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Family Definition Essay

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The Utopian white-picket-fence family has had a major influence on the way in which we now visualize the nuclear family. A traditional family consists of a dominant, breadwinning father, and a submissive, caretaking mother who holds the preponderance regarding the well-being of the children. Women were considered secondary to men and treated as dependents. As our modern civilization refines, gender normalities are no longer rigorously binding. The modification instilled in regards to the treatment of women in households within the last few decades has truly demonstrated the breakthrough we’ve made as humanity. In this essay, we will continue to explore the abolishment of the nuclear family and will break down the injustice women continue to experience in their everyday lives.

Over the past few generations, the dynamic of the family environment has majorly changed. According to David Popenoe, there has been an alarming decline in the family’s structure and functions in society. By definition, “the family” is essentially described as a process, and system influenced by every member within. In the past, the well-known nuclear family has had difficulties being understood and balanced within the household. The distribution of tasks given to the wife compared to the husband has demonstrated inequality and superiority. Social changes in correlation to the growth and advancement of standards will increase the overall impact on the family and its functions. The position of social norms strictly underlining the importance of individuality for the pure fulfillment of humans has, in conclusion, weakened the social institution of the family.

One of the main roles of family, no matter where they are located or how they’re constructed, is to teach and transfer the moral and social values of modern life. Work values are normally stemmed from the influence that your parents sprung upon you. Extrinsic rewards are sometimes described as achieving non-work-related goals. Motherhood in terms of extrinsic values is all reliant on her marital status. A parent’s work values and orientation may have a direct effect on the potential livelihood of their children. One could argue that marriage may increase the financial capabilities and responsibilities of men and reduce those of women; therefore, making women more financially dependent on their husbands. It is important to be knowledgeable about this topic so it can ensure that women have the capabilities to survive without a man if that’s what her life holds for her.

In the course of the early 1970s and early 1980s, there was a large escalation in pro-feminist views of mother roles among both women and men. Diverse family forms are being introduced, and the social liberation of women over the past few decades has become contrary to the nuclear “male breadwinner” normality. The wives were held secondary to their husbands in all dynamics. The mother’s responsibilities stemmed from caring for the children, cooking, and cleaning. Mothers almost always hold the most responsibility to improve the well-being of men and their children. Meanwhile, the fathers were solely responsible for working and providing for the family. Gender inequality was the norm, hegemonic masculinity was practiced throughout society; which overall, encouraged hypermasculinity among males, therefore, subsiding the needs and wants of women.

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In a nuclear family in which mothers are unemployed, fathers spend about ¼ of their time with their children. Many fathers have almost no responsibility when it comes to raising their children. In families with employed mothers, parental activity is much higher. In the past, fathers were responsible for assuring their children grew up with values. When the father-son relationship is strong, studies show an increased sense of masculinity in the boy. Father groups give the opportunity for men to engage with their children, without the participation of the children’s mothers. Involvement in ‘fun’ activities may be more enjoyable or easier parts of parenting and childcare, women acknowledge the importance of this time for men to be with the children. This action held the purpose of creating an opportunity for men to engage with other men in ways divergent from perceived norms for men, which can strengthen “manhood”. Absent fathers have been known to cause distraught in the development of the child. Not only because a sex role model is not present, but because certain roles are now unfulfilled. The importance of the fatherly role in a child’s life will make or break their capabilities of living a “typical” livelihood. The income that men with wives accumulated in the employment gain, or from the various females in the household may have increased men’s support and willingness to fight for gender equality. There was once an unspoken fear that there would be an imbalance within the family if the mother went off to work. When using the word work which refers to paid employment, this implies that women’s domestic responsibilities are not considered work. This is important as it ties into the conversation of shared responsibilities within a household and the discredit women are constantly faced with. Taking initiative within a household can potentially “cancel” gender and create positive effects on families.

During the 1960s, the feminist movement outbreak occurred. This included numerous amounts of political campaigns to help fight against the various issues women face: domestic violence, labor rights, sexual harassment, and more. The goal of this rebellion was to end colonial powers and gain independence for a national group and to end oppression. The first-wave feminism focused on legal issues and mainly emphasized women’s right to vote. The second-wave feminism focused on the suffrage of women and gender equality (in the workplace, family life, etc.). Lastly, third-wave feminism expands on the topic of feminism and the diversity of women. The feminist outbreak is known for being comparable with radical feminism because both had the objective of freeing members of society and leading them to a better and more liberated lifestyle. Overall, the feminist movement was very successful as it granted women a lot more liberation and righteousness.

In the 21st century, the livelihood of individuals regarding the way in which they live would be completely shunned in the past. But, as a society, we significantly matured our outlook and have worked together to destroy injustices and misogyny against women. Modernization has led to noticeable changes in terms of marriage, divorce, gender roles, and one-parent families. Now, both parents have the ability to work and in some cases, the wives end up being the “bread-winners” for their family. Women have the ability to work in parliament and use their voices to speak on modern issues in society. Mindsets relating to marriage have shifted exponentially since the introduction of divorce in 1997. There has been an adjustment in the typical related marriage and living patterns. In the past, if a man and woman lived together without being married they were said to be living in sin or if same-sex individuals had romantic relations together, they would be deemed to hell. In modern days society, we welcome the LGBTQ+ community and same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005. We have successfully dismantled stereotypes and have become a melting pot of diversity. There are various types of families out there who equally share the same amount of love: adoptive, single-parent, co-parents, same-sex couples, etc.

In conclusion, within the past few decades, our society has made major progress in regard to the fight for female equality. We’ve come to be a more inclusive generation who strides towards being open-minded and educated on topics at hand. From the 1960s to 2019 we’ve made a complete 180 turn on how women are treated in the workplace, in their family life, and within society as a whole. The nuclear family and modern-day family are complete opposites in every demeanor. This has made a long-term positive change in the treatment of family members. Therefore, the abolition of the nuclear family has subsided the judgmental livelihoods that some individuals have pressured onto others and gave all parties the willingness to live their best lives to their full potential.

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Family Definition Essay. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Family Definition Essay.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
Family Definition Essay. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
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