According to Kimmel, the notion of what constitutes a family is confusing to the American population and has been confusing for decades. The main reason is that Americans have a “romanticized notion that the family form of the 1950s… is the timeless trope that all families forms out to emulate” (Kimmel 143). This 1950s family model is a mythic model that has nothing to do with reality. The history of the American family is a roller coaster with its ups on egalitarianism and its downs in oppression and separations of spheres.
In the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth century, American families enjoyed “intimate relationships between husbands and wives and between parents and children” (Kimmel 144). Both parents were involved in child rearing and the world of work. Later in the nineteenth century, men experienced a gap between the private (reproductive) sphere and the public (productive) sphere. Men’s work was given more freedom from the home duties. Meanwhile, women’s work was, as Kimmel describes it, a “God-given mission.” The job of the h...
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...difficult for one person to live on their own, picture it with someone else. Nonetheless, Americans are still eager “to have stable, long-lasting relationships and families” (White).
The American family has always been trying to adapt to the economic, social, and cultural changes the best it can. However, in the last few decades, the American society has been bombed by critical events and situations that it is still taking its time to assimilate the alterations. Similarly, the American family has experienced significant changes in its definition. Society is still fighting against the new family structures and roles. The reality is that Americans marry, divorce, remarry, cohabitate, or remain unmarried (both single and in couples). The point is that they believe in the institution of family – in every form of it – and that family is still the cornerstone of America.
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