While reading and formulating my response to Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed (Picador, April 2015), I was reminded that intentionally childless people are not alone in being criticized. In her blog posts, Kate Wasserman challenges negative views that society holds toward single parenting.
But even more than backlash against the intentionally childless or single parents of this world, I believe there is backlash toward any configuration of “family” that doesn’t fit the dominant view of “normal.”
Last year, a group of religious educators counted 31 different family configurations that showed up in their congregations. Several of those configurations were listed in the comments. And I’d wager that there are additional configurations that didn’t “show up on their radar” by virtue of not being represented among people at those specific churches.
One of the things I appreciate about the church that employs me as Religious Explorations administrative coordinator is that its larger denomination’s policy of non-discrimination includes “Family and Relationship Structures” (the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Rule G2-3).
Ultimately, society needs to get over its obsession with just who is in a family and who isn’t in one. For one thing, why is it anyone else’s business how other people live in a way that is harming no one? For another, even the most “normal”-seeming family can have challenges that they keep to themselves. Is there a family anywhere that can truly call itself “normal”?
Subject Classifications (Partial list, via Dewey Decimal System)
- 006.754-Social Media
- 020-Library and Information Science
- 020.92-Cynthia M. Parkhill (Biographical)
- 023.3-Library Workers
- 025.04-Internet Access
- 027.473-Public Libraries
- 027.663-Libraries and people with disabilities
- 027.8-School Libraries
- 028.52-Children's Literature
- 028.535-Young Adult Literature
- 028.7-Information Literacy
- 158.2-Social Intelligence
- 323.30-People with disabilities--Civil rights
- 658.812-Customer Service
- 659.2-Public Relations
- 686.22-Graphic Design
- 809-Literature--Critical Appraisal