A Lecture At Dickinson College Essay

897 Words Nov 9th, 2016 4 Pages
Two people joining their lives together as one unit has existed for all of humanity.
However, what we would call a marriage in contemporary times has changed its meaning, structure, and impact since the first couple was ever brought together. Dr. Stephanie Coontz gives a lecture at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania that discusses common myths and realities about the changing nature of marriage and families throughout history.
This myth and reality comparison begins even in the title of Coontz’s talk; she immediately checks the notion that the “traditional” family has been anything more than a brief time in history that served as a short-lived placeholder for strict gender roles and a masculine power structure. Coontz addresses this by presenting a few aspects of the family that are commonly demonized when talking about marriage within the last thirty to forty years. The first of these is single parent homes, which most people believe to be the worst situation in which a child can grow up. Coontz dispels this view, however, by citing that children of single parent homes are often better fed, better educated, and better adjusted than their nuclear family age mates. She also states that for most of history, because of high male death rates due to out of home hazards, single parent families were in fact the norm. The poster ideal of a stable, two parent household is not one that has traditionally existed.
In fact, it was not until the 1970s that fewer single parent families were…

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