FAMILY AND SOCIETY Assignment # 1 1. Select three major societal and / or economic changes that have had a significant impact on the family. Describe the changes and how families been affected? Family and society have come across many changes during our history. Every change that occurred has affected what many people would call the 'Benchmark Family' (Scanzoni #7).
This is considered the perfect family or the norm. The Family would consist of the husband that is the breadwinner and the wife who is responsible for raising the children, and taking care of the home (Scanzoni #4). Society has changed dramatically from the 19 th century. These changes in turn have affected Family. Many factors through the years have been responsible for these changes. Feminism is a tremendous factor that is still having its effect on family and society today.
Another factor is employment. Women in the workplace have changed family structure over the years. Sex is also a factor that changed family and society in many ways. I will explore these factors and show what effect they have on family. Feminism impacted family in a tremendous way.
In the 'Jacksonian Era' the notion was that men had divine right to rule over women (Scanzoni #104). People believed that men had certain characteristics that enabled them to be better outside the home, for the purpose of supporting his family. Women were believed to be fragile and over sensitive for the harsh workplace (Scanzoni #104). Society also had certain rules that had to be followed by the public to keep society stable.
These rules were mainly developed through the bible and religious institutions. During the 19 th century religion was an important part of peoples lives. Religion basically dictated to the people what was right and wrong. Religion was very influential during this period. A person believed, what the church said about how they should live was what god wanted and dictated in the Bible (Scanzoni #103). For many years people lived their lives the way the church wanted them too.
Then the start of Feminism occurred, women began to say 'God sees the genders as equals' according to the Bible (Scanzoni#107). Women started to raise questions about different issues in regards to equal treatment. This is when family change started. Men were happy with societies take on women. Men did not want any change to occur.
Men felt everything was the way it was suppose to be. Women started to become more involved in other aspects of life besides homemaking. Women wanted what was initialed to them, which was equality. Men, I feel became anxious about women having more rights, starting to work, and making their own money (Scanzoni #111). Women were now working before marriage, and starting to develop their own sense of self worth.
Women started to realize that they had their own choices and did not have to live the way their mothers' did. Married women were now working, making their own money and feeling good about their selves (Scanzoni #114). Men felt they were losing control. This began to start major conflicts within the family. Women wanted their equal rights in the family and outside the home. Women now felt they did not need support from the man, because of career opportunities out there.
They began to have choices, which were not available in the past. Divorce started to rise because of these changes (Scanzoni #114). Men where not excepting the new woman, and refused to let them be considered equal, which in turn broke up families. These factors contributed to the development of single parent families and different types of lifestyles. Women wanted to be treated as equals, and also have more emotional ties with their husbands (Scanzoni #130). Conservative Critics blame increasing divorce and delinquency as well as other social problems, on women's desires for self-fulfillment (Scanzoni #139).
I do not totally agree with that theory. Women are entitled to the same treatment as men. It seems to me that men just did not understand what women needed to live happy lives. These ancient ways of thinking on the part of men caused some of these conflicts in this era. There is no one group of people to blame for these changes. Everybody has played a part, one way or another in the change in family.
Employment has also changed family and their beliefs. Traditionally men were the sole provider in the family. During World War II, men were fighting for their country. If the men were fighting, then who was producing supplies and ammunition for the war? Women were given these responsibilities during the war. It was ok for them to work, because it was for their country. Women were becoming more accepted in the work place (Scanzoni #132).
This changed the family structure, because now if both husband and wife were working, the whole concept of the benchmark family changes. The family is bringing in more money to support it, but is also taking away from the raising of the children. Before, if both parents had to work for survival, other family members could watch their children. But, now it was more common that those family members would be working as well (Scanzoni#114). Employment affected other aspects of family over time. Women were working before marriage, and waiting longer to marry.
In the past marriage was top priority, now it was not as important, as it was during earlier times. Women were working, and feeling more independent. They did not want to get married and have children so young as in the past. Women now had a choice whether or not they wanted to get married now, or in the future.
Sex has also impacted on family over the years. In the 19 th century sex was limited to married couples except to men if they were discreet and did not disgrace their families (Scanzoni #102). Colonials believed that if another man had sex with a wife, because she was considered property her value diminished (Scanzoni #102). Basically men were allowed to do what ever they wanted in regards to sex.
If a woman did the same she would be considered a slut. Women were considered weak and more prone to lose control and corrupt men. Over time the opinion of sex began to change, therefore change in family values and norms started to occur. During the 1920's sex was becoming more accepted. Women were dressed more sexy and became more sexual, to satisfy their self-fulfillment. Then came the dating game, which had it's own set of rules and social code.
Certain behavior toward sex was allowed if it was going to lead to marriage. These behaviors were accepted, but if a woman got pregnant, and then there was proof that intercourse was happening which was not expect able. If the woman did get pregnant, than for it to be accepted she had to marry. Which today is a non-issue, because of the single parent families that are now accepted. As time progressed more sexual activities were being accepted. Touching, petting and other sexual activity was becoming more common during dating.
Sexual bargaining started to arise during the period in forms or verbal and non-verbal communication between couples (Scanzoni #123). If they were engaged and were having sex then it was not so bad. Sex was becoming more accepted, and gave men the option of not making a commitment. Men did not have to commit to one woman to satisfy his sexual needs.
He now had a choice of dating other women if he wanted too. Today sex is a common thing between couples that are not married. People are waiting longer to marry, because they are playing the field and experimenting with other people. Family accepts dating in order to find the so called 'Mr. or Mrs.
Right' (Scanzoni #120). Sex today has become a non- sacred act then it was years ago. 2. If you had to select one period of time in history where you believed families had it best, what era would that be and why? When we look at families from the past we cannot help but think of the 'good old days'. People always look back and say those were the best times. Families from the past seem to have more moral values than today (Skolnick #21).
They respected their elders and the dead. The families from the past just seemed more simple than today. Maybe it is because of television that portrays families from the past as the perfect family. Just reading about and hearing my father speak about the 1950 s make me want to go back and experience that era.
The 1950 s were a unique era in time. One reason it was so good was the financial stability at that time. Many working families were pulling more than their own weight. A home in that era was much cheaper than most eras. You could buy a home for about 15-18 percent of your salary (Skolnick #44). Today people work their whole lives without the chance to own a home.
The economy was stable and work was available. When you think of the benchmark family you think 1950 s. Husbands working to support his family, the wives home taking care of the children. There were fewer problems with youth.
Delinquency was not what it is today, and children had more respect for people and their property. I feel children are not being taught to respect others, like they were in the 1950 s. Families are not paying enough attention to their children's development. Today everything is hurry; everything is changing so rapidly it is hard to keep up.
There are more single parent families, and different living arrangements that were practically unheard of in the 1950 s. These conditions, I feel affect children growing up in society. The 1950 s there was more respect for The United States. People respected the American flag and what it stood for. Veterans were treated with dignity and respect because they fought for the freedom we have today. In today's society most people don't care about this country.
They see it as a moneymaking opportunity. There is no loyalty like there was in the 1950 s. The government also was more in tuned with the needs of the public. The government gave more money to veterans for college and living than any other time in history (Skolnick #51). The Government also reorganized home financing making it easier for people to buy their own homes (Skolnick#51). I felt the government cared more about the working family than it does today.
The 1950 s seem to have less life threatening diseases. For one thing AIDS was not an issue. I know there were diseases but not to an epidemic levels as AIDS. Cancer was not as wide spread as today.
It also seems to me people had more respect for the land. People did not litter, and appreciated where they lived more than today. People were also friendlier to each other. People just got along better with their neighbors. Some may say that the 1950 s were more strict and oppressed than today. It was, but it kept society stable and crime down.
There has to be some sort of rules, whether they are societal rules or law. This is what keeps a stable environment. Of course you can never please everybody, and it is of opinion what is the best time in our history. I just feel that things were less problematic during the 1950 s era.
Works CitedScanzoni, John Contemporary Families and Relationships: Reinventing Responsibility New York: McGraw Hill, 1995 P# 4, 7, 102, 103, 104, 107, 111, 114, 120, 123, 130, 132, 139 Skolnick, Arlene, Jerome H. Skolnick Family In Transition: Ten Edition New York: Addison, 1999 P# 21, 44, 51.