Family, Marriage, and Gender Roles
At the core of American identities and American dreams lies a family.
Throughout time, families serve as a connection between the individual and the
outside world. The individual's identity, his or her dreams, in large part
depend on the family of origin or a family of choice. The individual is shaped
through beliefs, values, and assumptions that the family holds about the world
and that are based on family member's experiences and collective memory. The
family itself, in turn derives its values from the social, cultural, political,
and philosophical assumptions and beliefs of the larger, and more dominant
In today's modern society, assumptions regarding a family can be very
widespread. Ranging from the conservative viewpoint to the more liberal view.
The conservative is the more traditional view of the two. Believing that the
only true family is the joint relationship of a husband, wife, and children is a
thing of the past. Recently an alarming number of unfavorable situations have
arisen. These situations range from one-parent families to the inexplicable
situation of two partners of the same sex. What happens to a society where the
nuclear family is no longer the dominant configuration? Only time will tell.
Being brought up in a traditional environment, I have very conservative
views on the concept of a family. When I was young, my Mother did not work.
She would stay at home with me until I was about thirteen years old. I feel
that, if possible, a mother should stay home with her children. In my eyes, the
main responsibility of a Mother is to furnish her children with as much
attention as possible. Without the necessary attention the child will grow up
striving for attention, and will do everything in his or her power to receive it.
In the model nuclear family, the Father is the individual who is responsible
for earning a substantial living. Providing for the family: a home, food, and a
sense of security; the Father is an important factor in the up bringing of a
family. Unfortunately, many families do not have the luxury of a nuclear family.
They must survive on their perseverance, along with a little bit of luck along
In our textbook, Moser and Waters accurately depict the essentials of
family values. The one essay that seems to support my own set of values is
the one entitled Reserve Marriage for Heterosexuals. I feel that a family has
nothing to gain by allowing homosexuals to adopt children and start their own
families. The essay depicts that children that are raised without a Mother and
a Father seem to develop in a skewed, scarred, or retarded way. I agree with
this point of the essay because there is no way a child can cope with the fact
that he or she has no Mother or Father. The book also cites that adoption
agencies are now discouraging single parents to adopt children, leaning more and
more towards the traditional, nuclear family.
Our textbook represents a wide variety of different assumptions on the
qualities of a family. The assumption that I do not find to be legitimate is
depicted in the essay Marriage is a Fundamental Right. The essay declares that
the marriage of two homosexual partners should be legalized. I believe that
this would threaten the social identity of our culture, and presumably bring on
more troubles than benefits. The only reasonable explanation for this reaction,
is the fact that I came from a very traditional background. I have never had to
experience the fact of knowing I can not do something because of "tradition." I
hope in the coming years I will change my views on certain issues when I learn
to understand them better.
With my Father growing up in a small town in West Virginia, his family
used the current day template of raising a family. Finding someone who you
could marry, having ten children, and living the rest of your life with them.
They did not know of any homosexuals wanting to marry, all they knew was the
fact that they needed each other to survive. In today's modern society, I am
forced to listen to the homosexuals complaint because they have the same right
to the laws of marriage as two heterosexuals partners.
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