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Jessica Djajadi
Professor Makarosyan
English 114 B
11 May 2015
Societys Positive View on Non-Traditional Families
Essay #1 Prompt:
To what extent are non-traditional family dynamics represented in the media and are they
represented positively or negatively?

Sources/Readings: Remember that your argument is based on medias portrayal of this subject
and to use examples to support/reflect your arguments. In addition, in order to support your
position, you must include 3 researched/scholarly sources and minimum 1 source from the class
readings to support your claims/arguments

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Societys Positive View on Non-Traditional Families
Whether we like it or not, societys view typically is controlled by the media. When
someone wants to be heard or wants to make a statement, the media is the number one place to
go to make your point. The societys view on traditional marriage in comparison to a couple
decades ago has drastically changed, meaning that the idea of it is dying out. It has come to the
point that in our generation the type of relationship and marriage you have, does not concern the
well beings of others. As long as we are happy with our love ones it should not matter who we
are with. Just recently in the 21st century, it seems that our new generation has become more
accepting for those who are leaning towards a non-traditional family. Even though for centuries
our different views on traditional marriages is still being introduced, because of the media
placing a positive light on different family dynamics, we have new ideas of family dynamics
such as cohabitating and gay marriages.
For many years the view that is depicted in the media concerning how a family should
look like, generally consists of a man and a woman, who are legally bound in marriage raising
their kids together. While the woman becomes a housewife, the man becomes the bread winner
for the family. Since the past, society has formed the idea of a traditional household this way, it
is found that almost half of all newlyweds begin by sharing household tasks equally. But over the
course of marriage, the husbands contribution to housework declines significantly (Grunow 1).
It is still the same no matter what even if the woman happens to make more money she is still
responsible for the health of her family. On the other hand the category that challenges this idea,
is what we call the non-traditional family that over the years with the use of media has
increased in popularity.
Non-traditional families include cohabitation, divorce, gay marriage, polygamy, and

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blended families. Normally you will not hear much about the non-traditional family but each
family in their own special way still manages to get the words across the world that it is
somewhat ok to live the way they are living. That their choices in living in a non-traditional
family will not affect their future kids. The topic about children is what is stopping society in
general from accepting the reality that not everyone thinks the same way. Although, now we can
see it changing in our media. We see it in shows such as Modern Family, The Life of an
American Teenager, The New Normal, Full House, The Fosters, Baby Daddy and
Keeping up with the Kardashians. This is just a short list of all the shows that are out there that
relates to a non-traditional family. The beliefs of one person might not be the same as another
person, therefore there are many controversies. Just the fact that there are movies, TV shows,
articles, books, magazines, talk-shows, reality TV, news and other media sources on nontraditional families shines a positive light to the idea. Media is indeed one of the major factors
for influencing and educating the world.
The easiest way to get recognition, especially for gay marriages and families, is to get
well-known celebrities to agree with the idea of gay marriages and families or at least record
them acknowledging the fact. Even though they are not the only factor for recognition,
celebrities are the most notable. An example would be in the year 2008 when Ellen DeGeneres
came out and decided to marry her now wife, Portia De Rossi. News about this gave mixed
reviews, but as time went by it was in a way acceptable. Another example would be the fact that
it only took one reporter to start digging to find out that Barack Obama had said he favored gay
marriage all the way back in 1996, even some of the most influential person in our country
believes in the idea of gay marriages (Baim 1). This brings a whole new perspective in ways that
an average person might not see, which ultimately gets the word across that it is ok. What we do

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not realize is [LG]BT people have been a people of the printed word after the article came out
about President Obamas point of view it became front page headline (Baim 1). Over the years
many influential people and celebrities have acknowledged the non-traditional way of living. It
allows other people to have different views on it. Another form of a non-traditional family is
living together and having a family before you are actually married, also known as cohabitation.
The word cohabitating means an arrangement of a couple living together as a couple but
not actually getting legally married (Scott, Gordon 1). Cohabitating is usually associated with a
trial period for a couple, to see how they will be before getting it official on paper. If things did
not work out it is easier to break up when cohabitating then getting a divorce, where lawyers are
involved. Many couples opt out of getting married because they realize that Divorce is hard,
time-consuming, and can be quite expensive financially and emotionally (How to Get a
Divorce). That is why only couple who are one hundred percent committed should get married
and if the individual are not, try cohabitating first. On the other hand it is also vice versa
Divorced individuals are increasingly choosing cohabitation as an alternative to marriage,
since they have gone through it once, it is safe to assume that having a second marriage will take
a bigger toll on the family especially the kids (Goshgarian 428). With the help of the media, on
the show Keeping Up with the Kardashians one of the Kardashians sister Kourtney, brings
positive light to cohabitating and the benefits of raising a family without the pressure of being
One of the most famous celebrity couples who are representing a non-traditional family
is Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick. Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick represents two
aspect of a non-traditional family, they are cohabitating and had three kids out of wedlock.

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Throughout the show we see their relationship as a rollercoaster, they fight, they make up, but
in reality they are happy with each other. In one of the episodes in regards to getting married,
Scott Disick mentioned that if they are already happy living the way they are why do they need
to change it. Although Kourtney is not the only sister who is living in a non-traditional family
lifestyle. For example Kim Kardashian and Kanye West had baby North before they got married.
Over the years we have seen more stories like cohabitating rapidly increasing in TV shows,
books, radio, and movies. Especially in the United States and Britain, studies have shown that
cohabitation has increased markedly since the 1960s. It is now common before marriage and
is often an alternative to marriage (Scott, Gordon 1). The fact that we do not use the word
cohabitation as frequently as we used to proves that the more we are familiarized with it the
more acceptable we will become. The media helps influences the world in a large scale, that gets
us thinking about the new normal how we can learn to be accepting towards it.
After seeing the media embrace the ideas of cohabitation and gay marriages, people have
become more open. If we are supposed to have the right to freely express ourselves, who gives
the society the right to tell someone else who they are allowed to be with and love. Just like what
our founding fathers have said in the past, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
An aspect of being happy is being with someone you love and care about. Overall the media
shines a positive light towards non-traditional marriages and families because there are so many
examples and new shows, new movies, new books on it that will expand our understanding. Just
recently a new show, One Big Happy that first aired on March 17, 2015 in which Ellen
DeGeneres is the executive producer, shows a husband and a wife cohabitating with a lesbian
who happens to be pregnant with the husbands child.

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Although it might feel like it is a slow start and a slow progression for the acceptance for
gay marriages and cohabitating, there is still some components of it that is increasingly changing
faster and faster. The understanding of their individual rights and freedom. Slow changes appear
here and there, for example the legalization of gay marriages in thirty-seven states, now
including California that began June 2013. Now there are gay communities, gay pride, the LGBT
communities and gay parades; some of the most notable ones are in San Francisco, and Los
Angeles/ Beverly Hills. An example of this are found in reality television shows, such as
Vanderpump Rules and Shahs of Sunset, in some of their episodes it showed the main
character or cast participating in the gay parade in Los Angeles. The episodes gives an awareness
for the audience and the world that on certain days of the year, people gather from around the
world to celebrate individualism. If it were not for the media ideas such as gay marriages would
not have been accepted in ways that it is today.
Even though I have been raised in the kind of manner that anything other than having a
traditional marriage is wrong, I have learned to accept it and in a way believe in having a nontraditional marriage is not so evil because of what I have seen in the media. No doubt about it,
that if you are not used to seeing or hearing the idea of a non-traditional family, it will be weird
at first but with more sources such as articles, books, magazines, media, and education coming
in, it will eventually become the new normal. In my opinion, the teens in our generations are
more likely to be exposed with this matter much faster than any other generations. Teenagers and
young adults are in the age group that actually can make a difference in societies social views.
With the help of technology, people are able to open up their minds and stay away from an
egocentric way of thinking. It seems that our media will also gradually digress and move away

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from the ideas of a traditional marriage and bring in more positive views on a non-traditional
family. In result, we will soon be accepting towards all types of relationships and individuals.

Works Cited
Baim, Tracy. "The Gay Media Jump the Page." The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, 16.3
(2009): 10-11.
Goshgarian, Gary. The Contemporary Reader. The Higher Risks of Cohabitation. New York:
Pearson Longman, 2008. Print.
Grunow, Daniela, Florian Schulz, and Hans-Peter Blossfeld. "What Determines Change in the
Division of Housework over the Course of Marriage?."International Sociology, 27.3
(2012): 289-307.
"How to Get a Divorce: A Step-by-step Guide." TODAY. N.p., 27 Nov. 2002. Web. 30 Mar.
Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. "Externalization : A Dictionary of Sociology
Oi." Externalization : A Dictionary of Sociology - Oi. Oxford University Press, 2009.
Web. 26 Mar. 2015.