Today, the role and form of a modern family are the most discussed questions. In spite of the fact a family remains to be an important social institution, the associated aspects and norms are changed significantly.
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Such issues as the definition of family, family structures and roles, influential factors for changing families, and the family of the future are discussed in Beyond the Nuclear Family directed by Suzi Taylor (Beyond the Nuclear Family, 2008). These questions need to be discussed because the vision of the modern family differs much from the stereotypical vision of a conventional family.
According to the ideas presented in the movie, family structures are diverse, and it is almost impossible to define the modern family. From this point, a family can be discussed as the unity of people living together who are connected basing on their shared values and beliefs and the ancestral background; and today it is not always a heterosexual couple with children which serves as the example of the traditional family.
The movie focuses on the discussion of the problem of norm and conventionality in relation to family. Thus, a modern family cannot be discussed from the perspective of these concepts because there are no limits in the variety of the modern family forms.
Heterosexual and homosexual couples with or without children as well as single-parent families are the present-day norm, although several decades ago these forms of families were unaccepted, and these family relations were discriminated. The members of the families discussed in the movie state that the family structure does not matter, if there is support, love, unity, and comfortable atmosphere (Beyond the Nuclear Family, 2008).
Concentrating on the factors which influence the changes in families and roles, it is necessary to pay attention to the changes of the female roles, active participation of women in the workforce, birth control, and decline of religion. The authors of the movie emphasize the fact that women were housewives and performed the child-rearing role during the 1950s, but then women became to participate actively in the social life while working and doing housework (Beyond the Nuclear Family, 2008).
This situation contributed to declining the fertility rates because of the unfriendly working environments. Today, many women choose career instead of motherhood or try to combine all the social functions. The women’s choice is based on their desire, but not on the definite social norms and stereotypes.
A lot of social changes and technological innovations such as feminist movements, birth control methods, and IVF techniques along with the increased social tolerance towards same-sex, single-parent, or childless families led to the significant changes in the vision of the family and provided the opportunities to choose the family life according to the individual needs and desires, without references to religion or prejudice.
Although the family of the future depends on the ideas of diversity and flexibility, the basic principles of family remain to be unchanged. Thus, family is the community of people who provide support, respect, and love for each other. However, it is the individual right to choose the age of creating a family or planning a child.
The main ideas presented in Beyond the Nuclear Family support the opinion that a modern family is free from stereotypes, and it is more flexible in comparison with the conventional family typical for the 1950s. The structures and roles are changed, but more possibilities to satisfy the individual needs exist now with references to the right to choose.
Beyond the Nuclear Family. (2008). Web.