plural marriages Assignment | Cheap Essay Services

Take a look at this quote by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, posted on Politico.com, and then answer the questions that follow: “Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective ‘two’ in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.”

  • Do you think plural marriages (marriages between more than three partners) should be legalized in the United States?
  • Does Chief Justice Roberts think plural marriages should be legalized? Why or why not?

To frame your discussion response, draw upon the lecture notes from this lesson and relevant earlier lessons, as well as the assigned readings. Be sure to include a least one direct quote from the readings or film.

Reply

Lecture notes:

Website on top for reference:

 

 

 

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L12 Overview

White clapboard house with a white picket fence
Credit

Lesson 12: The Typical American Family

In our last lesson, we learned how institutional spaces might seem neutral but yet often reflect biases about sexuality, gender, race, and class. We viewed the first half of the film The Motherhood Manifesto and learned that the association of mothers with the home or private sphere allows people in positions of power within capitalist and corporate workplaces to discriminate against women, particularly mothers and women of color.

In this lesson, we will watch the second half of the film, as the themes straddle the institutional spaces of work and family. We will strive to answer the question: How do stereotypes of normalcy color our understanding of family life? After watching the film, it should become clear that institutional spaces cannot be artificially separated from one another and that the assumptions made about fit and unfit workers often bleed into gendered, racist, classist, and heteronormative biases about fit and unfit parents and partners. We will examine how the institution of family, the most seemingly natural set of human relationships and something that few of us question as a social construction, is subject to the same cultural biases as every other social institution. The image seen here depicts the stereotype of the typical American family and the consummation of the elusive American Dream.

Objectives

At the completion of this lesson you will be able to:

  1. Define family as a social institution.
  2. Explain how public and private spheres are gendered, as well as defined by race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality.
  3. Examine the gap between ideology and reality to see how ideologies help shape what we think of as normal and deviant.
  4. Define heteronormativity and identify the consequences for marital benefits and rights.

Readings and Resources

All readings should be started at the beginning of the week as they will prepare you to complete activities/assignments.

Lecture Pages

  1. Read the Lesson 12 Lecture pages. Complete the Poll questionfound within the lecture content.

Text

  1. Read Race, Class, & Gender(RCG) text:
    1. Chapter 36: “Our Mothers’ Grief: Racial-Ethic Women and the Maintenance of Families,” (Bonnie Thornton Dill) pp. 294-306
    2. Chapter 37: “Exploring the Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, and Class on Maternity Leave Decisions: Implications for Public Policy,” (Tiffany Manuel and Ruth Enid Zambrana) pp. 307-313
    3. Chapter 38: “Straight is to Gay as Family is to No Family,” (Kath Weston) pp. 314-318
    4. Chapter 39: “Navigating Interracial Borders: Black-White Couples and Their Social Worlds,” (Erica Chito Childs) pp. 319-326

Video

  1. View the following sections of The Motherhood Manifesto video(Links to an external site.) for this lesson. Note: This is streamed through the Penn State Library. If you are not authenticated, you will be asked to sign in using your Penn State user name and password.
    1. Section H-Healthcare for all Children (31:49-41:00);
    2. Section E-Excellent Childcare (41:01-48:12); and
    3. Section R-Realistic and Fair Wages (48:13-57:15)
  2. OPTIONAL: Read The Motherhood Manifesto Study Guide(Links to an external site.) which accompanies the film.

Note: Click to view the following thought-provoking questions from The Motherhood Manifesto Study Guide after viewing The Motherhood Manifesto film. If you are on a mobile device or with low screen resolution you will be able to view this information immediately and will not need to click anything.

Thought-Provoking Questions for The Motherhood Manifesto

After watching the film in its entirety, please consider the following questions that lead you to confront the incompatibility of capitalist workspaces and motherhood in the United States:

  • Do you believe, as Kiki Peppard suggests, that each voter can make a difference? How can you make a difference? What can we do as individual citizens to influence change?
  • Why do you think the U.S. lags behind most other countries in terms of family-friendly policies and programs?
  • Geoff Boehm, from A Better Balance, says we shouldn’t have to choose between putting dinner on the table and being at the table. What does he mean?
  • Have your views about work and family changed after watching the film? If so, how?
  • Do you think we need to make changes in the U.S. in order to better support our mothers and families? If so, do you think we should rely on the market, the government, or a combination of the two to provide support such as flexible work schedules, universal healthcare, and subsidized child care to families?
  • What are the possible long term impacts if we continue to rank “at the bottom of the totem pole” compared to other countries?
  • Do the issues covered in the film affect your family? If so, which ones?
  • Which issue in the film surprised you the most?
  • What action to support mothers/parents do you think has the most potential at this time?
  • Do you think of the US as a “pro-family” nation? Why? Why not?

Bullfrog Films. (2016). The motherhood manifesto study guide. Retrieved from http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/guides/motherguide.pdf

Assignments

Polls

There are polls embedded within the lesson course content that you will need to complete. Information about lesson polls can be found within the poll assignments

See the Calendar or Syllabus to ensure that you are fully aware of assignment due dates for this lesson, including lesson polls.

 

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L12 Family as a Social Institution

How do you define family? Most of us may acknowledge that the stereotype of the ideal family as a bread-winning father, stay-at-home mother, and two biological children reflects a very small subset of our population. Have you ever attempted to make a family tree? The tidy, vertical branching from your great-grandparents through their offspring very rarely flows without breaks and deviations. If you are represented by the “shaded circle” or the ego, men are represented visually with “triangles” or “squares”, women with “circles”, marriage by an “equal sign” and children by vertical lines leading down from the equal sign, how might you represent step-parents, divorce, single mothers, or unmarried fathers in your family tree? You might find that instead of your family tree stretching neatly from the top of the page and broadening as you move down the page, it spreads up and across the page in a complicated pattern of unions and disunions. Take a look at this family tree, and see how it begins to account for different types of relationships.  How might this tree evolve to take into consideration other types of unions?

Kinship Diagram
In this image, EGO refers to the person the kinship diagram is centered around. The symbols the person is sharing a horizontal line with are the person’s siblings: an older brother, older sibling (lost through miscarriage), younger brother, and younger sister. The person’s older brother was in a relationship (now dissolved) and has a daughter. Moving up, there are the parents of the individual. The father is an only child. The father’s parents divorced when he was 6, and both have since died. The mother, on the other hand, has three brothers and they’re all married. One brother has two daughters, and another has two sons (their first died when he was 2). The third brother and his wife do not have kids. The mother’s mom died many years ago, and her dad (aka ‘Papa’) is still alive, and lives with the individual’s family. Credit

 

If you are interested, attempt to make a family tree of your own family.

When we look visually at schema of various types of families, we understand that the stereotype of the monogamous, heterosexual union that produces children, while perhaps defining the stereotype or dominant ideal of family life, reflects the reality of very few. A son living with his widowed mother, a lesbian couple with their adopted children, a married husband and wife who must live in separate cities to accommodate their jobs are all examples of American families. Can you think of other examples that complicate the “white picket fence’ stereotype?

 

Who we call family and who we are ALLOWED to call family is not a static, stable set of relationships.

 

How do you define family? Who do you include? Who do you exclude? If you define family as the people you rely upon, associate with, trust, and love, you might include a variety of important relationships that are not exclusively dependent on blood ties. However, if you define family solely by blood or marriage, the people you include and the feelings you have for them might be very different. Who we call family and who we are ALLOWED to call family is not a static, stable set of relationships. Yet this distinction of family is extremely powerful in terms of highlighting our most important social relationships, as well as legalizing and sanctioning certain tax, estate planning, death, medical, and employment rights and benefits. Who is allowed in the hospital room during an emergency? Who can inherit money? Who is allowed to file taxes jointly and who can claim children as dependents?

 

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L12 Private versus Public

Many of our social institutions, especially work and family, are structured around the ideology, defined as the dominant cultural norm, that there are two distinct and gendered spheres that define our social world: the public sphere and the private sphere. The public sphere historically has been associated with the masculine world of politics, paid labor, and power, while the private sphere traditionally has been characterized as a feminine space of family, households, and unpaid domestic labor. Feminists, particularly during the second wave in the 1960s and 1970s, pointed to this association of women with the private sphere as a source of global inequality, and championed the notion that the “personal is political”. Although we may understand work to be synonymous with paid labor, women work in all sorts of unpaid contexts. Think of the unpaid labor of motherhood. If you are interested, please read, The Scourge of the Female Chore Burden (Links to an external site.), from The Atlantic.

Remember the three lenses of gender polarization, androcentrism, and biological essentialism from our earlier lessons? These two spheres endure precisely because women are seen as naturally more predisposed to the private sphere and men to the public sphere, and men’s work in the public sphere is valued and compensated more highly. In addition to gender, we also observe the ways that race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality also intersect the private and public spheres and add other layers of inequality.

As we saw in the film The Motherhood Manifesto, when exclusively women are associated with the private sphere of the household, working mothers and particularly single mothers or mothers of color in the United States are faced with discriminatory hiring practices, lower salaries, expensive and inadequate childcare, and insufficient maternity leave. Manuel and Zambrana point out in your assigned reading for this lesson, “Exploring the Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, and Class on Maternity Leave Decisions,” that “Striking differences were observed in leave length by race, ethnicity, and class” (Andersen & Collins, p. 311), while Weissinger pointed out in your reading from our last lesson, “Gender Matters. So Do Race and Class: Experiences of Gendered Racism on the Wal-Mart Shop Floor” that for women of color, “working in these stores means that they must not only do their jobs well, but they must also navigate a workplace where others use them as scapegoats for their own frustrations, block them from training opportunities, or sabotage them by not doing work these women of color assign them” (Anderson & Collins, p. 290). These articles call attention to the ways in which class, race and gender impact the power, privilege, and opportunities that some employees enjoy and others are denied. These workplace advantages or inequities directly impact family decisions and family life.

Thought Provoking Questions for The Motherhood Manifesto

After watching the film in its entirety, please consider the following questions that lead you to confront the incompatibility of capitalist workspaces and motherhood in the United States:

  1. Do you believe, as Kiki Peppard suggests, that each voter can make a difference? How can you make a difference? What can we do as individual citizens to influence change?
  2. Why do you think the U.S. lags behind most other countries in terms of family-friendly policies and programs?
  3. Geoff Boehm, from A Better Balance, says we shouldn’t have to choose between putting dinner on the table and being at the table. What does he mean?
  4. Have your views about work and family changed after watching the film? If so, how?
  5. Do you think we need to make changes in the U.S. in order to better support our mothers and families? If so, do you think we should rely on the market, the government, or a combination of the two to provide support such as flexible work schedules, universal healthcare, and subsidized child care to families?
  6. What are the possible long term impacts if we continue to rank “at the bottom of the totem pole” compared to other countries?
  7. Do the issues covered in the film affect your family? If so, which ones?
  8. Which issue in the film surprised you the most?
  9. What action to support mothers/parents do you think has the most potential at this time?
  10. Do you think of the US as a “pro-family” nation? Why? Why not?

Bullfrog Films. (2016). The motherhood manifesto study guide. Retrieved from http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/guides/motherguide.pdf

References:

  • Andersen, M. A. & Collins, P. H. (2016). Race, Class & Gender: An Anthology.9th Edition. Cengage Learning. pp. 290 & 311.
  • Bullfrog Films. (2016). The motherhood manifesto study guide. Retrieved from http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/guides/motherguide.pdf

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L12 Heteronormative families: Setting the standard for normalcy

“It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” — Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority

Similarly, sexuality also profoundly affects whether or not one is included within the social institution of family and marriage. Until the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, gay men and lesbians had been excluded from mainstream definitions of family. What are the socioeconomic consequences of not being able to get married? Even if you can be equally in love without having a marriage certificate, there are numerous specific financial advantages to being legally married in the United States. If you are interested, see the optional reading by Ivy Jacobson, 13 Legal Benefits of Marriage (Links to an external site.), for a list. The LGBTQA community had been defined solely by their sexual identity and therefore destined never to marry or reproduce. As Kath Weston states in the assigned reading for this lesson’s notes: “It is but a short step from positioning lesbians and gay men somewhere beyond ‘the family’—unencumbered by relations of kinship, responsibility, or affection—to portraying them as a menace to family and society” (Andersen & Collins, pp. 314-315).

Recall in Lesson 6, Rejecting the Societal Bias Towards Cisgender and Heterosexuality, how we defined heterosexism as the pressure or prestige attached to conforming to heterosexuality in our country. Heteronormativity means that being heterosexual is a given, and that it is the only normal or natural expression of sexuality and romantic love. Heteronormative marriage between a man and a woman has been exalted as traditional, long-standing, and morally sound. To call something a “tradition” rationalizes the endurance of longstanding patterns of behaviors and masks the fact that many traditions are invented or changed to serve the particular needs of those in power. For example, how does our long-standing tradition of Thanksgiving, told from the perspective of the Pilgrims, mask the tragic decimation of most of the Native American populations they encountered? If you are interested, read this optional account by Jacqueline Keeler, of Thanksgiving as told from a Native American perspective (Links to an external site.). The new same-sex marriage law is revolutionary precisely because it challenges the deeply entrenched heteronormative bias that had long defined institutionalized marriage.

Optional Videos & Podcast

Look at Wanda Sykes and Louis CK to marvel at the absurdity that the legalization of gay marriage took so long.

What specific arguments does each comedian make to call into question our assumptions about family and marriage?

If you are interested, please listen to this in-depth podcast on the marriage equality ruling published just four days after the Supreme Court handed down their decision to legalize same-sex marriage:

The traditional definition of family that relies upon the narrow stereotype of a stay-at-home mom, bread-winner husband, and their biological children has consequences for those who do not fit the norm, be they same-sex marital partners, mothers in the workforce, or any individual who rejects or falls outside any aspect of this gender polarizing, androcentric, and biologically essentialist definition.

References:

  • Andersen, M. A. & Collins, P. H. (2016). Race, Class & Gender: An Anthology.9th Edition. Cengage Learning. pp. 314-315.
  • D’Aburzzo, D. (2015). 10 key quotes from the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision. “Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority. Retrieved from http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/10-key-quotes-from-the-supreme-courts-gay-marriage-decision-119497#ixzz41HrtTJOf

 

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