I’m pretty loose with the F-word. I think it’s all due to a TV show I watched when I was younger. Many people don’t approve. Sometimes I use it and observe a raised eyebrow or a slight catching of breath. Certain people are downright appalled by my use of the word in situations they find inappropriate. That’s OK. To each his own, I suppose. For me, I plan to continue my unabashed use of that word regardless of what others think about it.
The word I’m referring to, of course, is “family”. At some point during my formative years, I tuned the TV to an episode of Kate and Allie, an 80’s-era sitcom featuring two divorcees and their children living together in the Big Apple. The plot of the episode I recall had to do with a new landlady enforcing alternative rules about who could live under her roof. The evil owner demanded that her tenants be families- and Kate and Allie didn’t qualify because they were merely childhood friends. Upon discovering that homosexual couples were acceptable, the dynamic duo briefly pretended to be gay. That plan didn’t last; however, and the episode concluded with a speech about how Ms. Landlady had no right to tell them what a “family” is- because a family is any group of people choosing to share their lives.
These days, I see “families” where others don’t. My dad’s girlfriend is my family. My boyfriend’s parents are my family. My dogs are my family. Love is not contingent upon bloodlines nor legal certificates.
Sometimes television takes a break from rotting our brains… just enough to open our minds.
I find a sense of irony when life imitates art…
Interestingly enough on a slightly related topic, social conservatives often express concern over a purported decay of the family, and see this as a sign of the crumbling of contemporary society, citing the family structures of the past were superior to those today, and believe that families were more stable and happier at a time when they did not have to contend with problems such as illegitimate children and divorce. However, when you take a step back and see all the effort placed on keeping the family structure together, illegitimate children and divorce where just as likely to be avoided out of necessity or the status of being labeled negatively in not to far distant past.
I believe it is becoming more evident in western society to be less aligned with the idea of a family as an “economic unit” as opposed to our friends across the world where this concept is still the fundamental way of life. Single female parents, for example, from the 1950s certainly weren’t in a position to grab a business suit and make a man’s wage and raise the kids, while being the divorced pariah of the neighborhood. This scenario isn’t to uncommon in many Asian and Arab cultures today, where the females subservient role is expected, and they rely on the family as a means of sustenance.
In essence, I disagree with making the idea of divorce the the major culprit in eroding the family. As western society introduces opportunity the latitude to take away the financial obligation, historical double-standard, and guilt of divorce, then the remaining obligation is to yourself and the people who truly love you… yes, that’s family.
Wow, Moschi- you really put a lot of thought into that. Thanks for putting the evolution of the Western Family into perspective!
Nice job of leading the reader down the path to the real message,and a good message it is.
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