Summary Of Stephanie Coontz's The Way We Never Were Summary

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In this documentary, The Way We Never Were, Stephanie Coontz discusses the myths and realities of marriage and families in history as well as in present day and examines the consequences of the development of marriage throughout history.
Beginning with the single parent families the myth is that single parent families are only a new trend when really they’ve been around for centuries. Coontz says that at the beginning of the 19th century one parent households were common because of the extremely high death rate that plagued the nations. Similarly, step families which one would think is a recent idea has also been around since the 19th century due to the high death rate which increased the chances of remarrying and combining families. The myth that
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In regards to divorce the myth was that it never occurred in history but in reality divorce was quite common. For people in the upper class they would marry incestuously so that divorce was easier because the church didn’t permit incest. Similarly, for people in the lower class they could live with a person that they either were or were not married to and then divorce that person by claiming that they gave words of consent to someone else. The myth that adultery and having sexual intercourse out of wedlock didn’t exist in history was false because as Coontz explains, many political figures had mistresses and it wasn’t unheard of. In addition, we see that marriages were more stable leading up to, and throughout, the 19th century because the man and woman were seen as one; this is because women were property and men controlled their every move so it was hard to have independence. Today we know that marriages can be more problematic because there is more autonomy and fluidity.
Speaking of fluidity in marriage, when Coontz discusses marital partners, she reinforces that it is no myth that arranged marriages were the most common in history and in

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