I’d like to take a moment to reiterate that hierarchy is not a bad word.
I will posit that the polyamorous community, in general, has misconstrued the term. I believe that this is due to a lack of knowledge about the types of non-monogamy, ignorance about polyamory and the many ways that it presents itself, a lack of knowledge of the fact relationships are negotiation which we have no presets in non-monogamy, and a lack of self knowledge.
Hierarchy is not about abuse and unhealthy behaviours, as polyamory in general is not, but unhealthy and abusive people can use it.
Hierarchy is a description of the organization of an individual’s or a units resources.
Yes, there are people who have to really focus on how they place their resources like time, energy, and money.
Outside of the concepts that bore the BDSM subculture or the concepts that model BDSM power exchange, whether used in lifestyle or not, hierarchy is often misidentified, misused, and really damn unhealthy.
Hierarchy is not about one person’s importance over another in terms of value. In D/s, hierarchy is based on consequence. The decision makers, the ones who take responsibility for outcomes as negotiated.
And there is that word agained.
Hierarchy is not a excuse to exert couples privelege. It is not an excuse to be abusive. It is not an excuse to ignore consent.
Couples let me make it clear that I am not standing up for abusive practices you may exhibit.
There is no hierarchy if there is no negotiation. You don’t decide if there is hierarchy and push it on others any more than you decide for your partners that the poly group practices parallel or kitchen table style poly. It is a GROUP choice.
It is consent.
It is autonomy as individuals.
It is you not having the right to impose anything on another person without their permission.