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Changes in Family and Sex Roles in Twentieth Century America


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Title: Changes in Family and Sex Roles in Twentieth Century America

Changes in Family and Sex Roles in Twentieth
Century America
  • Part 1. The Family and the Welfare State
  • Part 2. New Definitions of Family and Sex Roles

The Family and the Welfare State
The Family and the Welfare State
  • Who takes care of people when they are
    dependent -- that is unable to take care of
    themselves because of age (children or the
    elderly), sick, disabled, unable to find work
  • For most of human history, families were the
    primary agencies for welfare, supplemented by
    charity, religious institutions, and the state.

Traditional Concepts of Relief
  • Indoor or Outdoor
  • Indoor Relief Institutions, e.g., almshouses,
    workhouses, hospitals, orphanages
  • Outdoor Relief Donations of food, clothing, cash
    or other resources for people to take home
  • Deserving vs. Undeserving Poor
  • The deserving poor can expect relief
  • The undeserving poor need to be forced back to

Status and Security
  • In ancient and pre modern societies, ones
    guarantee of security was defined by social and
    family status, as lord, free person, slave, serf,
    etc., or family member.
  • In modern societies based upon individualism and
    free enterprise, the claim for freedom and
    liberty also attenuates claims for security.

Old and New Types of Crises
  • Old crises war, famine, disease, natural
  • Industrial Capitalism adds a new type of economic
    crisis the panic, stock market crash,
    recession, depression, when the economy collapses

Capitalist Economic Crises
  • Occurred roughly every 20 years, with increasing
  • 1819
  • 1837
  • 1857
  • 1873-77
  • 1893-97
  • 1907
  • 1929-1941

The Great Depression, 1929-1941
Impact of the Great Depression
  • Quarter of the Labor Force Unemployed by 1933,
    and remained at 10-15 til 1941.
  • 25 decline in prices and GDP by 1932.
  • Housing Market collapsed.
  • Vast Amount of Liquid Wealth Destroyed in Market
  • 1932 Repudiation of the government of Herbert
    Hoover, and election of Franklin Roosevelt who
    promised a New Deal

Relevance for Family and Sex Roles
  • Recognition that families, local government, and
    private charity could not provide welfare in
    time of crisis
  • A new radical change? The national government
    took on the responsibility.
  • Or a conservative legislative agenda to assure
    traditional economic, family and property
  • .Or both.

The Cornerstone of the New System Social
Security Act of 1935
  • Providing Benefits to the Deserving
  • BOASI Bureau of Old Age and Survivors Insurance
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Aid to the Blind, Deaf, and Disabled
  • Aid to Families of Dependent Children (Mothers

The Elements of the New System Social Security
Act of 1935
  • BOASI Bureau of Old Age and Survivors Insurance
  • Federally run
  • Tax on employers and employees to pay for old age
  • Survivors, children and spouses, can draw
    benefits from workers account
  • No benefits unless one has worked a sufficient
    number of quarters
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for indigent

The Elements of the New System Social Security
Act of 1935
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • State administered program with federal support
  • Tax on employer (and sometimes employees) to
    support program
  • Time limited benefit while employee is laid off
    and/or searching for a new job

The Elements of the New System Social Security
Act of 1935
  • Aid to the Blind, Deaf, and Disabled
  • Federally run program to provide benefits to
  • Uses the BOASI model
  • A small program

The Elements of the New System Social Security
Act of 1935
  • Aid to Families of Dependent Children (Mothers
  • Locally administered program to provide benefits
    to women with children but without husbands
  • Benefits vary greatly by locale and are very small

Additional Provisions of the Welfare State, 1930s
and 1940s
  • Work Relief Programs e.g., Works Progress
    Administration, Public Works Administration
    (ended during World War II)
  • Support for Housing Industry, Homeowners and
  • Federal Housing Administration and Veterans
    Administration mortgage guarantees
  • Public Housing (begun in 1930s and 1940s)
  • Tax policy
  • Withholding extended to wage earning population
    during World War II
  • Income tax deductions for dependents
  • Mortgage interest deductions

Remaining Issues
  • Health Care and Insurance?
  • Support for Job Training and Higher Education?
  • Food Security?

Additional Provisions
  • Food Stamps 1964
  • Locally administered program providing means
    tested support
  • Also supported by farming interests
  • Medicare and Medicaid 1965
  • National Health Insurance for Elderly
  • Health Insurance for the indigent administered
  • Higher Education Aid
  • GI Bill of Rights, post World War II, subsidized
    education for veterans
  • National Defense Education Act (1950 and 1960s)
    began grant and loan programs for higher

Has the Welfare State Accomplished its Goals?
Should it Continue?
  • Debate begins in the 1970s
  • The Welfare State has guaranteed Americans the
    highest living standards in the world.
  • Or
  • The Welfare State has outlived its usefulness,
    taxes are too high, and once again families and
    the private sector should shoulder the burden of

Examples of the New Understanding
  • 1994 The Clinton Administrations proposals for
    national health insurance collapsed, and
    Americans elected a Republican Congress for the
    first time in 60 years.
  • 1996 Congress repealed Aid to Families with
    Dependent Children, one of the original
    provisions of the 1935 Social Security Act.
  • PRWORA Personal Responsibility and Work
    Opportunities Reconciliation Act
  • Bush administration proposed privatizing the
    BOASI system.

Contemporary Issues in Family and Sex Roles
  • Whats next.?

Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and its Legacy
  • Playboy culture for men and.
  • Birth control pill for reliable contraception for
  • Lead to new possibilities for and debates about
    gender relations.

Second Wave Feminism
  • Betty Friedans The Feminine Mystique (1963)
    signals a new challenges to the limitations on
    womens roles
  • New organizations appear
  • National Organization for Women (NOW) (1966)
  • Womens liberation and consciousness raising
    groups late 1960s and later

Civil Rights and Second Wave Feminism
Legislative Changes
  • First the courts Brown v. Board of Education
    (1954) desegregated public schools.
  • Repudiated the theory of separate but equal
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963
  • Men and women must be paid the same for the same
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Nondiscrimination in public accommodations
  • Title VII Nondiscrimination in the labor market
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Housing Act of 1968
  • non discrimination required in housing markets
  • Title IX of education amendments of 1972 requires
    gender equity in education.
  • most notable impact was in athletics.

Later Developments
  • Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), provided
    constitutional protection for birth control and
    articulated a right to privacy
  • Struck down CT law making contraception illegal
    for married couples.
  • Roe v. Wade (1973) Legalized abortion
  • Defended by pro choice movement to define the
    right to choose
  • Attacked by pro life movement on the grounds
    that abortion takes the life of a fetus.
  • Sexual Harassment defined as illegal form of
    discrimination by courts in late 1970s.

Challenges to Patriarchal Social Relations
  • Equal Rights Amendment But it fails in late
  • Gender Gap in voting since 1980
  • Women and men vote differently
  • Changes in family structure
  • dual earner family
  • single parent family
  • same sex marriage

Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and its Legacy
Gay Rights
Same Sex Relations
  • We have examined the history of sexuality
    primarily in the context of the history of the
  • Western religious traditions conceptualize same
    sex sexual relations as deviant and/or sinful,
    and classify same sex physical relations with
    other forms of deviant, sinful, or prohibited
    sexuality (e.g., fornication, adultery,
    bestiality, masturbation).
  • The logic behind such a conception is that the
    purpose of sexuality is procreation, and such
    behavior is not potentially procreative.

Movements for Sexual Liberation
  • Come from a variety of interests, e.g.,.
  • Heterosexual Men and Women
  • Science and Medicine
  • Gays and Lesbians

Science and Medicine...
  • Challenge the authority of law and religious
    authorities to define the normal and the
    deviant in sexuality.
  • Psychologists Freud
  • Sociologists
  • Alfred Kinsey
  • Physiologists
  • Masters and Johnson

  • ...begin to survey sexual practices.
  • The Kinsey Reports of the 1940s and 1950s
    demonstrate the discrepancy between morality and
  • For example, 1/3rd of men acknowledge a sexual
    relationship to orgasm with another male

  • Masters and Johnson conduct experiments to
    study human sexuality by putting people in a
    laboratory, wiring them up and recording
    physiological responses.
  • When 1950s and 1960s

Gays and Lesbians.
  • And the the right to sexual autonomy.
  • In the US, cities develop gay and lesbian
    subcultures (turn of the 20th century), including
    bars and restaurants, and networks of jobs and
    relationships of support.
  • These communities are periodically harassed and
    prosecuted under local vice laws.
  • 3. In 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, bar in
    Greenwich Village, NY, the patrons fought back
    when the police attempted to raid the bar and
    arrest patrons. A street riot broke out and led
    to an open movement for the rights of gays and
    lesbians, patterned on the civil rights and
    womens liberation movements.

Gay Rights Organizations
  • 1924 The Society for Human Rights in Chicago
    becomes the country's earliest known gay rights
  • 1951 The Mattachine Society, the first national
    gay rights organization, is formed by Harry Hay,
    considered by many to be the founder of the gay
    rights movement.
  • 1956 The Daughters of Bilitis, a pioneering
    national lesbian organization, is founded.

Gays and Lesbians...
  • In 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich
    Village, NY, the patrons fought back when the
    police attempted to raid the bar and arrest
    patrons. A street riot broke out and led to an
    open movement for the rights of gays and
    lesbians, patterned on the civil rights and
    womens liberation movements.

  • 1973 The American Psychiatric Association
    removes homosexuality from its official list of
    mental disorders.
  • 1982 Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw
    discrimination on the basis of sexual
  • 1980s AIDS Epidemic
  • 1993 The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is
    instituted for the U.S. military, permitting gays
    to serve in the military but banning homosexual
    activity. President Clinton's original intention
    to revoke the prohibition against gays in the
    military was met with stiff opposition this
    compromise, which has led to the discharge of
    thousands of men and women in the armed forces,
    was the result.
  • 1996 In Romer v. Evans, the Supreme Court strikes
    down Colorado's Amendment 2, which denied gays
    and lesbians protections against discrimination,
    calling them special rights. According to
    Justice Anthony Kennedy, We find nothing special
    in the protections Amendment 2 withholds. These
    protections . . . constitute ordinary civil life
    in a free society.

  • 2000 Vermont becomes the first state in the
    country to legally recognize civil unions between
    gay or lesbian couples. The law states that these
    couples would be entitled to the same benefits,
    privileges, and responsibilities as spouses. It
    stops short of referring to same-sex unions as
    marriage, which the state defines as
  • 2003 The U.S. Supreme Court rules in that sodomy
    laws in the U.S. are unconstitutional. Justice
    Anthony Kennedy wrote, Liberty presumes an
    autonomy of self that includes freedom of
    thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate
  • In November, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial
    Court ruled that barring gays and lesbians from
    marrying violates the state constitution. The
    Massachusetts Chief Justice concluded that to
    deny the protections, benefits, and obligations
    conferred by civil marriage to gay couples was
    unconstitutional because it denied the dignity
    and equality of all individuals and made them
    second-class citizens. Strong opposition
    followed the ruling.
  • 2004 On May 17, same-sex marriages become legal
    in Massachusetts.
  • 2005 Civil unions become legal in Connecticut in
    Oct. 2005.

Wisconsin in 2006
  • Should the State Constitution ban same sex
  • The November Ballot
  • Pro
  • And
  • Con