Time to End ‘Nuclear Family Privilege’ – Let’s Overcome Irrational Nostalgia for a Version of Family Long Since Transformed

Time to End ‘Nuclear Family Privilege’ – Let’s Overcome Irrational Nostalgia for a Version of Family Long Since Transformed

This site appears to be pretty left wing. I am right wing, but I agree with many of the left’s criticisms about the right’s preoccupation with the nuclear family.

(Link): Time to End ‘Nuclear Family Privilege’ – Let’s Overcome Irrational Nostalgia for a Version of Family Long Since Transformed by M. Birdsong


We’re finally talking about stressed, toxic work worlds, but in a way that benefits wealthy, traditional families.

On Sunday, (Link): Anne-Marie Slaughter took to the New York Times to persuasively indict the toxic, anxiety-producing expectations of the modern workplace. It’s the product, she argues, of an “antiquated and broken” system, and it simultaneously hinders America’s competitiveness and the ability for us all to care for our families.

Says Slaughter: “We used to have [an infrastructure of care]; it was called women at home.” Slaughter argues that “a workplace designed for the ‘Mad Men’ era, for ‘Leave It to Beaver’ families in which one partner does all the work of earning an income and the other partner does all the work of turning that income into care” is holding all of us back.

…There has been an explosion in the diversity of family structures in the U.S. over the last several decades, much of it the result of delayed and declining marriage rates and higher nonmarital birthrates. Forty-one percent of babies born in the U.S. today have parents who are not married, and among millennials, it’s over half.

The traditional family, which dominated for just over a decade, wasn’t replaced by one kind of family, but by many kinds of families. Unlike in the early ’60s, today, there is no single-family arrangement that encompasses the majority of children.

More individuals live alone, there are more families with married parents who are both employed, more single-parent homes, children living with grandparents, children living with unmarried, cohabitating parents, and households composed of people who are not biologically related or legally bound. Family diversity is the new normal.

But despite these trends, the nuclear family is still favored with the most esteemed cultural visibility, still seen as “normal,” “good” and ideal. Divorce is generally seen as failure, cohabitating and raising kids without being married invites the assumption that there is a barrier to marriage, single-parents—especially teenagers, poor people, and/or people of color—are shamed for their “moral failing,” and if you’re an adult older than 35, single, and childfree, everyone from your friends to your bus driver is wondering when you’re going to “settle down.”

If your family arrangement includes more than two adults, people who are not biological or adoptive parents raising kids, people who aren’t related to you, or any other number of configurations, then you’re invisible.

It’s time we recognize this for what it is, and name it: nuclear family privilege.

…How do nuclear families benefit from unearned privilege? From tax breaks and employment policies to medical care and media representation.

Meanwhile, schools engage in Father’s Day celebrations even though 25 percent of children are raised in homes without their fathers. Women over 35 get looks of pity when others learn they are unmarried. Bereavement policies provide no time off for the death of an aunt, even if she is the one who raised you.

Workplaces regularly hold evening events without considering the childcare needs of single parents. Long-term childfree couples are treated as not quite a family because they are not married and don’t have kids. Fathers—particularly, poor and/or black fathers—who are not married to the mothers of their children, are incorrectly believed to be “absentee.”

…Yes, data shows that, on average, children with stable, married parents have better outcomes than children in other families. But we consistently misunderstand what that data is telling us, and confuse correlation and causation.

Because we are blind to the ways in which our society benefits nuclear families, when they thrive, we believe it is because there is something intrinsically better about them. It’s like saying that X group of runners is inherently faster than Y group of runners, while ignoring the fact that group X is taking performance enhancing drugs and group Y is being repeatedly kicked in the kneecaps while running.

When we create an environment that supports and celebrates nuclear families, it’s no surprise that the people within those families are more likely to do well.

…Even progressives often tacitly accept the logic that marriage and “keeping families together” is the best way to support the wellbeing of adults and children.

But just beneath the surface, this is the same underlying “good old days” nostalgia used by conservatives. It’s the same logic that says that working women going to back into the home is a legitimate solution to the inaccessibly of affordable childcare.

Suggesting that marriage is the best way for a working mother and child to avoid poverty is frighteningly paternalistic. If we want a society that embraces policies that support people, regardless of family structure, we need to expose how unethical and illogical that argument is.

Related Posts:

(Link): The Nuclear Family Was A Mistake – by David Brooks – and Related Links

(Link):  The Changing American Family (article)

(Link): This Headline Has My Fellow Conservatives In A Tizzy, but It Should Not: Just 18% of US households are ‘nuclear families’ with a married couple and children, down from 40% since 1970s and the lowest since 1959

(Link):  The Case Against ‘Saving’ Marriage – Married Nuclear Families Are the Gold Standard Against Which We Are All Judged. by N. Rodgers

(Link):  Christianity Should Be Able To Work Regardless of Culture, Childed or Marital Status / Article: Unlike in the 1950s, there is no ‘typical’ U.S. family today by B. Shulte

(Link): Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

(Link):  Where have all the TV dogs gone? – indication of the decline of the nuclear family

(Link):  Do Married Couples Slight Their Family Members as Well as Their Friends? / “Greedy Marriages”

(Link): Placing One’s Marriage Ahead of The Church – Preacher Used Prioritizing and Rebuilding His Marriage as Rationale for Bullying His Church Members

(Link): How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified

(Link): “You’re not a real man until you have children” – childless, childfree women should be able to relate to this too

(Link):  The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link):   If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t, by John B. Carpenter, CP Guest Contributor

(Link):  Book About Intersex Individuals Also Critiques How Conservative Christianity Idolizes the Nuclear Family, Sex, and Marriage to the Detriment of Singles and Others

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link):  The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link):  Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by Gina Dalfonzo

(Link):  Thirty Year Old Woman Kills Herself Due to Being Single and Childless – Churches contribute to this by either Ignoring adult singles or shaming them for being single and childless

(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians | Re: Marriage Not Happening for Hetero-sexual Christians Over the Age of 30

(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy”

Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single

(Link): To Get Any Attention or Support from a Church These Days you Have To Be A Stripper, Prostitute, or Orphan

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link):  Preacher: ‘They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Hot SEX Lives’ – and once more, never-married celibate adults and their experiences, wisdom, and input are ignored

(Link): Statistics Show Single Adults Now Outnumber Married Adults in the United States

(Link):  Stop Overlooking Singles in Church By Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence

(Link):  Kerry Shook Marriage Mystery Sermon Series. Singles Ignored AGAIN.

(Link):  Preacher Whose 90% of Sermons are About How to Have a Great Marriage Warns Audience Not to Make Marriage an Idol – Kerry Shook Update and Irony Alert

(Link): The World Does Not Need More Marriage Sermons – They Don’t Stop Divorce or Get People Married

(Link): The Obligatory, “Oh, but if you’re single you can still benefit from my marriage sermon!” line

(Link): Childfree By Choice: How Women are Redefining Tomorrow’s Family

(Link):  Bearden: Staying childless right decision for many women

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): Why all the articles about being Child Free? On Being Childfree or Childless – as a Conservative / Right Wing / Christian

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