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The Change Of Family Image Essay

2053 words - 9 pages

She walks into the restaurant and immediately catches his eye. After a few minutes of watching her, he decides to talk to her. After talking, he decides he wants to court, or what it is modernly known as, date her. First, he asks her father’s permission to take her out, with a chaperone of course. After dating for a while, the guy asks the girl’s father for her hand in marriage. The father agrees because the guy has a stable job and a nice house. The father knows his daughter will be supported. Once he agrees, the couple gets married. Then, after getting married, they had children. A few years later the guy plays catch with his son. Inside, the girl cooks dinner while the daughter plays with dolls at the kitchen table. This is what people used to think of when the word family was brought up. This was the all-American family. Today, this image has changed. Not only has dating changed, but the roles of the parents and who is included in the word family has also changed. Today, there are no chaperones to accompany a couple on a date and the father does not have to grant permission for dating or even marriage. Not to mention, a higher divorce rate and increased cohabitation. As a result, the term family has come to mean something different than what it did in the past.
Back in the 19th century and before, it was socially and culturally preferred that the “‘traditional nuclear family’” was followed (Popenoe 1993, p 528). That is, “a family that consists of heterosexual, monogamous, life-long marriage…with the female as [a] full-time housewife and the male as [the] primary provider and ultimate authority” (Popenoe 1993, p 528). This is because “these attitudes and preferences add up to a world in which one should either be married, with a home of one’s own, or live alone, eating in restaurants, reading all night in bed, seeing the same movies twice, dependent upon endless daily plans and initiative for companionship” (Mead 2001, p 302). The latter is seen as failure. The married couple has a friend, someone who is always there for him of her (Mead 2001, p 302). It is said that “marriage is understood mainly as a path toward self-fulfillment” (Popenoe 1993, p 533). While it is still considered a form of success. That a person has done well. A man “learns that unless he has a job and a car and a wife and kids, he will never be able to respect himself” (Mead 2001, p 286). As time has progressed, so has people’s views. This has led to a decrease in these societal beliefs. Although, these pressures a still prevalent, especially in the older generations.
As a result of these pressures, one may feel rushed to get married. Now, the mother and father of the couple do not have to give permission for them to marry (Mead 2001, p 316). This led to more people eloping and marrying others would their family disproved of. This disproval can cause tension between that person and their family. The tension, is then placed on the marriage;...

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