Roles in Marriage

Topics: Gender role, Gender, Family Pages: 4 (1368 words) Published: May 3, 2011
Modern Marriage: The Ultimate Test
Have the roles of men and women in marriage changed in modern society? There are many theories hoping to answer this controversial question. One theory comes from David Popenoe, a Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. Popenoe's theory of roles in marriage is that a modern marriage needs to be reestablished to a more traditional way of living, or to “restore the traditional nuclear family of bread-winning husband and full-time housewife that flourished in the 1950's” (Page 186). Another theory comes from Karen Zittleman (Ph.D), an education author and teacher; who takes her theory of modern marriage and brings it to a younger generation. Zittleman's theory of marriage roles is “in more ways than one, especially biologically, boys and girls are more similar than different and that gendered stereotypes and expectations have a developmental history that starts with learned notions of femininity and masculinity” (Page 236). Both Popenoe's and Zittleman's theories are factually effective. Popenoe opens his reading with a firm questioning on the role shift in modern marriage, and he manages to effectively back his claims throughout the essay. Zittleman also opens her reading strongly, jumping right to the point of her thesis and study. Zittleman uses studies conducted by other psychologists, statistics, and many factual statements. Popenoe uses studies conducted by other psychologists and many facts to support his thesis. However, Popenoe's theory on such a controversial topic leaves very little or no room for ambiguity or interpretation while Zittleman leaves her theory open to her readers. Popenoe justifies his theory by first establishing the so-called confusion in today's marital roles. He explains how the right family life of having “ a legally and culturally dominant bread-winning husband and an economically dependent full-time housewife” (Page 186) has drastically changed to “much confusion over family...
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