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The Way We Really Are Essay

1239 words - 5 pages

The way we really areMark Sarkisian2-10-04The author, Coontz shows how the standard of the "traditional family" has changed over the past century. Society must accept the reality of the modern family. Since the 50's, the whole definition on "family" has changed. Marriages are becoming "extinct" and families are breaking away from the old fashioned way of raising children. For example, having both a father and a mother in the home full-time use to be the definition of "the traditional family". Now it hard to believe that the majority of society today is becoming accustomed to single parent homes and women being a contributor to the households income. With today's society filled with these single parent homes, gay and lesbian parents, and families from different ethnic backgrounds, today there is no such thing as the "traditional family.Americans are forced to re-evaluate their opinion on what the traditional family is made up of. Children are forced to live in these "changing" families, many not having a mother and a Father, which is the image of what a family used to be defined as.Coontz asks if we can learn from history of the family. Coontz never will deny the complexity of today's economic issues and their impact on families, which include working mothers, the future of marriage, the well being of children in gay and lesbian families, and the strengths and weaknesses of single parent households.Coontz Makes two important points. She wants to see family and social changes within a "historical" setting and a "sociological" setting. She also wants to de-politicize the modern "family". She wants to analyze what's working and what's not in families.The main point of the book seems to be that many American families are in crisis today. The reasons for this are varied, from unrealistic idealization of the 1950s, to government policies that affect the needs of families.The importance of using history and sociology as ways to solve today's problems is very crucial. She examines specific examples, for example the problem that teens have in society. She talks about the teen's lack of role and purpose in society as the major cause of problems. "What we often call the youth culture is actually adult marketers seeking to commercially exploit youthful energy and rebellion." Teens are always spending money, however need a chance to actually take part in society and make some money. Now a days, teens are responsible for many industries income, so let them make money so they can invest more into society.Due to the changes in economical status (the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer), families are forced to make a change. Both parents would now have to work outside of the home, in order to be able to afford everyday standard living expenses. This was not even to include costs of buying a home or sending for college education. Unlike previous generations, now days a college education is crucial for both men and women, not just the men....

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