Is The American Family Really? Essay

1197 Words Sep 29th, 2015 5 Pages
Is the American family really in a crisis or is it just evolving at a more advanced rate than society? According to the sociologist, Michael Kimmel, “[t]hough the family feels like one of the most fragile of social institutions, it is also perhaps among the most resilient” (Kimmel 143). It seems fragile because of the decline of marriage rates, the increase in divorce rates, and the increase in cohabiting couples. However, the family is one of the most resilient social institutions, because it is “able to adapt to changing economic, social, and cultural circumstances and remain the foundation of society” (Kimmel 142). Besides, statistics alone do not prove the failing condition of the American family, nor truly represent what it means to be a family.
According to Kimmel, the notion of what constitutes a family is confusing to the American population and has been confusing for decades. The main reason is that Americans have a “romanticized notion that the family form of the 1950’s… is the timeless trope that all families forms out to emulate” (Kimmel 143). This 1950’s family model is a mythic model that has nothing to do with reality. The history of the American family is a roller coaster with its ups on egalitarianism and its downs in the oppression and separations of spheres – private versus productive.
In the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth century, American families enjoyed “intimate relationships between husbands and wives and between parents and children” (Kimmel…

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