Nuclear Families and TV Shows

The term “nuclear family” doesn’t exactly bring to mind an image of typical family. In fact, the word nuclear usually brings to mind images of violent weapons. However, according to Bronisław Malinowski, the traditional family, also known as the “nuclear” family, consists of a married heterosexual couple with children that are biologically their own. This sociological definition may apply to my family,, heterosexual married parents and two children biologically related to them but as times have changed, so has the concept of a normal family. What I am a part of is not the norm anymore. Malinowski’s definition fails to address the many variations of families and within families that exist now, from single parent families to adopted children to homosexual families.

The diversity in American creates a society where a traditional cannot be seen as the norm. However, when thinking about the concept of the traditional family I was reminded of the Brady Bunch, an iconic T.V. show that exemplified the nuclear family. Recently a woman who helped created this family, heterosexual married parents with children who were biologically theirs, passed away. Her name was Florence Henderson and she helped contribute to this media driven concept of what a traditional family is. But with more new television shows, such as Modern Family, some of the family types that are displayed are not as average. For example, in the show Modern Family, a homosexual couple that adopt a child and a marriage between two people that includes a step child challenge Malinowski’s close minded idea of what a traditional family is.

Clearly as time has passed, what the definition of traditional family is no longer traditional and the diverse relationships and families that form challenging this definition should be given equal recognition.




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