FAMILY AND SOCIETY
Meeting new people, working, walking and even living in the environment with the others makes us think of our attitude to them, our mood, words we say and actions we do, therefore sociology takes so important place in life of every human on the Earth. Our present day society is multicultural and each member of it is an individual with his own problems and reasons for happiness but there also exist topics which should be regarded as a common and undivided set of confusions existing in modern society. Such topics are discussed in different articles but the ones I have chosen to compare and reflect on their contents dealt with subjects I was interested in.
The first article under analysis is "What Do Low-Income Single Mothers say about Marriage?" by Kathryn Edin and Kefalas. The primary purpose of the article as described by the authors is to increase level of marriages; along with reasons of the problem existing given in the abovementioned article, the authors try to persuade a reader in existence of other ways and other views. As the article says, almost half of non-married women with children live below the poverty level in the US. Frequent are such cases when a woman having a baby is not so attractive for representatives of the other sex rather than a childless woman. According to statistics mentioned within the article, the lowest poverty rate has African American women with children. The data is drawn from the words of 292 single women from different cities of America inquired by Kathryn Edin specially for writing the article's material. The author seeks to explicate the meaning of marriage as it is viewed by single women and among the causes there is women's financial independence that became famous and important during last decades; unstable living financial supply of men and their "weak" role in the family, etc.
Four factors are defined as the main reasons of women's unwillingness to marry men and be in serious relationships(Edin & Kefalas, p.7). Thus, first reason the author mentions is striving of women for economic independence which makes it possible for them to support themselves and their children. The second cause must be inability of men to earn enough money for their families; as one of the interviewed single women said that men did not conform to financial level she needed and in spite of this a woman had to do her housework anyway and this was unfair. Some people say that nowadays the government can provide single woman having a child, with the funds she needs to grow him up, and sometimes it is more than a man is able to earn. And finally, it is considered that men now take a lot of household tasks and care for children. A woman will now definitely revise her attitude to a man (even her boyfriend) who does not help her or make all the work. One of the women also said it was very hard to listen to his complaints about how it was hard for him to find steady work. These factors and interviews can explain the frequent cases of cohabitation between men and women. In such a way, women always have the possibility to step back, get rid of him if doesn't make enough money and change him for a better one with a good job and regular paychecks. The next reason why women do not want to marry is very important for any female with any life situation or her point of view on the topic. In fact, many couples consider it to be the most significant factor on which the relationships are mainly based. Women responding to the question of marriage said that they had a lot of cases in their lives when men disturbed their confidence, moreover, they didn't even want to hear that a man could be devoted only to one woman. The last reason that is discussed is domestic violence that is a true existing problem nowadays. The respondents recollected their childhood when their fathers beat mothers, one woman remembering her husband's physical abuse over her refused to believe that there were good and supporting men who would protect but not attack.
The problem regarded in the article "What Do Low-Income Single Mothers say about Marriage?" is an urgent social question. Refusing from a standard system of relationships, women fracture structure of society that has been forming for many years.
The second article chosen by me for analyzing is "Work and American Families" written by Jerry A.Jacobs and Kathleen Gerson. This is a study conducted by the authors designed to answer the questions of work and family situation if regarded together as it is in a real life. The authors accentuate on lack of time among working Americans which results in inability of them to pay attention to their families and close people. The research showed that the working week of an average American has not undergone any considerable changes. And this implicates that the question is remaining unclosed, so the authors tried find another answer.
There is a division of the working population into those who work excessively and workers spending much less time due to lack of hours employers can propose to meet demands of employees and their families. Gender divide can also be mentioned within the discussion of the topic: a woman is likely to choose a partial job not covering her financial needs but leaving enough time for her; men in average work 6 hours more per week than women who subconsciously explain it with a psychological pressure on them as for their commitments of housekeeping and child caring. And such gender gap and diverse amount of working hours does not influence wages difference considerably. It is also can be mentioned that working couple in dual-earner always dealt with a short of time. Authors also mark the fact that one part of the population has a lot of work and another one is looking for a stable and well-paid job. Such inequality can be observed through the whole country. Work is one of the most important factors of our existence that allow us to earn money and enjoy life but people forget that job can also be a source of delighted emotions people need to abstract away from family, needs, problems and worries.
The two articles under analysis regard different topics though within a single subject of sociology. The authors of the first article "What Do Low-Income Single Mothers say about Marriage?" tried to contemplate on the reasons and factors that make women refuse from men helping and supporting them. The article is based on the investigation settling on the interviews of real people from different cities of the United States. Four reasons are mentioned there and they are all may be supported with the arguments as wells as contradictions.
The second article being under examination is “Work and American Families” written by Jerry A.Jacobs and Kathleen Gerson. The article is also centralized on the conducted study regarding the problem of mainly shortage of time for working Americans; different working conditions are regarded and the reasons why people are concerned about this topic so much; there also mentioned the fact that family cannot fully enjoy time with the working relative, and he cannot afford the financial needs of his family (Coontz, pp. 454 - 466).
The two articles are the results of studies with provided answers, opinions and life situations of the real Americans. Both articles seek to propose solution to the existing problem under consideration, and both of them try to persuade their readers in choosing another possible and exiting ways. Both problems regarded are topical for modern Americans and the society as a whole.
I consider the topics to be urgent and covering the most significant and important issues of our society. In case if the readers of the first article are persuaded by the authors, our generation will be better than it is nowadays. In spite of gender equality, women are striving for, they should not forget about their direct mission on the Earth: to give birth to a child and be a householder for a man who has to earn to meet the demands of his family regarding the time he spends at work.
Coontz, S. (1999). American families: A multicultural reader (2nd ed., pp. 454 - 466). New York: Routledge.
Edin, K., & Kefalas, M. (2000). What Do Low-Income Single Mothers Say About Marriage? Social Problems, 112-133.