Sociology by tyndale


Chapter 18

        Traditional Image of Family
   The traditional image of the ideal American family
    is a monolithic image in which the family is
     Rigidly nuclear.
     Suburban Middle class.

     Traditional gender roles.

      This image was idealized in 1950s and 60s TV shows
      like Ozzie & Harriet and Leave it to Beaver. The
      reality is that only about 10% of American families fit
      this image. American families are actually very diverse.

                    Basic Concepts
   Kinship: social relationships based on blood, marriage,
    or adoption.
   Family: a relative permanent social group of 2 or more
    people who share a kinship.
     Some qualify this definition to add that, in addition to the
      above, these people live together.
     Note: Social conservatives typically view family in much
      more narrow terms. They see it as a legal marriage between
      a man and a woman. Social liberals disagree, arguing that
      we need a more inclusive definition of the concept.

                Basic Concepts
   Family of origin: the family one is born into.
   Family of procreation: the family one forms,
    typically to have kids.
   Marriage: a socially approved mating
    arrangement that is expected to be relatively

     The Family in Cross-Cultural
   While all societies recognize families, they do not do
    family the same way.
   Industrial societies tend to favor the nuclear family.
    This is where there are only the parents and the
    children (and pets) living under one roof.
   Non-industrial societies tend to favor the extended
    family.This is where the parents and kids live with or
    very close to other kinfolk.
   The Americans tend to favor the nuclear family, but
    this is mainly in the middle class. Among the American
    lower class, extended families are quite common. There
    is much variety in American families.
 Why are nuclear families so
typical of industrial societies?

                Why Nuclear Families?
   1. Geographic mobility.
       In industrial societies, work and family are differentiated institutions.
        People have relocate often.
   2. Social mobility.
       Our society is also socially mobile, with a fair amount of upward
        mobility on the ladder of success.
    Both geographic and social mobility tend to weaken extended
    family ties. Nuclear families are highly mobile.
   3. American values.
       Another reason is that Americans like individualism and privacy, and
        the nuclear family is a more closed and private family system with
        fewer relatives “butting in.”
   4. The rise of a large middle class brought more affluence.
       Affluence made it possible to afford to live independently from other
        kinfolk. Nuclear families tend to be middle class families.      7
    Comparison of American and Iraqi Families
         American                Iraqi
   Romantic love is the basis of      Arranged marriage is more
    marriage.                           common. 50% are between
                                        cousins – this promotes clan
   Most are nuclear families.         Most are extended families.
   More egalitarian with              More patriarchal with elders
    democratic authority.               in authority, more
   More exogamy.                      Strict endogamy for most.
   Individualism emphasized.          Familism (family over
                                        individual) is emphasized.
                     Marriage Patterns
   Cultural norms regulate whom an individual is allowed to
    marry, and these norms vary across cultures.
   Endogamy: marriage between people of the same group or
       Most Americans are fairly endogamous by race, religion, social class,
        and age. We tend to marry people who are like ourselves, but we are
        a relatively free society so this is not so strictly enforced.
   Exogamy: marriage between people of different groups or
    categories, such as between a white and a black person, or a
    Jew and a Christian.
       Since the 1960s, Americans are more open to exogamous marriages
        by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.

             Monogamy Vs. Polygamy
   Industrial societies tend to favor norms of monogamy: one
    partner has one mate.
       Our high divorce rate brings serial monogamy, where one mate is
        replaced with another.
       Only 1/4th of the world‟s societies limit marriage to monogamy, yet
        most marriages across the world are monogamous. This is due to
        the expense of having multiple spouses, the similar ratio of men to
        women, and the fact that people seem to like pairing off.
   Non-industrial societies have more norms of polygamy: one
    partner has multiple mates.
       Polygyny: one man mates with multiple women.
       Polyandry: one woman mates with multiple men. This is fairly rare,
        given that most societies are patriarchal.
         Family Authority Patterns
   Patriarchy: male social dominance. This pattern is
    found all over the world. Most societies are patriarchal.
   Matriarchy: female social dominance. This is so rare
    that some argue there are no matriarchal societies in the
   However there are societies where women are relatively
    equal to men. These are egalitarian societies.
       The Americans and Europeans are moving from patriarchal,
        the current arrangement, toward egalitarian authority where
        men and women share decision-making together.

    Four Historical Forces that Help
       Women Toward Equality
   1. Industrial Revolution changed standards.
       The new era emphasizes cognition over brute power, and women
        are just as smart as men.
   2. Decline of religious codes and the rise of secular society.
       Traditional Christian religion sanctified social hierarchy. The father
        was defined as above the mother, who was above the children.
   3. Decreasing size of the family gave women time.
       1800 – 8 children on average. This is burdensome for women.
       1900 – 4 children.
       2000 – 2.3 children. Women got time for more pursuits like jobs.
   4. Technology changes like the pill gave women control.
       The pill (1959) gave women control to postpone pregnancy so they
        could get educated and get better jobs.                    12
               History of U.S. Family,
              Functions, and Economy
Period       Economy Authority                 Structure       Family Functions
Pre-1800‟s   Agrarian   Patriarchy,            Modified- Almost everything, including
                        religious, women       extended economic functions.
                        have economic
                                                           Limited to child-centered and
1850-1950 Industrial    Patriarchy, more    Nuclear        emotional activities, with father
                        secular, women lost                as breadwinner and mother as
                        economic roles.                    caretaker (ideally). Children and
                                                           women become sentimentalized;
                                                           women are more sexualized.

Post-1970 Post-         Declining              Less rigidly Dual wage families means
          industrial    patriarchy, secular,   nuclear      some loss of child rearing
                        women in the                        functions to day care and
                        labor force.                        schools.
           Changing Images of Family
   1. Family as Haven. 1850s-today.
       With differentiation of work from family, work became associated
        with cold, competitive conditions while family was linked to a
        warm haven of love, especially for the husband returning home
        from work. Family expectations increased.
   2. Family as Fun. 1950s-today.
       Post WWII affluence brought new expectations of family
        recreation which raised expectations about family life as fun times.
   3. Family as Encumbrance. 1960s-today.
       More family conflicts came out in the open. The rise of a distinct
        youth culture brought a generation gap between teens and parents,
        and rising feminism increased women‟s frustration with patriarchal
        families. Since the 1960s, we are a bit more open about the family
        experience as a negative experience.                             14
         Four Key Functions of Family
   1. Socialization.
       The family is responsible for primary socialization, making it the
        most influential institution in society.
   2. Regulation of sex.
       All societies regulate sex, and all have an incest taboo (a strong more
        forbidding sex between certain kin). This taboo helps define family
        boundaries while protecting the diversity of the biological gene pool.
   3. Social placement.
       The family ascribes an immediate social status for the infant and
        provides them with a social identity.
   4. Material and emotional security.
       People in families tend to be healthier and happier than individuals
        living alone.
    Courtship in Non-Industrial Societies
   In non-industrial societies, courtship is considered too
    important to be left alone to the two individuals.
       This is due to the central economic importance of the family
        to survival.
   These cultures tend to favor arranged marriages -
    marriages set up by the parents, often when the
    children are still very young. In this system, marriage
    represents an alliance between 2 families more than 2
       Arranged marriages tend to be relative strong marriages,
        largely because the boy and girl share the same cultural values
        and attitudes. They tend to be homogamous.
   Homogamy means that the couple have similar
    characteristics. Homogamy promotes marital strength.
             Courtship in Industrial Societies
   With industrialization and growing individualism, extended
    families decline and nuclear families increase.
   The rise of personal choice (freedom) means that the
    marriage will be between 2 individuals who choose each
   Here, courtship tends to be extended, because they need to
    get to know each other on their own terms and they need to
    select the “right” partner.
       Another reason for the extensive courtship is that patriarchal
        societies tend to expect men to delay marriage so that they can
        become financially established.
   In the past, courtship used to be chaperoned by parents.
    Today it is frequently a period of sexual experimentation and
    exploration of romantic love between 2 individuals.
                           Romantic Love
   Romantic love is largely a Western ideal associated with the
    tiny aristocratic class of past monarchies. Eventually it spread
    to the vast rising middle classes of the 19th century,
    emphasizing erotic passion as the basis of marriage.
       Before then, the basis of marriage involved practical and rational
        considerations, usually involving considerations of wealth, standing,
        and family alliances.
   Today Americans are heavily socialized into the value of
    erotic romance as the basis of marriage.
       About 50% of all songs on the radio are romantic love songs.
   Americans view romantic love as the single most important
    element in courtship.
                          Romantic Love
   Romantic love emphasizes the non-rational appeal of erotic
    passion as the basis of the relationship, and this can lead to
    intense initial bonding. It is the stuff of much poetry.
       Romantic love is a non-rational criteria in a highly rationalized
        society, reminding us that we are not that rational.
   However, romantic love is highly unstable. Studies suggest
    romantic love tends to decrease over time. Marriages based
    solely on romantic love can become unstable.
       This helps explain why Americans have one of the highest divorce
        rates among stable societies. We use non-rational considerations as
        the primary basis of commitments intended to last a life time.
   Romantic love, sometimes called erotic love, is one of several types
    of love, including affection (family based – such as between parent and
    child or brother and sister), friendship, and spiritual love. Often a
    couple that marries for romantic love develops these other forms of
    love, strengthening their relationship over time.                   19
                   Romantic Love
   How is romantic love functional today?
     Industrial societies require a lot of geographical
      mobility among the workforce. A nuclear family
      bonded by romantic passion functions to make it
      easier to leave one’s parents, siblings, and friends
      behind to pursue a job.
     Given the perhaps over-rationalized nature of our
      society, romantic love (and rock „n roll) offer a
      passionate reminder that we are not machines. We
      have feelings and we are free to express them.

                       Romantic Love
   How is romantic love dysfunctional?
     Studies of couples that move away from families and
      friends to a distant city to get new jobs reveal that there is
      an initial increase in the emotional solidarity of the couple,
      but that after a year or so there is a good possibility that
      one of the partners will become overly-dependent on the
      attentions of the other and the relationship becomes
     Romantic love brings a high level of emotional intensity.
      Consequently, spousal arguments can breed aggression and
      violence. The Americans have a high rate of family violence
      and divorce partly for this reason.
     Overall, marriages based solely on romantic love are less
      strong than marriages based on practical considerations.
   The strongest marriages are characterized by
    homogamy, where the couple shares similar
    social characteristics involving age, social class,
    ethnicity, religion, and core values. The more
    homogamous the couple, the greater their long
    term compatibility.
       Fortunately, people tend to be attracted to others
        who share their values and come from a similar
        cultural background.

                    Gendered Intimacy
   Generally, whereas men use intimacy to get sex, women
    use sex to get intimacy.
       It is partly related to male and female biology. Men have a higher
        sex drive at younger ages, while women have a higher sex drive at
        older ages.
       This is also due to socialization, which encourages women to
        pursue intimacy while telling men to be less intimate and more
        autonomous and self-interested.
   This means that men and women who have been
    socialized into mainstream definitions of “masculine” and
    “feminine” are likely to experience love and marriage in
    different ways.
       It also means that women are much more likely to complain of
        the marriage as lacking in intimacy, and this may lead to divorce.
                    Gendered Intimacy
   Women tend to blend sexuality with emotional intimacy;
    men tend to separate sex and intimacy.
       For women more than men, an argument will affect her desire to
        have sex with her partner.
   Marriage brings responsibilities that passion alone cannot
    conquer, and passion itself is affected by social
       Satisfying sexual relationships are dependent upon satisfying
        social relationships, especially for women.
       When the quality of the husband-wife interaction declines, the
        frequency and quality of sex tends to decline as well.
       The key to marital bliss is in the everyday quality of spousal
        interaction. They must enjoy each other‟s company in rooms
        beyond the bedroom.
   Research suggests that romantic love involves a high level of
    fantasy. People fall in love with others for what they would
    like them to be – not as they really are.
   Women, more than men, are socialized to fall in love with the
    idea of marriage. Consequently women tend to have higher
    expectations about marriage, and are therefore more likely to
    become disappointed with the reality of marriage.
   In marriage, spouses must learn to be realistic about their
    expectations of their partners.
   There are several significant periods in a marriage that involve
    re-negotiation of roles and that many bring conflicts.
       1. The first baby.
       2. When the last child leaves home.
              Problems of Childrearing
   Childrearing places special stresses on the family.
       1. Economic stress. While children are an economic asset in
        agrarian economies, they are an economic liability in industrial
        economies. It has become very expensive to raise a child.
       2. Social stress. Due to traditional gender roles, the mother tends to
        lose much of her social life because she bears primary responsibility
        for parenting the child, and she often becomes more dependent upon
        the man.
           Women experience more role conflicts due to conflicting
            expectations as a parent versus a wage earner. Research suggests
            that women do benefit from having roles outside the family,
            however. This is because family stress can be buffered by having
            enjoyable non-family roles. This is called role buffering.
       3. Psychological stress. It is not uncommon for men to feel jealous
        toward new babies and to feel more personal stress as the
             Marriage in Later Life
   Today couples can expect to live into their mid to late
    70s. This is 20 years longer than 150 years ago.
   By the age of 50, the children have typically left home,
    leaving the husband and wife home alone to readjust
    their relationship.
       This can be stressful and it is not uncommon for divorce to
        occur in this phase of marriage. They may learn they have
        little in common other than the kids.
       This can also be a stressful time because motherhood may
        have been the wife‟s master status and she must now
        renegotiate her identity.

                Varieties of Family Life
   1. Social Class.
       The lower the social class, the greater the economic stresses and
        the more difficult to sustain a family.
       For this reason, people in the lower class are less likely to marry,
        and once married, are more likely to divorce than other social
       The lower the social class, the less nuclear and more extended the
        family form is likely to be. This is because extended families offer
        more support for poor people.
           The only exception involves the upper class, where extended
            families are common in order to promote in-group solidarity
            and to protect in-group wealth. Rich people are expected to
            marry other rich people – and this helps sustain extended
            family wealth. This is throw-back to the aristocracies of old.
       The family is our most adaptive institution, and we adapt our
        families to specific conditions.                                     28
             Varieties of Family Life
   2. Ethnicity and Race
       A. Hispanics (about 15% of the U.S. population)
          More emphasis on familism, which means loyalty and
           duty to family.
          Tend to lean toward extended families, partly due to
           Hispanics being disproportionately poor.
          Tend to support traditional rigid gender and family roles
           that support patriarchy.

                     Ethnicity and Race
   B. Blacks (about 13% of the U.S. population)
       Highest percentage of single mothers.
            Almost 50% of black families are headed by a single mother,
             compared with about 14% among whites. Female headed
             households are common among the poor of all races.
       The black family has been strongly shaped by the legacy of
        racism and the poverty brought by racism.
          Blacks are three times more likely to be poor than whites.
          Average black household income is only 2/3rds that of whites.

          Blacks suffer from higher rates of unemployment, partly because
           many live in the ghetto, where unemployment is high.

   Blacks are less like to marry, and once married, are
    more likely to divorce than whites.
   Like white families, black families tend to be nuclear in
    the middle class and extended in the lower class.
   Today, more than 1/3rd of all black children grow up in
   Yet there is remarkable strength in many poor black
    families because extended family members support
    each other.
       It is practical for single mothers to rely extensively upon her
        extended family supports for help with day care,
        transportation, housing, emotional support, and other vital
                 Black fertility rates
   The birth rate for black women has generally been
    higher than for the rest of the population.
       In 1996 there were 74 births per 1000 black women,
        compared with 45 births per thousand for the American
        population overall.
       Black fertility peaked in 1989 at 91 births per 1000 black
   The high fertility rate of poor black women has been
    the focus of much debate, because the more children a
    poor mother has, the greater the economic stress.

    Why is the fertility rate higher among poor
    black families?
   Education factors. Generally, the less educated, the less likely to use
    birth control. Plus, our popular culture is highly sexualized.
   Emotional factors. Given American racism, sexism, and classism, poor
    black women are not as well respected in our society. Parenthood
    confers at least some respect for the “mother” and it produces the
    feeling of being productive in society. It may also be the case that she
    wants love, and she hopes her children will bring her love.
   Economic factors. She may hope that one of her children will become
    affluent, so she thinks the more babies she has the greater the chances.
    In reality, the more babies she has, the more economic stress she has.
   Cultural factors. In the ghetto, it is not uncommon (1) for her to see
    other girls having more babies and to see it as normal behavior, and (2)
    for young black men to feel pride by having babies from different
    women. If he can‟t be a man financially at least he can sire children to
    show he is a “real man.” Commercial hip hop doesn‟t help here.
                     Gender Issues
   American culture promotes the idea that marriage is
    more beneficial for women than for men.
       This is a myth. The myth is related to traditional gender
        role expectations that women give up their jobs upon
        marriage and childbirth to assume the role of full time
          The problem here is that it makes women dependent
           upon men, and thus gives more power and authority to
           men at the expense of gender equality.
          Another problem is that it “places all eggs in the single
           basket” of motherhood. Research suggests that people
           feel more fulfilled when they have a variety of
           productive roles.

                        Gender Issues
   Research suggests that, contrary to myth, marriage tends to
    be more beneficial for men than women.
      Married women report more illnesses and lower levels of personal
       happiness than single women. Women are more likely than men to
       feel trapped in marriage.
          Women tend to be socialized into unrealistically high expectations
           about marriage, and patriarchy takes its toll on women in every
           institution, including marriage.
      Married men report fewer illnesses and higher levels of personal
       happiness than single men.
          Men have been socialized into relatively lower expectations about
   Egalitarian marriages where the husband shares with the housework are
    associated with the highest levels of happiness, while patriarchal
    marriages where the wife has a full time wage job and also does the
    housework are associated with the lowest levels of happiness.
                           Gender Issues
   Today, American men do only about 1/3rd of the housework
    compared with women.
       This is better than it used to be, but it is inherently unfair in many
        cases because most women today have full time wage jobs.
       This issue is complex. Men are socialized to not be as clean-oriented
        as women. What is “dirty” is in the eye of the beholder, and women
        are more likely than men to perceive a dirty household.
       A key issue is whether women accept the relatively less amount of
        labor done by men. If she doesn‟t, it often means conflict.
           There are socialization implications for future-parents here.
            Should boys be socialized toward household chores like cleaning
            toilets more?
   Due to patriarchy, men have more leisure time than women
    in context of their family responsibilities.
            This may create marital conflicts too.
        Family Problems - Divorce
   Americans have one of the highest marriage rates in the
    world. Roughly 90% of all Americans eventually marry.
   But America also has the highest divorce rate in the
    world. Today about 40-45% of American marriages end
    up in divorce.
       The divorce rate peaked in the early 1980s in the high 40s
        percentage and has declined slightly since then.
       Among whites the divorce rate is just under 40%, while
        among blacks it is over 66%.
   Between 1890 and 1990 the divorce rate increased by a
    factor of ten.

      What explains the high divorce rate?
   1. Romantic love. Our culture‟s emphasis on romantic love breeds
    unstable relationships.
   2. Increases in individualism and the privatization of marriage.
    Americans spend less time with their families today. We have become
    more individualistic and privatized. The rise of television and dual-
    earner families has made it harder for spouses to connect.
   3. Women are less dependent on the wages of the husband, making
    it easier for her to leave the relationship.
   4. Children are more expensive and bring new stresses that some
    couples did not anticipate.
   5. Divorce is no longer so stigmatized today – values are changing
    - and it’s easier to obtain a divorce today.
   6. The American economy has become less stable since 1972,
    bringing new economic stresses.
   7. The high re-marriage rate means that divorced people can expect
    to find someone else.                                                 38
    Who divorces? Divorce rates are higher for the
    following categories:
   Teenagers and younger people, more than middle aged people.
   The lower social classes, where economic stresses are great.
   Where marriage was due to unexpected pregnancy.
   Where there is less homogamy between the spouses, or where the
    spouses sense they are incompatible or fight a lot.
   Where women have successful careers. Likewise, where men prioritize
    their careers over marriage, and his spouse is not economically
    dependent on him.
   Those who have already been through a divorce or whose parents
   People who move away from kinfolk and friends and become more
    socially isolated.
   People unable to cope with the loss of passion in a marriage or where
    one or both partners is immature or unfaithful.
                  Problems of Divorce
   Divorce is not necessarily a problem. When divorce is the consequence
    of abuse, it is the solution to a problem. However, divorce usually
    involves making difficult adjustments, especially if kids are involved:
   1. Emotional adjustments: sadness, depression, disappointment,
    sense of failure or loss, perhaps hostility.
      Generally women have better coping strategies than men. Women
        are more likely to seek support from friends, family and counselors.
        All else being equal, it may take the average man twice as long to
        recover (up to a year).
   2. Legal adjustments: new legal burdens, especially for estranged
   3. Community adjustments: Individuals must redefine themselves
    and become single again. Often friends divide up, favoring one or the
    other partner.
   4. Economic adjustments: women tend to suffer a drop in living
    standards, while men tend to see a rise in their living standards.    40
             Divorce Involving Parents
   More than half of all divorces involve parents who must resolve child
    custody issues.
   The traditional pattern is to award custody to the mother, because
    women have been traditionally viewed as the primary parent.
   Recently a growing number of fathers have sought custody, and now
    joint custody – where both parents retain child care responsibilities –
    is common.
      Joint custody preserves a strong bond between both parents and
        lessens the degree of hostility between the spouses. However it is
        difficult if one spouse moves away or the parents do not get along
        with each other.
   Where the mother gets custody and the father is required to pay child
    support, there is a good chance that the father will become delinquent
    after about a year, especially if there is anger or resentment by the
    father. Increasingly, the state has stepped in to force payment.
      Unpaid support contributes to the feminization of poverty, where
        women are more likely to be poor than men.                        41
             Divorce Involving Parents
   Divorce brings emotional stresses, particularly on fathers who
    are not given custody and on children.
       If the child is too young to remember, then the divorce tends to be
        less traumatizing. If the child is old enough to remember but not yet
        mature, the divorce often brings long-term trauma, and it is not
        uncommon for children to blame themselves for the divorce.
   These life changes are highly stressful in most cases. Yet studies suggest
    that children seem to fare better under divorce compared with staying in
    a family characterized by a high level of conflict and violence.
   Divorces involving legal settlements imposed on parents by judges in an
    antagonistic setting with opposing attorneys often bring poor
    settlements for one or both parties.
      When divorce is mediated by a child custody mediator, such as
        offered by neutral organizations like United Way, the settlement is
        more likely to be respected and honored by both parents. (The
        lawyer merely carries out this mediated agreement).
   As the divorce rate in the U.S. increased, so did the
    remarriage rate. Today more than 80% of those who
    divorce will remarry.
       Men are more likely to remarry than women.
   Remarriage often creates blended families composed
    of children from different marriages.
   Blended families must make special efforts to establish
    new (in-group) family boundaries to include the
       Subjecting children to new, “instant” family relationships is
        difficult and stressful. Blended families are difficult to sustain
        due to these new stresses.
                Family Violence
   The U.S. has the highest rate of family violence among
    all industrial societies.
   In 2005, more than 700,000 people were victims of
    family violence.
      73% of the victims were women.
   Today, almost 1/3rd of all female murders are due to
    family violence.
      This compares with only 4% of male murders.
   Patriarchy has a severe effect on women. Historically,
    wives were the property of the husband and it was
    permissible for him to beat her if she was disobedient.

                    Family Violence
   Our society promotes the ideal image of family as a source of
    haven, fun, and fulfillment. It also promotes the family as
    sacred and private.
   These images hide the reality of the family experience, which
    usually falls short of its ideal.
   The American nuclear family is characterized by high levels
    of emotional intensity between the spouses, which is
    wonderful in context of love. But it also helps explain
    American family violence. Passion may quickly give way to
    violent anger.
   The American emphasis on romantic love, the American
    love affair with alcohol, and the American “rat race” of
    stressful living contribute to our culture‟s high family
    violence rate. And there are other factors too.             45
                        Spousal Abuse
   The single most dreaded call by the police is the “domestic dispute”
    call. Police are more likely to be harmed by domestic disputes than
    any other call. This is due to the emotional intensity of these
   Spouse abuse occurs in all social classes, although it is more likely to
    occur in the most stressed out social class – the lower class.
   Psychologists have identified a relationship between stress and
    physical aggression.
      Wherever there is chronic stress, there is a greater likelihood of
        family abuse.
   About one in six couples have at least some violence in their
    relationship in any given year.
   Women are as likely as men to initiate violence. However,
      1. Violence against men is often retaliatory, and
      2. Women are more seriously harmed by men than the other way
        around.                                                            46
                   Spousal Abuse Causes
   1. Romance and passion create an atmosphere of intensity.
   2. Psychological sense of feeling trapped or caged in causes stress, which is linked
    to aggressive behavior.
      This sensation of feeling trapped may be caused by a bad relationship, a bad job,
        a new baby, health issues, financial stress, etc.
   3. Patriarchy. Women are devalued in patriarchal societies, and patriarchy
    encourages male authoritarianism.
      In North Carolina at the beginning of the 21st century, it was legal to rape your
        wife, providing you shared the same roof.
   4. Traditional masculinity (related to patriarchy) emphasizes brute power,
    aggression, and dominance.
   5. Immaturity by the perpetrator.
   6. The American society encourages aggressive behavior. We are socialized into
    violent action-movies and hip hop culture that celebrate our gun culture.
   7. Alcohol – America‟s favorite drink – creates the Jekyll-Hyde syndrome.
   8. Family experiences growing up: violence begets violence, reminding us that
    family violence is largely learned behavior.
   9. Social isolation. The private nuclear family isolates and hides family violence.
    When friends and extended family do not live nearby, violence is more likely.       47
            Why doesn’t she leave him?
   In the past, the law regarded domestic violence as a private
    issue between the spouses. She had few resources.
       Even today, there are relatively few women‟s shelters. In the Fall of
        2007, one of the main Charlotte women‟s shelters closed.
   Traditionally, women have had few options. Even today, most
    women remain in the abusive relationship. Why?
       She lacks sufficient family and wage resources to get out;
       Her self-esteem tends to be very low;
       she has become passive and tries to endure the violence;
       She often feels she loves him and hopes he will reform (often this
        means stop drinking) some day;
       she feels she is dependent on him, perhaps because they have
        children and she does not have a good job or family resources;
       she may have tried to get away but lacked the resources and ended up
        back with him again. After that it is harder to take action.    48
                           Child Abuse
   In 2005, there were 3 million reports of alleged child abuse or
       Roughly 1500 children die each year from child abuse.
   Child abuse is the ultimate taboo. This is because it is a severe violation
    of trust and power in a dependent relationship.
      Children are dependents. They must depend on their families to
        provide for them, and this special power must not be abused.
   Child abuse is both physical and emotional. Children suffer deep and
    lasting scars
      They may somehow blame themselves;
      They learn to distrust others;
      They have difficulty loving others;
      They frequently abuse themselves with drugs, prostitution, and other
        self-abusive behaviors.
              Who are the abusers?
   Child abuse is largely learned behavior.
       Roughly 58% of child abusers are women, almost all of
        whom were themselves abused.
       Incest, a special case of child abuse, involves the sexual abuse
        of a child. About 90% of these abusers are men, but they do
        not fall into easy categories.
   One common trait of child abuse is that the abusers
    themselves were more likely to have been abused when
    they were children.
       Violent behavior within close family relationships is typically
        learned behavior.

Primary causes of non-incest
child abuse:
   1. Stress, such as from feeling trapped in a relationship,
    a constantly screaming child, a bad job, feeling
    overworked or exhausted, etc.
   2. Authoritarianism. Often the child abuser expects too
    much of the child and punishes them for failing to meet
    their strict and overly-high expectations.
   3. Immaturity.
   4. Alcohol.
   5. Learned via their own family experience.
   6. Absence of family and other social supports.

   Americans have high divorce and family violence rates for
    reasons that relate to the social structure itself.
   The Americans are the only industrial democracy that treats
    work and family life as two separate spheres. They are not. If
    work is stressful, we bring these stresses home and “kick the
    dog.” American jobs are highly stressful and policy makers
    provide fewer supports for U.S. families compared with
    every other industrial democracy.
       Americans are the only industrial democracy without national health
        care, national day care supports, 4-6 week vacations, and strong anti-
        poverty welfare support programs. In this country, the prevailing
        attitude is capitalist self-interest.
       There are other key factors too: American gun-culture, masculinity,
        romantic love, hyper-individualism, and the American love affair with
        alcohol all contribute to our family problems.


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