American Families and the Nostalgia Trap
- Leave It to Beaver was not a documentary, a man’s home has never been his castle, the ‘male breadwinner marriage’ is the least traditional family in history, and rape and sexual assault were far higher in the 1970s than they are today. In The Way We Never Were, acclaimed historian Stephanie Coontz provides a myth-shattering examination of two centuries of the American family, sweeping away misconceptions about the past that cloud current debates about domestic life. The 1950s do not present a workable model of how to conduct our personal lives today, Coontz argues, and neither does any other era from our cultural past. This revised edition includes a new introduction and epilogue, looking at what has and has not changed since the original publication in 1992, and exploring how the clash between growing gender equality and rising economic inequality is reshaping family life, marriage, and male-female relationships in our modern era.
Now more relevant than ever, The Way We Never Were continues to be potent corrective to dangerous nostalgia for an American tradition that never really existed.
Stephanie Coontz is an author, historian, and faculty member at Evergreen State College. She teaches history and family studies and is Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families, which she chaired from 2001 to 2004. Coontz has authored and co-edited several books about the history of the family and marriage.
As I did a deeper dive into her other works, I came across some fascinating titles that deserve further exploration. We should all send copies of this to our SCOTUS who seem bent on taking our rights away.
“To some a book on the origins of sexual inequality is absurd. Male dominance seems to them a universal, if not inevitable, phenomenon that has been with us since the dawn of our species. The essays in this volume offer differing perspectives on the development of sex-role differentiation and sexual inequality but share a belief that these phenomena did have social origins, origins that must be sought in sociohistorical events and processes.”
Many primaries are taking place right now and it is as important as any election that we show up and get progressives on the November ballots. OUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT! Let’s regain the rights that the religious zealots seem bent on taking from us, including those sitting Scotus’ and other Federal judges appointed during the former administration, who are not doing their jobs, but instead leaning away from the separation of church and state. They who are sworn to uphold the constitution are now causing more divisions by their unpatriotic acts. How dare them. So, ladies and the men with us, let’s show them that the Majority still rules and send a loud and clear message that we are not taking going away….but they will one day! We have just begun! While they take the low road, we march the high road right to the voting booths where democracy still rules!
THIS is the reaction across our lands and how I felt! Scream it out…..and VOTE!
Scream it out!