The Status Of The Ideal American Family

1182 Words5 Pages
Change is inevitable, and history has shown us that change in family status has been both positive and negative. Historically, the flux in family diversity can be traced back for centuries, and we see many different practices that have had successes and failures amongst families in the United States. Over the last six decades, the image of the ideal American family has changed, as well as the political and economic status of women. The development of relative economic power for women has led to a change in family structure. The evolution of families can be seen in the media and television shows, and the contrast between shows in the mid 20th century and now, is shell shocking. As new developments in human society continue to grow, family…show more content…
In the show, the father was seen giving advice and lecturing the children while the wife was folding laundry, or setting the table for a meal. The viewers were exposed to the show, which enforced the societal norm of male dominated gender stratification. However, the rushed marriages and desire for children following the war was no longer the American dream. In the early 1960 's the employment of women increased exponentially and their economic status increased. A national poll of American housewives claimed, "90 percent of them said they did not want their daughters to follow in their footsteps," and to "postpone marriage longer and get more education and work experience." (Coontz, 51) By 1970, fifty percent of the women in the United States were employed. Women became independent from a "breadwinning" husband and divorce rates increased with "about half of all marriages end[ing] in divorce." (Rutter, 329) Women liberation movements promoted the liberating feelings of new family possibilities with a visions of independent success. Throughout the 70 's the expansion of social freedoms and economic opportunity for women led to a difficult time for families to function. Women began to feel a new sense of power and were the mostly the decision makers when it came to divorce. These patterns continued up into the 90 's with more than two thirds of the women in the
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