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I don't know what it is lately that I feel the need to put a disclaimer in all my blog posts, but here's another one.  I really do like the Sister Wives!  Actually, you need to take that statement literally.  I like the Sister WivesKody Brown and his golden mane I can take or leave.

It's almost as if I've started liking reality shows that don't provide the normal extravagant lifestyle, Botox, and Patron-infused escape.  Now, I truly enjoy watching the reality programs that make people think and make people mad…for a better reason than someone said something contrived in a cookbook.  Social issues, family dynamics, real problems…this is what I'm now drawn to these days.  I have to ask, WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?  I like to think I'm growing up…maybe?  Enjoying fluff and Cartier is so much simpler.  Being concerned about who got blackballed from the season's charity event is way cooler than worrying about how real people are actually perceived.  Am I right, or am I right?

That said, I think the Sister Wives are awesome.  Can we just have an understanding from here on out that when I say "Sister Wives" I mean Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn?  We can leave the adult Simba out of my praise.  Regardless of how progressive his wives are, he's still a tad too controlling for my tastes.  Here's the deal.  Do I think polygamy is weird?  You can bet Annie's bottom dollar I do!  Would I share my future husband ever with some Midwestern hussy(ies)?  I think not…of course Ryan Gosling knows better (Eva who?).  But was I put on this earth to judge? No.  To snark?  Well, duh, but to truly judge?  Absolutely not.  Apparently UNLV shares my beliefs, as the Browns were recently the subject of a campus-wide panel discussion.

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According to the Las Vegas Sun, Professor Markie Blumer, who teaches a class on family and marriage counseling, invited the family to take part in a panel discussion on diversity for a student psychology forum.  The assistant professor reveals the thought process behind the invitation by saying, "Everyone's house is different. We believe it is a community value to welcome diversity in all its forms."

Professor Blumer explains that many of the estimated 30,000 plural families in the U.S. are living in secrecy due the negative stigma surrounding the culture.  It's true that when the Browns first came forward with their TLC hit, Meri was fired and Kody and Robyn both suffered professionally.  Of course, the biggest hit to the Browns occurred when the family faced prosecution in Utah after sharing their story.  It was at that time they relocated to Las Vegas in hopes their lifestyle would be more accepted…or at least seem less strange given the competition.  After all, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

Kody shares, "We've found grace in Sin City, where there's a lowering of hypocrisy.  In Las Vegas, you feel like you can own who you are."

During their time on the UNLV panel, Kody and his wives tackled many topics, from the women having to share Kody (and his hair!) to the differences in the various sects of the Mormon faith.  We've reported recently on Meri's mission to help the women and girls in this country who are in plural marriages against their will.  The family also shared their surprisingly forward thinking views on feminism and gay marriage, with Kody stating, "I believe that I was able to choose our family structure. It should be the right of every citizen in this country to be able to choose their family structure."  Amen Breck girl Kody!

It seems the Browns don't dwell as much on the plurality of their marriage (marriages?).  They would rather focus on the love and support of their large family unit.  Kody explains, "I felt like there were so many stereotypes about plural marriages. When I talked with my children about doing the show, I said we have an opportunity to not only change our world, but to change the world for everyone else."

The Browns enjoyed the opportunity to speak freely on the panel and were impressed at the insightful questions asked by the audience.  It was one of the largest speaking engagements in which the family has participated, and Christine loved talking and taking pictures with attendees after the event.  She reveals, "I liked how (the audience) was very open-minded and respectful. It was wonderful."

One such attendee is an avid Sister Wives viewer who admits, "At first, I thought it was crazy, but when I saw how much they love each other, it kind of changed my views. If they don't force people into their lifestyle, I don't see anything wrong with it. I respect them."

Another audience member who is a senior at UNLV found the family to be extremely relatable, asserting, "It takes a village to raise a family. This was a cool way to see the reality of how plural marriage works."

Another UNLV student agrees, saying, "Their family is really inspirational because they draw attention to the multiculturalism that exists in families. It makes you appreciate diversity more, that there are other forms of family as well. It was very insightful." She adds, "That's what I love about UNLV, we're so diverse. I feel bad (the Browns) got kicked out of Utah, but I'm glad they came to Las Vegas and can make themselves feel comfortable here. I just think it's great."

The panel participation was filmed by TLC's cameras which means–YEA!–we may be getting another season of the sweet wives and their tolerance of Kody's golden locks.

TELL US-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BROWNS?  WERE YOU SURPRISED TO HEAR THEY GOT SUCH A WARM RECEPTION AT UNLV?

[Photo Credit: Facebook]

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