The Word Family Essay

1638 WordsApr 29, 20167 Pages
The word family is such a perplexing and tricky topic to define and describe. That’s because of how many ways a single person can explain it. Nowadays, there are so many arguments about what a family actually is. Is a family considered to be made up of a heterosexual married couple, and that has two kids? Well, that 's what Brian Powell, author of Changing Counts, Counting Change: Toward a More Inclusive Definition of Family, found when he explored the web in search of what a family was. I Googled “family” and looked at its pictorial representations. The images presented a group of close-knit and happy people, but if one looks closer at these pictures, one will also notice that these groups almost always are made up of what appear to be a father, a mother, and their children (most often two children: an older boy and his younger sister). These pictures typify what Canadian sociologist Dorothy Smith (1993) coined as the Standard North American Family (SNAF)—which strongly privileges heterosexual married households and, in particular, those that include children and those in which women and men assume traditional gender roles. The SNAF often is portrayed as “the family” and the gold standard by which other family arrangements are evaluated—often as “lesser” families or not as families at all. These other family arrangements—which are nearly invisible in the aforementioned Google images—include biracial families, single-parent families, adoptive families, childless families,

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