The American Family: The Family Of The 1950s

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With the passing of time comes the inevitable arrival of change. We see this in nearly aspect in our lives including technology, education, and especially in our relationships. One relationship that has been examined over the years is our familial relationships. The “family” of today is nothing like the “family of the 1950’s. Some of these changes have been viewed as very positive; that they show the strength and resilience of the family despite the turmoil that may arise in the world we live in. Other changes have been viewed as catastrophic for the family, to the point where people have claimed that the concept of family is on a rapid decline. The family in which I was raised in could be used as one of the examples for one of the “declining”…show more content…
I do not believe anyone can accurately say that the family is “declining” because every single family has their own faults, and will continue to have their own faults. The people who claim that the family has taken a turn for the worst are making a comparison to the idealistic 50’s family that was not even a reality for a lot of families during the actual 1950’s. Stephanie Coontz, professor at The Evergreen College in Washington described the oddities behind this decade in The American Family, an article published in Life Magazine’s November 1999 issue. She states that divorce rates went down during the 1950’s, birth rates went up, and the rate of foreign-born people went down (Cootnz, 2005). Life seemed a lot better in comparison to The Great Depression and the years during the Second World War Of course this would seem like a great time in American history, but the problem is that people look back at this era with “selective amnesia” (Cootnz, 2005). People tend to only be nostalgic for the positive aspects of life. In the 1950’s, there was still heavy censorship, leaving people to either stick with a limited/fixed set of values, or be punished for thinking a little bit outside of the box. Some minorities were not allowed to vote and society still stuck women with the dense “housewife” role. (Coontz, 2005). Life was very good for some, but the vast majority of people were left behind. Today we celebrate creativity and differences, more people have the…show more content…
Barbara LeBey author of American Families Drifting Apart points out several “untraditional” families such as single mothers, gay couples who adopt children, and grandparents who take care of their grandchildren. LeBey argues that if “traditional” families cannot prevent the rise of conflict within their homes, then these “untraditional” families are in absolutely no position to do so (LeBey, 2005). The problem with this argument is that LeBey is making prejudgments on something that is unfamiliar to her. The basis for a lot of prejudice is simply the fear of the unknown. We cannot make a judgement of character or a judgment of how well someone can raise a child on these factors alone. There are “traditional” families who suffer tremendously in raising their children, and there are also “untraditional” families who succeed and support their children. This is really based on the individual(s) who are doing the raising and not on the circumstances of their marriage or lack thereof. LeBey also notes that the women’s rights movement of the 1960’s broke down many traditional aspects of marriage by encouraging sexual equality, and job opportunities, which allowed women to gain financial independence and no longer rely on a man for money (LeBey, 2005). The reality is that we are an individualistic nation. We inadvertently put ourselves before others when seeking happiness. This is not a

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