An Abstract of Bernard's the Good-Provider Role: It's Rise and Fall of the Good Provider

1481 Words Aug 19th, 2010 6 Pages
An Abstract of Bernard’s The Good-Provider Role: It’s Rise and Fall

Khedra E. Fields-Barclay
SCOI 316: Marriage & Family

An Abstract of Bernard’s The Good-Provider Role: Its Rise and Fall
Jessie Bernard’s, The Good-Provider Role: Its Rise and Fall, surprisingly begins with a reference to Psalm 23 and then pivots into the Israelites journey from Egypt to Canaan, thus depicting God as the original good provider. Subsequently the role of the second “great provider” was fulfilled by the mother, who according to Bernard was the known “gather, planter, and general factotum” (Bernard 1981:43). As depicted by the following chart, it is overwhelmingly evident that the woman’s role as the “good provider” superseded that
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Even with the lack of having an emotional connection with his family, he was still considered to be a family man. It was up to the family to understand that his role of good provider trumped everything else.
In the general conception of the role, a man’s chief responsibility is his job, so that by definition any family behaviors must be subordinate to it in terms of significance and [the job] has priority in the event of a clash (Scanzoni 1975:38). Although there were certain costs with being the good provider, there were rewards as well. It defined and shaped his masculinity, thus giving him status and rank within the community. According to Bernard, the good provider “had to achieve, to win, to succeed, to dominate” (Bernard 1981:48). They were being judged according to their accomplishments and to their level of ability to provide for them (their family). These men were over reformers who later became known as “workaholics or work intoxicated men” (Bernard 1981: 52). This alone had serious psychological implications.
By depending so heavily on his breadwinning role to validate his sense of himself as a man, instead of also letting his roles as husband, father, and citizen of the community count as validating sources, the American male treads on psychically dangerous ground. It’s always been dangerous to put all of one’s eggs into one basket (Bernard
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