Love and marriage

Prof. Angela Campbell: too bountiful in Bountiful?
Prof. Angela Campbell: too bountiful in Bountiful? / Photo: Shane Ward

By Laurie Devine

When “I do” becomes “You can’t”

On Jan. 7, two men in Bountiful, B.C. were charged under the Criminal Code with practicing polygamy. The men are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which encourages polygamy. Since the late 1980s, several police probes have investigated the Bountiful sect after allegations of sexual abuse, exploitation of children and trafficking of teenage brides. In an op-ed in the Jan. 9 edition of The Globe and Mail, Angela Campbell, professor and director of the Institute of Comparative Law at McGill, explains that though men in government feel that the women in the polygamous sect need the state’s salvation, her conversations with those women revealed “some important resemblances to women in broader Canadian society.” Instead of a “homogeneous oppressed group,” Campbell found the women to be a “rich, complex, sophisticated and diverse” group, with little suggestion that they were living in captivity. “This makes it far more difficult to rationalize the ongoing criminalization of the lifestyle adopted by some in Bountiful,” Campbell writes. “But hearing the accounts of wives and mothers in plural marriage is essential. Only then can lawmakers and courts fully assess the propriety of the criminal law’s current approach to polygamy.” Campbell began her Bountiful research four years ago while preparing a report for Status of Women Canada. Mention of Campbell’s work also appeared in the National Post and Le Devoir.

Love is in the air

Love is blind – and it might not have such a great sense of smell, either. In a series of trials conducted at the Montreal Neurological Institute, Marilyn Jones-Gotman and Johan Lundström found that a woman who is deeply in love is able to pick up her partner’s scent but less able to distinguish a male friend’s odour from those of strangers. The researchers asked 20 young women to rate their feelings for their boyfriends on a “Passionate Love Scale,” not unlike a questionnaire found in Cosmo. The boyfriends, for their part, slept for seven nights in T-shirts designed to soak up their sweat; friends of the participants also wore the special shirts. In a series of trials, each participant was then presented with three shirts, some worn by strangers, and asked to sniff out the ones belonging to boyfriends or friends.  Boyfriends’ scents were no problem nor were those of female friends. But the women most deeply in love had difficulty distinguishing male friends’ odours from those of strangers. The New Scientist reports that this backs a theory of romantic attraction known as “deflection,” which posits that being in love with someone reduces the amount of attention we give to other potential partners. The study was published in the journal Hormones

and Behavior.