The section about family structure and roles interested me the most this week, and I felt like I could identify the most with it.
In middle school, I had a couple of close friends who lived in non-traditional families. One of my friends lived with her mother and grandmother. The other lived with her uncle, aunt, and cousin. You could say that I live in a traditional family home, and as I got closer to them, I slowly discovered how their families were different than mine. As a young child, I did not know how to react to these situations well and was quick to judge their families. I was surprised to learn how different their families were to mine, and asked questions often. This is when the blog post “3 Ways to Talk About Nontraditional Family Structures Appropriately”, by Shoshana Devora would have definitely come in handy for me. This blog post describes three different ways that you can respectively talk to someone if you do not know how heir family is, or how to ask polite questions about their family. For example, you can be mindful not to use specific male or female pronouns if you are not sure what the sexuality of someone’s parents are. Reading this blog post made me realize how differently I could have acted as a child towards my friends in respect to their families, which were simply different to me but normal to them. I think my parents should have taught me to be more respectful and open to meeting people that might have different families than ours.
The next two readings that I liked have to do with marriage and relationships.
I am currently in a serious relationship, and whether or not I will marry this person or someone else, I do think about marriage and of course would want it to last a lifetime. This is why listening to Stephanie Coontz’ lecture on marriage was very interesting to me. First, she addressed what her own views on marriage were and what things she thought helped marriages last a long time. She then addressed some actual research that has been done on marriage to explain certain qualities in couples that can be predictors of whether or not their marriage would last. I loved learning about this and it made me reflect on my own relationship’s qualities. Some of the things that she stated helped a marriage last were the following: intellectual conversation and balance in the work of both spouses. When I think about it, It makes sense that both of these qualities lead to a long lasting marriage. It is important that each person in the relationship feels acknowledged. It is also important that the work between the two is balanced, at work and at home, which leads me to the last and final reading.
In Brigid Schulte’s article “‘The Second Shift’ at 25: Q & A with Arlie Hochschild”, she interviews Arlie Hochschild, the auther of a book titled “The Second Shift”, 25 years after it was published. “The Second Shift” talked about how 25 years ago, more women were getting into the workforce, but they were still coming home froom work with the second job of taking care of the home and family, which Hochschild called “the second shift” of women. 25 years later, Schulte now asks Hochschild if anything has changed since her book was published. Hochschild’s answer is basically “yes and no”. She says the good thing is that “women are now half the labor force and they’ve moved up in it, they’ve earned more.” (Schulte, 1). The bad news is that “we’re holding on to long hours at the professional level, and there’s been virtually no trickle down of work-family reforms to blue collar jobs.” (Schulte, 1-2), meaning that women are not being compensated at home for their long work hours, and are still coming home to even more work. Of course the only thing I have to compare to is my own family. Even though I think that my parents split up the work in the household pretty well, I’m sure that this is not the case for many women in other families. I do believe that this is an issue that should be solved but it will only take time, like Hochschild says.