Modern Media and the End of the Traditional Family
a philosophical thesis by Matthew Bissonnette
Since the beginning of recorded history, those who study it have found that most societies where based on the life long monogamous marriage between individuals. Civilizations, no matter how far separated by geographic location or time, continued their populace by new citizens being born into a family unit. Life in the past was much more laborious and such a tough living necessitated that chores and responsibilities where divided among married adults. Though this was not an idealistic existence, but since early forms of entertainment it seems that the philosophical concept of love between men and women was a consent. The choice of individuals to remain in life long relationships with a member of the opposite gender seems to be the model which societies have lived by since before historians recorded events. All species employ different adaptions when it comes to procreating, in fact monogamous relationships exist in some species of beetles, and it seems that the standard by which humanity lived by was that model. But it seems that this traditional view of the family becomes increasingly uncommon was we are well into the twenty first century.
Day time television is a view into modern style relationships. A woman will have numerous children and may not be entirely sure who the actual father is. Men will bring several youths into this world and non of which they intend being a father to. It seems that relationships between men and women in some segments of society have degenerated to where it is based solely on either sexual gratification or finances. While there are still many committed to living up to the responsibilities of having a family, it seems many others are unable to grasp the profound trials and tribulations with it and seem to be more interested in their own interests. Since these lurid and sordid dramas are so pervasive in media, it indicates that it is somewhat of a microcosm of how the traditional marriage is doing. It signifies the break down of the standard family model, and with such a break down comes possible detriments to society as a whole.
Though not universally true, studies have indicated that youths raised in a single parent household are statistically more likely to be involved with criminal acts.
Since mankind is not born with the skills to survive, they must be guided after birth; yet many facts seem to indicate the many youths, both from single parent and couple households, spend a significant amount of time watching television and sometimes may not get proper guidance from a parent. Since mankind first appeared, it was the responsibility of the parent to give their youth the knowledge and tools to survive as adults. Yet many youth's primary education sometimes is the highly stylized yet escapist media, where some of the harsh realities of life are glossed over. For the most part I like to believe is that a youth can trust guidance from a parent since they have the youth's best interests at heart. Adult life is by necessity harsh partly which it is the responsibility of the parents to prepare them for it. Yet it seems that as time progresses, the emotional bonds which bind families together, come under increasing strain. Youth's require role models in their parents to which they will emulate when they reach adult hood. But media and other factors seem to be creating a barrier which isolates families from each other. Though I cannot give any information to prove this hypothesis, I believe many of the social ills we face are due to the reluctance of many parents to get involved in the welfare of their children.
So what factors are responsible for this trend?
We live primarily in a materialist culture where identity and one's value is derived from obtaining possessions; it has had the unforeseen effect I believe that relationships between people have been broken down for a large part and now are largely about financial matters. Yet the ability to pay for shelter and necessities is a reality, many marriages end under the strain of financial disagreements. Historically the institution of marriage helped two individuals endure the hardships of life, it now seems that this institution is unable to cope with the changing realities of the late twentieth and early twenty first century. The institution of two adults entering into a partnership and working towards the same goal becomes rarer in some parts of society. Also since images of human sexuality is so pervasive in the media, relations sometimes between spouses are large stressed by issues of adultery. Some marriages end because those in it feel that the mutual affection has gone away and they seek happiness else ware. It seems that some are more concerned with self interest rather then commitment to institutions like family. And with this comes a partially crumbling of some ideals which have been lived by for eons.
If you think I wish to paint some rose tinted image of marriage in the past, don't be mistaken, lives back then were much more arduous and the rendering of women to second class citizenship in many cultures where the norm. What I am implying that the life long monogamous marriage is how humanity is biologically made to carry on the task of perpetuating our species. But human philosophical concepts such as love and other more inspiring motivations showed a possible truth, that it is some reprieve in a some harsh and cruel world. Marriages for the large part where never meant to be perpetual bliss, in fact most of it was about enduring the hardships of life together. Many who enter into modern marriages seem to be oblivious to the some profound responsibilities that come with it.
There are also many logical reasons for the emulation of the standard model of family. Two individuals faithful to each other would completely isolate them from sexually transmitted pathogens and stop them from passing it to others. If more individuals today did this, it would go a long way to limiting the spread of some disease such as herpes. If it is a family with two working parents; it is two sources of income for the household as well as being illegible for some tax breaks and such a relationship would allow them to build savings for later. Chores and responsibilities can be divided between spouses and they can be of great help to the other. That it is a partnership, or if you will alliance, which is meant to be a commitment to be obligated to the other spouse's interests or welfare. And this model has been the standard since the beginning.
Let me finish with that marriage is not about a continues state of enthusiasm or happiness, but it is an agreement between a man and a woman that they now share a mutual interest and will seek it together. Find such concepts as love in it, but now that it will surely have rough patches. But it seems it is a biological trait of humanity to be in such relationships.
Think about it.