The Nuclear Family Is No Longer The American Ideal

950 words - 4 pages

Times have changed; the nuclear family is no longer the American ideal because family needs have changed since the 1950's. This American convention of a mother and father and their two children, were a template of films and early television as a depiction of the American family life. Now seen as archaic and cliché by today’s standards, but the idea is common throughout many of the first world nations in the world. This ideal was a vast departure from the past agrarian and pre industrial families, and was modeled and structured as the ‘American dream’ father working, mother maintaining the household and children molded to be simulacra of the parents. This portrayal was not the standard; many communities throughout America had a different structure due to social and racial values or economic constraints. The 1950’s also brought about a change in technology that brought the world to everyone’s homes and gave people plenty to think about.
A television in the home wasn’t just a family time activity, the radio serials of earlier generations were similar, but with the images and nationwide spectrum brought into the home, it was easier conceptualize the events of the world. The television was becoming a window to the world, sitcom dramas and the nightly news were stark contrasts, seeing your favorite characters live their lives was nice but when the news told of warfare and hidden communist threats. Society began to see that other groups in the nation weren’t like the nuclear family, that many events on the nightly news were real and not rumors and easily dismissed. The influence of advertising and television, gave people the idea of items and status equaling happiness, economic prosperity led to the replacement of family functions. Independence of thought and pro–feminist movements led to differences in family roles, this coupled with the changes being broadcast into people’s homes led to people being more independent and seeing the nuclear family structure as less appealing. The television was becoming a window to the world, sitcom dramas and the nightly news were stark contrasts, seeing your favorite characters live their lives was nice but when the news told of warfare and hidden communist threats.
The industrialization of earlier eras pushed some into suburbs and many in the city into tenement housing. The groups had different views of the world and sometimes how they saw their place in it all. Although it seemed stereotypical that certain racial groups fitted into these environs, they developed an individual nature that effected how families were structured. The changes of thought in people during the 1960’s brought about pro-feminist and African American empowerment movements that had people realize that the American dream seemed to be a concept that was archaic and the society needed to mature, and the family structure changed too. Reliable and convenient contraception and the availability of...

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