of man in a society to have several wives at the same time. Polygyny has been practiced and accepted in some societies but it is not universally acclaimed because there is what we call diversity of culture and traditions. Polygyny, however, is still practiced by some of the Latter Day Saints sectors up to this day. Catholicism practice one wife but multiple lovers is accepted (Robinson).

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There are advantages and disadvantages of polynyny; these are the factors why polygyny is still practiced and abolished. One of the factors why polygyny is still practiced is that individuals in certain societies wanted to continue their lineage. Primitive genes are considered in this case; when the ages of war became primarily concerned, soldiers were then given the chance to have several wives to be able to pass their genes and continue their existence. In some societies that practice polygyny, it adds a little to a woman’s lifetime fertility. The status of a man is questioned here; it is important in knowing how many children he can support. Thus, wealth plays a big factor in the practice of polygyny (Bergstrom).

If there are advantages there are also disadvantages of polygny. The primary and most common disadvantage of polygyny is that it degrades women, thus, men treat them as their property and slave. Men are the superior ones and they enslave women so that women feel inferior over their husbands. Thus, there would be conflict among the wives and the man (Waldmann).
In some societies that does not practice polygyny; it is referred to as an immorality, mostly by Catholics. For every particular society, people share the same value consensus; they share common traditions and culture. Polygyny is either moral or immoral depending on the kind of marriage system a society considers.


Bergstrom, Theodore C. “On the Economics of Polygyny”, August 25, 1994.
Robinson, B.A., 2004-SEP-04.
Waldmann, Robert. “The Amateur Anthropologist.” February 16, 2005.

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