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Babble Ethics: Defining Incest

By mikeadamick |

ben_margene_big_love_mWe’re pretty big Big Love fans as you may be able to tell, but this week’s episode definitely presented an eww moment toward the end — unless, I suppose, you’re Woody Allen and then it was a big shrug. It’s been a few days now and if you’re watching the show, you probably already know what happened.

If you aren’t a fan, here’s the ultra-quick synopsis (Defamer has a longer, better one): The family practices polygamy. There are three wives, one husband and something on the order of 9,000 kids, which makes them a lot like the Duggers in a way I suppose …

Anyway, one of the kids, Ben, who had a thing last season for his step mom, Margene, goes to his stepmom’s big event and … wait for it … receives a kiss that seems not exactly innocent but not exactly sultry. Confused is probably a better word for it. But still, this is a mother-son relationship we’re talking about, while at the same time … they aren’t biologically related. Confused indeed.

So here’s the question: Does this relationship qualify as incest? Ben is an adult now, or very nearly. This isn’t some creepy stepmom feeling up a child. They are both old enough to make their own choices and are tied together by bonds of familial love not, again, DNA. What do you think?

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About mikeadamick



As the “Daddy Issues” columnist for and a prime mover at “The Poop,” the parenting blog of the San Francisco Chronicle, Mike Adamick is no stranger to writing about modern fatherhood with wit and wisdom. He blogs at Cry It Out! Read bio and latest posts → Read mikeadamick's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “Babble Ethics: Defining Incest

  1. PlumbLucky says:

    It might not meet the legal definition, but how about “squicky icky!”?

  2. e says:

    I don’t know… it’s definitely on the weird side. But, as I understand it, Margie’s only been around for a few years. So it’s not like she raised him, she’s only been around during his teenager-hood. When I watched it reminded me of stories I’ve heard about teenage step-siblings who end up together. If they don’t meet until they’re teenagers is it really wrong? I don’t know, though… it definitely has the “squicky icky” factor.

  3. Erika says:

    Well I don’t think it would be incest bcuz they’re not related in any form except for the fact his dad is having sex with her and she’s his wife too. So ok, it’s weird but maybe they don’t see it that way. I had a stepbrother who I grew up with. As kids we hated each other, well sometimes. Bcuz other times we’d get along just fine. But as we became teenagers he confessed to me that he had fantasized about me once or twice but I really didn’t find it weird bcuz we weren’t biologically related. I actually just thought it was funny. We did share a kiss once but after that we just stayed friends and stepsiblings as it was before

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