Escaping Polygamy- A World of Othering

Escaping Polygamy is a docuseries that follows 5 women who escaped from the Kingston polygamous organization, also known as The Order. These women have dedicated their lives to helping other individuals escape Polygamy. One of the most eye-catching aspects of this show is the portrayal of the polygamous organizations the women go up against. Between the two main cults explored in this show, I will talk about the FLDS polygamous cult.

FLDS stands for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s run by Warren Jeffs (currently serving life + 20 years for statutory rape of 2 ‘spiritual wives’, ages 15 and 12) who believes to be the Prophet and the key to reaching the Celestial Kingdom. One of the biggest takeaways from this show is just how isolated members from the FLDS are, and how they do everything they possibly can to keep it that way. Members who have left the organization are referred to as Apostates and aren’t allowed back to see their families. The FLDS refers to everyone outside of the religion as Gentiles. From the FLDS perspective, they are the One and everyone else is the Other. 

The FLDS not only Others the rest of the world, but they also Other their own members. The FLDS, as per the show, is notorious for separating families and sending away family members to ‘repent’ with no explanation. This is one of the many ways the Prophet maintains his power and control over the organization. One of the episodes in this show is about a woman named Lizzy. She was deemed ‘unworthy’ by the Prophet, so her daughter was physically taken away from her and sent to live with another family. At the time of this episode, Lizzy hadn’t seen her daughter in 3 years, had no clue where she was, and Lizzy herself was sent to a house of repentance (an isolated house in the middle of nowhere) to be left alone for months. This is Othering. The show tracked Lizzy down after it was contacted by one of Lizzy’s concerned friends who had escaped. 

Now, there is another perspective to discuss here. Just like how the FLDS Others the rest of the world and their own members, this show Others the FLDS. Docuseries are typically made to educate the general public on a specific topic. I, as someone who had no prior knowledge regarding the FLDS, was taught by the show that this organization is dangerous and infringes upon basic human rights. From the perspective of the show, everyone else is the One and the FLDS is the Other. While the FLDS literally isolated their members from the rest of society, this show figuratively isolated the organization from the rest of mainstream society. 

From the FLDS Othering the rest of the world and their own members, to the show Othering the FLDS, Othering is at the root of this docuseries. After watching this show, I was able to formulate an opinion regarding the FLDS and polygamous organizations in general. But I question how much of my opinion was formed as a result of the show’s Othering and portrayal of polygamy. 

The Punishing Price of Plan B

By Mahima Vemuganti

Within this past week, I witnessed two of my close friends purchase Plan B.  As they were checking out, I couldn’t help but glance at the price tag- $49.99 before tax. As I was accompanying my friends, I couldn’t help but think back to my friend in high school who had to gamble with potential pregnancy because she couldn’t afford Plan B. 3 weeks later, we found out she was pregnant. My friends in college were able to handle a potentially disruptive situation because they had the privilege to afford to do so, unlike my friend back in high school. Plan B is a good example of systemic injustice because not everyone has equal means to obtain it.

The issue behind Plan B is similar to the injustices individuals experienced during the Civil Rights Movement. Minority groups are placed at a disadvantage from equal opportunity. From police brutality to the sanctions behind the imprisonment of Martin Luther King Jr. as described in Letter, and the availability/affordability to Plan B, systemic injustices encompass a variety of different scenarios.

In-store Emergency Contraception Pills (ECPs) cost anywhere from $40-$60. ECP’s found online, on the other hand, cost an average of $20. The discrepancy between in-store and online ECPs indicates that there is no reason for in-store prices to be as high as they are. Despite online ECPs costing lower than their in-store counterpart, they are less desirable as individuals run the risk of them not being delivered on time. Not to mention, it’s harder to keep the delivery inconspicuous, especially for minors.

Another issue we run into with ECPs is their availability. A 2018 study by the American Society for Emergency Contraception (ASEC) found that only 60% of drug stores carry ECPs. Of the ones that do carry them, 57% lock ECPs in a box, forcing the individual to seek out an employee for assistance.

With its high cost and minimal supply at available drugstores, teens and individuals from low-income communities are placed at a greater disadvantage and run a higher risk of accidental pregnancy. While there are many other factors contributing to higher pregnancy rates within minority and low-income communities, the high cost of Plan B adds fuel to the fire. With a statistical correlation between teen pregnancy and poverty, the punishing price of Plan B further perpetuates this inequality.

Vietnamese Introduction into the Nail Industry

In 1995, actress Tippi Hedren, also known as the Godmother of the nail industry, ran a program to help settle 20 Vietnamese refugee women in the United States. At the time, Hedren visited a refugee camp in Northern California, Hope Village, and empathized with the difficulties the women had faced in light of the Vietnam war. Most of the women refugees were the spouses of high ranking military officers who lost everything in the war–their houses, their families, and their livelihoods.

Hedren wanted to teach the women trade skills that they could use to support themselves in light of their new lives. Wanting to introduce skills that could easily be learnable due to the language barrier, Hedren brought in seamstresses and typists to teach the women acquirable skills. But instead, her nails caught their attention. After taking notice of this, Tippi Hedren had her personal manicurist visit the refugee establishment to teach the women how to manicure nails the ‘Beverley Hills’ way. This sparked the Vietnamese (and eventually other Asian immigrants’) interest in the nail industry.

The women went on to teach others the art of mastering the perfect manicure. Aside from their initial interest in Tippi Hedren’s nails, the women learned that they could get by working as manicurists with only a few basic English words under their belt, which increased their attraction to the profession.

Vietnamese involvement and interest in the nail salon business radicalized the industry. What were once $50 manicures and pedicures found back in the 1970’s are now being offered for $20. 40 years after Vietnamese induction into the business, over half of the nail salons (51% as of 2015) and 80% of the nail salons in California are found to be Vietnamese owned. Originally intended to introduce trade skills to refugee women, Tippi Hedren transformed the nail salon business into a primarily Vietnamese run 8 billion dollar industry.


Works Cited:

Center for Asian American Media. “Nailed It.” WORLD Channel, WGBH Educational Foundation ,

Garcia-Navarro, Lulu. “How Vietnamese Americans Took Over The Nails Business: A Documentary.” NPR, NPR, 19 May 2019,

Morris, Regan. “How Tippi Hedren Made Vietnamese Refugees into Nail Salon Magnates.” BBC News, BBC, 3 May 2015,

To, My Ngoc. “The Hidden Lives of Nail Artists.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 June 2017,