The reading that stuck out to me this week was the “3 Ways to Talk About Nontraditional Family Structures Appropriately” written by Shoshana Devora. I liked it because it talked about how the “American Dream” of two kids, a mom, a dad, and a white picket fence is not really the “American Dream” anymore.
In today’s society we talk about accepting everyone: gay, straight, trans, queer, bi, etc. and with that come accepting their families. Modern families can include so many different people and are rarely just two kids and their happy, heterosexual parents. My favorite line that Devora uses is at the beginning of the article “These days, many families that start off using the nuclear model will adapt into something else entirely”(1)
I think that the quote really reigns through in my family. We started off as a mom, a dad, two daughters, and a dog. Eventually we added another daughter and another dog. Still we were the “typical American family”. Eventually we moved and our aunt and uncle moved into our basement. Five years later and they move out, our grandmother moves in as well as all out other aunt’s stuff as she moved to Columbia. So now we have my grandmother living in our basement and a bunch of my mother’s family’s stuff stored away for a time when they come back. We adapted into something else based on the needs of our extended family.
This article is really relevant with gender pronouns as well. Like we talked about discussing people and using the correct pronouns, we have to watch our language when speaking about families. We have to be aware that other people’s families have completely different dynamics. A child’s care-givers might not be his parents, instead it might be their aunt in uncle, or grandmother. Children might have two moms or dads, or live with their friends. I like that this is a topic that is being discussed, because it is as important as talking about gender and sexuality even though it might not be directly related.
I did some more research on modern families and came across a really cool website that focuses on exactly that: modern families. It is the Family Equality Council website which helps to include all types of families and “Ensuring the American Dream for All Families”. Instead of focusing on the American Dream as a mom, dad, two children and picket fence, the website focuses on the the American Dream as access to a good education, the ability to work at a job with livable wages, raise and provide for a family, own a home in safe neighborhoods of their choice and live with dignity and security (2). It has nothing to do with the look of the family, but how they succeed in living as a family. It is a really cool website and I really encourage everyone to look at it!
Family Equality Council Website: http://www.familyequality.org/
(1) Devora, Shoshana. “3 Ways to Talk About Nontraditional Family Structures Appropriately”. May 2014. http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/05/talk-about-nontraditional-family/. Thursday 23 June 2016.
(2) Family Equality Council. June 2016. http://www.familyequality.org/. Thursday 23 June 2016.