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To what extent does the idea of family has changed?

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Throughout time, the concept of what a family is and should look like have changed a lot. Family can mean more than just being related by blood or by the law, as it can also mean people that you are really close with or you feel safe around. Since the 1980’s the number of nuclear families are dropping while the single-parent ones are increasing. The idea of family nowadays presents a wider range of family, with extended family, interracial and even childless. Also, the idea of family goes into the notion of ‘idea of progress’ since it has changed so more over time. So we can ask ourselves “to what extent has the idea of family changed”. I’ll first present the stereotypical version of family compared to what it has become now, and why that change happened.

The stereotypical version of a family is a family composed of two parents, a woman and a man, that are married and have children. This version presents the mother as an at-home mom, taking care of her children, doing household chores and being submissive to her husband. On the opposite side, the husband is the one responsible for the source of income of the family. He therefore isn’t usually at home and doesn’t really take care of anything that includes the house maintenance or the children. The nuclear family actually represent part of the American Dream. When I was taught the American dream, I had this picture in my head of a white nuclear family, with two children, a daughter and a son. They pose in front of their perfect house with a big garden for their dog. Moreover, race was a big issue in the 1960’s, as we can see in the TV show “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, where a white daughter introduced her new beau, a black men, to her white rich married parents. In fact, we see that the father is a business man who takes care of the money in the family and is shown as a dominant figure, whereas the mother is portrayed to be a stay-at-home wife, who took care of her daughter. This show was one of the first to show the idea of an interracial couple, which caused a lot of controversy at the time.

However, nowadays, never has the idea of family presented this much variety of family structures, such as extended, single-parent, childless, step and not married. We also come across new socially accepted types of family, for example same-sex, interracial and big age gaps. The idea that a nuclear family is a ‘perfect family’ has totally decreased, as the social norms have clearly evolved between the 1960’s and now. As a matter of fact, celebrities that are the most looked upon aren’t afraid to show who they love, even if it doesn’t conform to the idea of a ‘perfect family’. We can notice all the different family structures. For example, the Kardashian family has shown to present all the possible stages of life that a family could go through, from the death of a parent to the transition of Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner. Moreover, we also notice a big amount of interracial couples, with four out of six children being with an African American, as well as single mothers, with Kourtney being divorced and Kylie being a teen mom. There is therefore no more proper definition of family.

So, what were the actual reason for the change of the definition of family? First of all, all of over the world, there has been more and more acceptance towards the colored community. Between the 1830’s and the 1860’s, the movement to abolish slavery in


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