Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s musician and icon Willow Smith has recently opened up about being polyamorous. For a lot of people, this is a new term, so we’re here to help you understand what polyamorous means.
What does it mean for Willow Smith?
The singer-songwriter has only recently spoken about her polyamorous lifestyle on a US talk show, Red Table Talk where she was talking with her mother Jada and grandmother Adrienne. The 20-year-old opened up about being poly, and talks about how she was introduced to the concept as something not inherently sexual.
Jada said that polyamory is not a good idea for everyone, but that she supports Willow as long as she is ‘learning to have the greatest love affair with’ herself. This follows Willow’s coming out as bisexual in 2018.
Willow went on to say that ‘with polyamory, I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that’s what everyone around you says is the right thing to do. So I was like, how can I structure the way that I approach relationships with that in mind? Also, doing research into polyamory, the main reasons why monogamous relationships – or why marriage – why divorces happen, is infidelity.’
She carried on to explain that it isn’t necessarily about multiple sexual partners, and actually said that in her friendship she’s the only poly person in her friendship group and yet has ‘the least sex’. In fact, for her, she said she would not imagine herself having more than 2 partners.
What is polyamory?
A polyamorous – or poly – relationship is one wherein those involved can have intimate relationships with more than one partner, and all involved are consenting and informed. This is not new, despite our society generally regarding monogamous relationships as the accepted norm, and anything else is often seen as immoral (and even illegal).
The BBC spoke to a young polyamorous bisexual woman, Leanne, who agreed with much of what Willow was saying. She added to Willow’s statements in that customising your connections is really what polyamory is all about, and making it so that ‘we are not everything to our partners’.
How is polyamory is received?
As we said above, polyamoury is often seen as immoral by people who regard monogamy as the norm. Luckily for Willow, her mum accepts her for who she is, and expressed that she’s grateful that Willow is exploring herself like this. Alternatively, many poly people feel that they cannot be public about the way they feel, for fear of alienation. Much like those in the LGBT community, they often face poor responses.
Leanne, for example, spoke to the BBC about her parents calling her ‘no better than a prostitute’ for being polyamorous, and she faced even more reprimand as her parents are Chinese and saw it as ‘betraying’ her race, as they were under the impression that being poly was a ‘white person’ thing. Leanne went on to say to the BBC that Willow speaking about being poly shows people that this isn’t true at all.