Essay On The Institution Of Family

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a family is "a group of two or more people who reside together and who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption.” (Eutk). In the beginning, family was considered to be all of the individuals who contributed to the household as far as bringing in money; including servants and non-parental adults, who are also considered part of the family if they play a large role in the upbringing or care-taking of children other than their own. But in fact, over the last few centuries until present day, the institution of the family has completely changed. In the late-18th Century, marriage was considered just a union based on love, but as time passed, there were other financial, social, and political shifts in the United States and in other countries. Throughout our course readings in Gender Studies, we see the ideas of continuity and change in regards to the American family unit. There were multiple factors that influenced the institution of the family unit, including the argument that marriage was seen as a contract of survival, the privatization of marriage, as well as the idea that traditional families never existed. “A Little Commonwealth” by John Demos is an article that discusses the old colonial family household compared to the modern day family unit. In colonial times, the Puritan colonial family life was very similar and different from typical family structures. To begin with, the household consisted of individuals who lived with their immediate family, due to the area in which the families lived in, as well as the modest architecture that allowed simply no room to house more family members. John Demos makes the argument that back then, marriage was seen as a contract of survival, versus there... ... middle of paper ... ...matter in my own life. Being an overweight, African American woman, it is hard to be in particular situations as a minority. Ranging from my college experience as a predominately Caucasian institution, or simply in the workplace under the same demographics, it is hard to feel as though you are not good enough. It is hard to find a sense of confidence when you are surrounded by individuals who do not believe in you. Therefore, I can definitely relate to Dorothy Allison’s statements regarding what it feels like to grow up as an outcast, overcome, and conquer your dreams. Overall, in regards to healing, Dorothy shows that no matter how bad the situation was, she had to move onward and upward. She had to reclaim her life and sex. She needed to get in tune with herself before she could love or give herself to someone else. Bottom line is, you have to accept who you are!

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