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The Slow Death of 'Traditional' Families in America


doggie

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The very thing fundies try to push no education and keeping poor are the things that destroy their vision of traditional families. Plus the people they hate are the ones keeping it going. well educated people with some money.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... ca/281904/

Thanksgiving is perhaps the quintessential American family holiday, but what, exactly, does the quintessential American family look like today? Gay marriage laws have happily extended legal rights to same-sex couples, but over the last half century, a less auspicious family development has been the rise of single moms and dads and the decline of two-parent households, particularly among lower-income and less-educated families.

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Look at the Obamas-all four live under the same roof, Barack is the breadwinner, Michelle is a stay at home wife who does volunteer work. Both have advanced degrees. Kids still live at home. Hell even grandma lives with them. Yet the fundies and teabaggers hate them.

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Look at the Obamas-all four live under the same roof, Barack is the breadwinner, Michelle is a stay at home wife who does volunteer work. Both have advanced degrees. Kids still live at home. Hell even grandma lives with them. Yet the fundies and teabaggers hate them.

Teabaggers hate Obama because he's black and in the White House. Teabaggers hate Ms. Obama because, before her husband became POTUS, she worked outside the home and made a lot more money than her husband, like a couple of hundred thousand dollars more. She's also been clear about her intention to return to work after her tenure as the First Lady is done.

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Look at the Obamas-all four live under the same roof, Barack is the breadwinner, Michelle is a stay at home wife who does volunteer work. Both have advanced degrees. Kids still live at home. Hell even grandma lives with them. Yet the fundies and teabaggers hate them.

That's because the Obamas are BROWN. We don't WANT to encourage families of THAT kind.

/snooty sarcastic.

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Or my family! My fiancee works, and I'm getting an advanced degree- she'll have one before we have kids. We won't have any until we're financially and emotionally ready, and to marry before kids. We plan to help look after her extended family with trusts, and let them live with us if needed.

Sounds perfect, right? Very traditional. Except we're both women. So just because of that fact, we're destroyers, even though we'll be a "traditional family" in every other sense.

*headdesk*

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That's because the Obamas are BROWN. We don't WANT to encourage families of THAT kind.

/snooty sarcastic.

The term "traditional family" in this context really means white nuclear family, as if nuclear families comprised of other races don't count. A straight, inter-racial marriage is only unusual if you ignore history, as the US was built on interracial co-mingling.

The "Leave it to Beaver" type family - dad as breadwinner, mom stays home, two kids, a house in the suburbs, everyone white - makes a number of assumptions. First, it assumes that the dad has a job that enables the wife to not work. For many wives, both in the 1960s and now, working was a matter of eating or not eating. There was no real "choice" involved. If you look at many old sitcoms, the fact that the woman/wife doesn't work is a point of male pride, that is, "I'm such a he-man that my wife doesn't have to work," and being a housewife is essentially a status symbol for the husband and the wife. Similarly, having a larger than average family was also a status symbol. One reason why there was a post-war baby boom is because the economic and social changes of the late 1940s and 50s made it cost-effective for couples to have three or four children and feel confident that said children would have good opportunities. This is not the case today.

Broken homes were extremely common throughout history. The fairy tale "Hansel and Gretl" was true when it depicted the harshness of the pre-industrial world, where re-marriages, evil step-parents, and child abandonment were common.

Consider how many classic stories center around children missing one or both biological parent. The all-American boy, Tom Sawyer, lives with his aunt and cousins, and no mention is ever made of his parents or the father of his cousins. His Aunt Polly was probably not that different from many modern women who have to take care of nieces, nephews, or grandchildren. Living with both biological parents has probably always been an ideal, but not always possible for a variety of reasons.

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Since when has one nuclear family-with a male bread-winner, a SAHM, and a gaggle of their progeny-living in one, stand-alone dwelling been a 'traditional' family anyway? Both of my parents come from a Christian, Western European background and my siblings and I were the first generation of kids to grow up like that. In the 70s and 80s. My (Anglo-Australian) husband didn't get that. For him, our children (who are still primary school age or smaller) are the first generation.

'Traditional' family is a great example of the Christian right taking a pet political concept and re-labeling it to make it look like a foundational societal norm.

Eta: cross posted with previous post.

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I agree that the "traditional family", as fetishisized by fundies, was hardly traditional. My parents grew up in China and I still remember how the " nuclear family" was called the "modern" family because "traditional" meant extended families all living under one roof. The "new" thing in the 70's and 80's in China was this idea that couples would live by themselves with their children, away from aunts and cousins and grandparents. It was a novel idea. Now, fundies would have you believe that our cavemen ancestors all lived like this. Uh-huh.

Family arrangements, be they "traditional", faux-traditional, or modern is partially a reaction to the economic development of society. When societies were more agarian, with little governmental protection from poverty or roaming bandits, people clustered together as a way to help each other out through famine and thieves and illnesses. A "nuclear" family was untenable because parents often died, families commonly impoverished, and governments were often unstable and insecure. Your family was the only thing that stood between you and abject poverty. The more able bodied adults living with you, the more hands to provide for you when you are unemployed, nursing care when you are elderly or sick, someone to care for your dependents if you die.

As our society progressed in the last century, we no longer had to "depend" on cousins and grandparents. Starvation and roaming bandits were less of a problem. Social security and medicaid was introduced. This meant people felt less of a need to stick around an extended family.

The 1950's saw a mass movement towards this nuclear family style of living. And because that was the last period before the great social upheavals that fundies abhor, I think fundies are hung up on the ideal that the 1950's represented. Somehow, the nuclear family represented the last time Americans lived as they should, therefore the nuclear family must have been awesome.

Honestly, if fundies want to go back to the "traditional" family, they should be advocating for the extended family model. After all, it's far more economically secure to have multiple (male) members working than to have a family depend on only one person's job. You lose a job in a nuclear family, you are out either 50% or 100% of your income. You live in an extended family, one job loss is maybe 20% of the family's income.....much better odds. Plus, all that pooling together of living resources would make it far easier to care for children, homeschool and be debt-free....I guess I'm trying to point out that fundies are quite dumb about their family concept, as their way of life fits much better with an extended family model than any nuclear family option. Then again, we know that they worship the nuclear family not for actual practical reasons, but because it represented, in their minds, the "perfect' world before it was destroyed by Satan.....

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Juste want to say : in France, in the old "Traditional Families" (untill... 70's), all women worked. They were working in a factory (but it does not matter, I suppose, because, you know, communism), maid, farmer, teacher etc ... Except in the big bourgeoisie, I have never known an elderly person who was a housewife. It was just a matter of survival: they needed 2 wages for living. Housewives came with the 70s and the general increase in salary and the ideology of "return to nature - mothers are responsible for their children and should be the best for them"

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Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" lived with her aunt and uncle.

Tom Sawyer lived with Aunt Polly and his pal Huck was raised by his town drunk father. Anne lived with her foster parents in Green Gables (they were Canadian, but close enough). And then there were the Secret Garden kids and most people in the worlds of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.

For these people "traditional" only goes back to the years immediately following WWII. And even then, Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver were idealized fantasies of the "traditional family"; most people led lives that didn't look anything like that fantasy. My father's mother was disabled so he and his siblings were raised mostly by their father who ran a grocery store attached to their house. My mother lived in a housing project with an abusive stepfather and her twice divorced mother.

They’re striving to return to Pleasantville, a place that never existed.

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Tom Sawyer lived with Aunt Polly and his pal Huck was raised by his town drunk father. Anne lived with her foster parents in Green Gables (they were Canadian, but close enough). And then there were the Secret Garden kids and most people in the worlds of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.

For these people "traditional" only goes back to the years immediately following WWII. And even then, Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver were idealized fantasies of the "traditional family"; most people led lives that didn't look anything like that fantasy. My father's mother was disabled so he and his siblings were raised mostly by their father who ran a grocery store attached to their house. My mother lived in a housing project with an abusive stepfather and her twice divorced mother.

They’re striving to return to Pleasantville, a place that never existed.

I would strike the Grimms from the list. Many of the stories they compiled originally had wicked mothers, not stepmothers. They did some creative editing there because, I don't know, they didn't like that facet.

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George Washington and Thomas Jefferson's dads died when they were young. Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton's died before they were born. All of them became POTUS.

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What about "Full House"? A show that's often looked at as being very "family friendly," and yet the family depicted is far from traditional. I loved that show back in the day, but now it just seems cheesy. But anyway, you had a widowed man and his brother and best friend all living together with the man's three children and then later the brother/uncle's wife and children as well. So much for traditional family. How about the social conservatives actually work to support all families, gay or straight, traditional or non-traditional, instead of shaming those that don't conform to a narrow "ideal."

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The very thing fundies try to push no education and keeping poor are the things that destroy their vision of traditional families. Plus the people they hate are the ones keeping it going. well educated people with some money.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... ca/281904/

The good thing is,most ppl can't relate to that lifestyle,so it does tend to keep them out of politics.Most ppl won't vote for someone they can't relate to.I think that's why the Duggars always support the ones who tend to lose.No one can relate to them.

That said,I was a single mom for awhile,and I really enjoyed it.I tend to be independent anyway,and I liked that I always got to make all the decisions, and had the final say.There was no 'go ask your father' type thing going on.If I said it,it stood.I always tried to see things as a plus and not a minus.

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Look at the Obamas-all four live under the same roof, Barack is the breadwinner, Michelle is a stay at home wife who does volunteer work. Both have advanced degrees. Kids still live at home. Hell even grandma lives with them. Yet the fundies and teabaggers hate them.

Don't forget the two fur babies, Bo and Sunny.

And because we're on the topic of "traditional" families, I need to mention that Milwaukee has two retro TV stations that show classic television shows from the 1950s-1990s. It's amazing how so many of the older shows do not necessarily show traditional mom, dad, kids and a dog family dynamic. Ralph and Alice Kramden from "The Honeymooners" didn't have kids. Fred and Ethel Mertz from "I Love Lucy" were also childless. "The Brady Bunch" was a blended family. Shirley Partridge from "The Partridge" family was a widow and had a job as singer in her family's band. Buffy, Jody and Sissy from "A Family Affair" were being raised by their uncle. And Ann Marie from "That Girl" was more focused on her career than marrying her boyfriend, Donald Hollinger.

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Don't forget the two fur babies, Bo and Sunny.

And because we're on the topic of "traditional" families, I need to mention that Milwaukee has two retro TV stations that show classic television shows from the 1950s-1990s. It's amazing how so many of the older shows do not necessarily show traditional mom, dad, kids and a dog family dynamic. Ralph and Alice Kramden from "The Honeymooners" didn't have kids. Fred and Ethel Mertz from "I Love Lucy" were also childless. "The Brady Bunch" was a blended family. Shirley Partridge from "The Partridge" family was a widow and had a job as singer in her family's band. Buffy, Jody and Sissy from "A Family Affair" were being raised by their uncle. And Ann Marie from "That Girl" was more focused on her career than marrying her boyfriend, Donald Hollinger.

I love those shows. :) That reminds me of Mary Tyler Moore,and the spinoffs Phyllis and Rhoda.They were all centered on career women going off on their own,not marrying early and actually having a life outside of home.

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The good thing is,most ppl can't relate to that lifestyle,so it does tend to keep them out of politics.Most ppl won't vote for someone they can't relate to.I think that's why the Duggars always support the ones who tend to lose.No one can relate to them.

That said,I was a single mom for awhile,and I really enjoyed it.I tend to be independent anyway,and I liked that I always got to make all the decisions, and had the final say.There was no 'go ask your father' type thing going on.If I said it,it stood.I always tried to see things as a plus and not a minus.

Lucy and Ricky from "I Love Lucy" were also older parents, as Lucille Ball was 42 when she had Desi Arnaz, Jr., Little Ricky's real life counterpart. The 50s may have been a baby boom, but Little Ricky was the Ricardo's only child. Maybe this is why we don't hear about the Duggars watching "I Love Lucy." That, and the fact that Lucy Ricardo, with her deep-seated desire to work outside the home, would give the girls ideas.

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Don't forget the two fur babies, Bo and Sunny.

And because we're on the topic of "traditional" families, I need to mention that Milwaukee has two retro TV stations that show classic television shows from the 1950s-1990s. It's amazing how so many of the older shows do not necessarily show traditional mom, dad, kids and a dog family dynamic. Ralph and Alice Kramden from "The Honeymooners" didn't have kids. Fred and Ethel Mertz from "I Love Lucy" were also childless. "The Brady Bunch" was a blended family. Shirley Partridge from "The Partridge" family was a widow and had a job as singer in her family's band. Buffy, Jody and Sissy from "A Family Affair" were being raised by their uncle. And Ann Marie from "That Girl" was more focused on her career than marrying her boyfriend, Donald Hollinger.

Don't forget Happy Days. I believe Cachie's (sp) and Fonzie's mothers were single. Then on The Waltons, Mary Ellen and Erin worked outside the home, and on Little House on the Prairie Laura taught school, was married and had a family at the same time.

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Lucy and Ricky from "I Love Lucy" were also older parents, as Lucille Ball was 42 when she had Desi Arnaz, Jr., Little Ricky's real life counterpart. The 50s may have been a baby boom, but Little Ricky was the Ricardo's only child. Maybe this is why we don't hear about the Duggars watching "I Love Lucy." That, and the fact that Lucy Ricardo, with her deep-seated desire to work outside the home, would give the girls ideas.

And didn't Rob and Laura Petrie from the "Dick Van Dyke" show have just one kid? Now that I think of it there weren't a whole lot of quiverfull families on classic TV.

What else? "Julia" featured a single mom (a widow) who also had a career as a nurse. Oh, and she was black.

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And didn't Rob and Laura Petrie from the "Dick Van Dyke" show have just one kid? Now that I think of it there weren't a whole lot of quiverfull families on classic TV.

What else? "Julia" featured a single mom (a widow) who also had a career as a nurse. Oh, and she was black.

Logically speaking, I think that unless a show is trying to skew to kids and/or families (like the Brady Bunch, the Partridge Family, Full House), the writers will only give a family one or two kids. While fertility was higher during the post-war baby boom, that doesn't mean that the country was quiverfull; rather, there were more families with three or four kids, as opposed to one or two. What patriarchal/quiverfull people don't understand is that there was never a time in history when having 10+ kids that survived to adulthood was the norm. Super-sized families were weird, even when it made sense to have lots of children.

ETA People who dressed faux modest like the Duggars also would have been considered weird in the 1950s and 60s as well. Tammy Faye Bakker once wrote in her memoir about how people used to make fun of her in school, because her Pentecostal parents made her wear long skirts and uncut, un-styled hair. In fact, women were already starting to wear pants, albeit on a limited basis, in the 1950s.

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Logically speaking, I think that unless a show is trying to skew to kids and/or families (like the Brady Bunch, the Partridge Family, Full House), the writers will only give a family one or two kids. While fertility was higher during the post-war baby boom, that doesn't mean that the country was quiverfull; rather, there were more families with three or four kids, as opposed to one or two. What patriarchal/quiverfull people don't understand is that there was never a time in history when having 10+ kids that survived to adulthood was the norm. Super-sized families were weird, even when it made sense to have lots of children.

Interesting point. And it's probably easier for TV writers to write about one or two kids, giving them more dimensional personalities than write about 10+ kids and give them more dimensional personalities. Does that make sense?

And you're right, not many people had a truckload of kids because they wanted to be quiverfull. A lot of families had to have more kids just to make sure some of them made it to adulthood. That's easier with 10+ kids rather than 3-4. Infant and child mortality was pretty high back in the day.

Both my parents are Catholic but dad is one of four (his older brother died in WW2) and my mom is one of three. Sure, there were big Catholic families, but we're talking 5-7 kids, not 19 like the Duggars. Somehow people did figure out birth control in all of its forms.

Hmm, now that I think of it I can only recall two families with larger than average families-"The Waltons" and "Eight is Enough." Large families for sure, but not crazy large.

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My grandmother was born in 1889. She went to college and later, her mother said to her "We sent you to college and here you are with 5 children!" My grandmother ended up with 6 (dad was a surprise) but clearly her mother had not expected her daughter to have that many children!

The Christian radio stations where I first heard about quiverful were up front about needing to create more Christians via birth to keep up with changing global demographics.

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"My Two Dads"--mom dies and doesn't know which of the men fathered her daughter, so she lives with both of them. (I believe the girl was played by Rebecca Shaefer, who was very, very tragically murdered. Or maybe that was My Sister Sam.)

In real life, I have a grandfather on my dad's side who is unknown and a great-grandfather on my mom's side (maternal) who is unknown. My grandmother never knew her parents. This affects my life in no way whatsoever.

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I think most fundies would argue that the 1960's is the era when the world fell apart. They probably forbid their kids to watch anything from about the mid-60's on.

They prefer a black and white world.

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