The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap By Stephanie Coontz Analysis

1998 Words 8 Pages
In the book, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz, the author deconstructs various types of stereotypes and myths embodied by television shows that romanticize family life and gender roles. Coontz (1992) states that these idealizations promote the “traditional family” myth which she describes as “an ahistorical amalgam of structures, values, and behaviors that never coexisted in time and place” (p.9). The notions derived from this myth are a compound of characteristics that resemble mid-nineteenth century and early 20th century paradigms concerning family life (Coontz, 1992, p.9). Coontz (1992) describes both components in detail in Chapter 1 describing the first as a mother-child oriented family …show more content…
In this chapter, Coontz addresses the constant pressure and scrutiny women face when balancing careers and family life. According to Coontz (1992), people have accused women of destroying the morality and integration of their families’ by adopting “self-seeking, materialistic lifestyles” promoted by feminism. Coontz (1992) then discusses the two origins of Mother’s Day: the first celebrated motherhood as a political force whereas the second viewed it as a reinforcement of the domestic role women take in their private lives (p.152). The later definition was the catalyst of future marketing and commercialization of motherhood highlighting the domestic role women were expected to take which was far from being a social activist. Loosing such significance, as described by Coontz, encase women in a role that offered comfort to their companion and their children by putting their personal fulfillment on hold (1992, …show more content…
She states that “…most of their ‘common knowledge’ concerning the history of black families is simply false, and many of the modern facts they cite half-truths that… hamper responsible discussion of the dilemmas facing Africans today” (Coontz, 1992, p.236). Coontz also discusses that despite cultural and social differences, African American families prevailed in several diverse forms through the history of the United States. As stated by Coontz (1992), “…the tremendous commitment of African Americans to family ties meant that history of black family life was never different from that of whites as some observers claimed”

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