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Marriage and Parenting - Essay Example

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'Marriage' is the provision which permits the union and co-operation of two individuals, to live together and procreate, sharing the economic and social responsibilities involved; recognizing - the changed rights "in persons and property which is socially, legally and perhaps divinely sanctioned" (Simpson, 1998: 152)…
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Marriage and Parenting

Download file to see previous pages... Thus, here the family is seen "as a place of intimacy, love, and trust where the individuals may escape the competition of the humanizing forces in modern society" (Zinn & Eitzen, 1999: 8), making them salient 'paradigms', images on which cultures around the world are compared.
The adherence to this age-old concept of 'family' and the constructs of family-connected-living is found to be mutually fulfilling and beneficial, bringing about care and dependency, and predictability of roles and responsibilities. Thus, the family can also be seen as providing fulfillment, and a place of compensation and protection (Zinn & Eitzen, 1999: 2).
But, the traditional family-construct solicited long term commitment and fidelity of both the individuals involved. This was opposite to the fulfillment of self-satisfaction gained in those pursuits, which were the main goals of the value-system present in the society. Here, family and the commitment it envisages, is viewed as a struggle, or as an encumbrance. This gives it a negative image. Under this perception, family-based kinship-relationships are the limiting factors of the individual's quest of fulfillment of aspirations. Thus, in this view, family is a bondage that inhibits full human potential.
The relationship between romantic love and sex is effectively explained through biology - which views both as the basis of human behavior. Studies have shown the Man is evolution's tool, not its master (Kelman, 1998, pp.3-24). But, the distinctions of gender, and a more primitive form of romantic love, which signifies some sense of sex or sexuality, is found in most animals too. Gender is understood as the physical evolutionary organs male and female, bestowed by nature, for the 'continuum of the genetic species'. The gender classification inherently denotes the tasks and responsibilities to be performed by either like, females reproduce, prepare food; males hunt etc. Sexuality is explained as the heightened awareness with the aim of procreation, of the "physical evolutionary change related to the sexual act itself" (Kelman, 1998, pp.3-24).
Hence, gender is the stereo-type role play determined by the basic sex viz. male or female of the species. For example, animals especially other apes, "enjoy sex only when the females are in their most fertile phase, their estrus" and "would quickly lose interest" (Kelman, 1998, pp.3-24), once it is over, to carry on their social role play such as child-rearing and grooming. This is true for other species as birds and insects too; their mating instincts making them acutely aware of their differences, "birds dance and sing in courtship". Thus sex seems to be a "kind of universal social lubricant" in a complex social world, with the secretion of sex-hormones dictating their behavior.
For human beings, though much of the primitive sexual instincts have been retained, they are not exclusively driven by their hormones alone. The effect of culture and the presence of emotional attachment that binds them in relationships cannot be ignored. Thus, they "are bound together by more complicated bonds than an enhanced sexual relationship" and because of the other emotions involved, for human beings "sex is very rarely simply sex" (Kelman, 1998, pp.3-24).

Compare and contrast two cultural systems of marriage.
"Marriage is about as close as humans come to a universal cultural value" ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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