A Traditional Family

Sometimes I think the media makes us stupid.

Can someone give me a logical definition of the “traditional family”? Or “traditional family values”? When politicians and people in general use this phrase, are they referring to the average middle-class Caucasian family of the fifties? Are they referring to the outdated and preconceived motion that men are the head of the household? I wonder if there even is a traditional family. What cultural biases and predispositions form the mold of what should be seen as “traditional”, and should the traditional family even be considered a quality representation of America today?

Let me give you my thoughts on what a traditional family should be like. Traditional families should love one another unconditionally. The members of a traditional family should never hurt one another with malice, and they should always trust each other and cooperate. They should possess solid communication skills, and an unwritten message of “we will support you, no matter what.”

Child abuse. Domestic violence. I’m 100% sure that those things are damaging traditional families, no matter how you interpret the phrase. Statistics, statistics, statistics. Families are torn apart, and tear each other apart, by hurting one another. Husbands beating wives. Wives beating children. Children seeing dad beat mom and modeling that behavior in the future, perpetuating the cycle of abuse. Dad screaming curse words at mom. Mom crying. Dad screaming curse words at child. Child crying. Child developing with self-esteem issues. Child suffering from psychological illness later in life.

Notice how the family in this picture is Caucasian, and superficially appear to be middle class. Makes you think. Image via http://www.kimdouglas.org.

Divorce. I’m pretty sure the traditional family doesn’t involve a mother and father, or a mother and a mother, or a father and a father living apart from one another, not speaking, and failing to cooperate. Statistics, statistics, statistics. Sure, some divorces are warranted. But I wonder how many divorces are caused by a lack of proper communication. Perhaps divorce counseling would help? After all, those statistics certainly show that divorce leads to a higher rate of emotional damage in the children who witness it.

Oh, look, another Caucasian and supposedly middle-class family! Notice how this picture portrays a man and a woman experiencing frustration. Image via http://las-vegas-drunk-driving-attorney.com.

Teen pregnancy. I’m not saying that teenagers are incapable of caring for their children, because that’s not true. However, I’m sure that most would be better off having kids when they are financially stable and able to focus a large portion of their attention to their children, instead of searching for a stable job. Statistics, statistics, statistics. I know some teens who feel pressured to have sex while they’re still young because they feel that that is society’s expectation – just, no. Don’t let the media beguile you and make you make bad decisions. Research.

One of my least favorite statistics is that teens who become pregnant are less likely to attend college. Image via http://www.beta-gibbs.pcsb.org.

Now, what I find really funny/frustrating to the point of humor is when people say that when a man and a man marry each other, they are going against traditional family values. Is that a serious statement? Find me a statistic about how gay marriage causes psychological illness, or economically unstable families, or death. Find me a statistic, or some remotely logical argument about why we should be wasting our time debating the right for people to love each other instead of these myriad issues that are actually harming families in the United States of America.

This is my attempt to rationalize the frustration I feel when I see people holding signs that say “fags go to hell.” Do child abusers not go to hell? Why don’t they deserve signs? Why aren’t people eating at restaurants that explicitly state that they are against child abuse? This is my attempt to explain the anger I feel when people campaign to force apart families who could lovingly raise children, who have no communication issues, who are perfectly fine and in no danger of getting divorced.

This is my attempt to express the influx of emotions I experience when I witness a teenager succumb to some pitiful pathos a politician or ignorant person throws out against gay marriage instead of logically thinking things through.

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I’d love to hear other people’s opinions about this. Am I the only one who feels this way? I usually don’t publicize my posts on Facebook, but I am with this one – maybe someone from there could offer an argument that will make sense to me. Or some form of mutual understanding.

8 Comments

Filed under Society

8 responses to “A Traditional Family

  1. Here’s my opinion: I agree with you.

  2. invisiblesimmer

    Before I comment, you should know I live in Canada and have all my life, where gay marriage is legal and has been since 2005. So my view may be a little distorted because of this.

    I actually took a entire university course called “Family Issues Across a Lifespan” last year. In this course, we looked at a variety of different family setups, from the nuclear family of a man, a woman, and children, to same-sex couples to common-law partners and many more. I think the reason we had to do this was because most people still think of a family as a husband, a wife and their children they have together. People are slow to change as a whole, so viewing couples that have children from previous marriages, or single parents, or common-law parents as actually families has been a long and slow path

    However, I think that gay marriage is the most recent thing in the media, so this is what people are getting worked up about now. I can’t guarantee it, but I would assume when divorce became legalized, people were just as upset, but it wasn’t as big because they didn’t have all the social media back then that we have right now. I just looked back on my notes, and divorce laws were VERY slow to change. The first divorce law that was mentioned in my course was the English Matrimonial Act in 1857 where the man could file for divorce if the woman was adulterous but the woman could only file if the man was physically abusive or had abandoned her. It took over 100 years for that law to change.

    So while I agree with you that gay marriage should be allowed and become included in the “definition” of a family, I have a feeling it’ll be a slow process to get all the stigma out of society, especially since there is still some stigma towards divorce.

    On a different note, that’s two posts in a row I felt I had something to say :D

    • Hm… I hadn’t thought of comparing gay marriage to divorce before, interesting point! While I do think divorce does create some issues, it is a necessary part of our society, so I can see why it would take time for laws about it to change. I just hope gay marriage eventually is legalized to the same extent and receives even less stigma than divorce, because it’s not bad at all. Also, the course you took sounds super intriguing!

      I’m glad you’ve been able to comment on my posts, and it’s great that in Canada gay marriage is legal and has been since 2005. Thanks for reading!

  3. Thank you – I’m so happy to find someone talking about this with an open mind and heart. You made my day!

  4. jogijahn

    I hope you don’t take this in offence to you or your beliefs because I admire you for posting your thoughts and I’m just not a very confrontational person, but I feel like I need to say something about this subject. First off, I grew up in one of those “traditional families” with the dad and mom happily married with two little kids and I know that a lot of people would give a lot for something like that, so I know how important having good caring parents are. I just wanted to state that before I say more.
    Pertaining to the controversy with gay marriage, I disagree with the bond because of my religious beliefs, but I do understand why it’s upsetting because gay relationships are still bonds just like one between a man and woman that some people choose to have and the government shouldn’t be able to refuse their right to have a legal bond. Yes I am against gay “marriage” but only because of the biblical sense of the word. I think that so many people are so against gay marriage only because of that and if the government could find some way to just make a legal bond between a man and man or woman and woman I think that kind of law would pass. Maybe I’m just optimistic, but if I were in charge that is something I would try to do.
    Again please don’t take offence to anything I have said, I don’t want to be confrontational just wanted to share my thoughts. :)

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I’m not a confrontational person either, though I do like to debate and discuss things of interest in a controlled environment like this one.

      While I respect your opinion and am glad that you present it in a polite way, I disagree. I don’t think religion has to be involved in marriage at all – I know that it is, because I’m not an idiot, but it shouldn’t have to be. Besides, isn’t marriage and the “bond” I think you’re referring to supposed to symbolize true love, commitment, mutual compassion, etc.? I don’t see how the bible has to do with any of those things, and even then I have religious friends who are very for gay marriage. There are no studies that show that having gay parents will detract from the relationship’s quality or the quality of their children (if they decide to have them), so making a lesser legal bond for gays is unnecessary and a waste of time. Just let gays get married. Simple as that.

      Thank you again for sharing your two cents, even if we disagree!

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