Andrea Giacobbe / http://andreagiacobbe.net/
Pick a random American household today, and it’s more likely to look like Dan’s than like Ozzie and Harriet’s. Nearly half of adults ages 18 and older are single. About 1 in 7 live alone. Americans are marrying later, divorcing in larger numbers, and becoming less interested in remarrying. According to the Pew Research Center, by the time today’s young adults reach age 50, a quarter of them will have never married at all.
The surge of singlehood is not just an American phenomenon. Between 1980 and 2011, the number of one-person households worldwide more than doubled, from about 118 million to 277 million, and will rise to 334 million by 2020, according to Euromonitor International. More than a dozen countries, including Japan and several European nations, now have even larger proportions of solo-dwellers than the U.S. (Sweden ranks highest at almost 50 percent.)2 Individuals, not couples or clans or other social groups, are fast becoming the fundamental units of society.
“Shared parenting is likely in our genes. It works. So why do we cling to the idea that the nuclear family is the best way to raise children?
The nuclear family can be extraordinarily dangerous for children. Some – often children of educated and privileged families – are buckling under pressure to succeed and are committing suicide at alarming rates. Those in the United States who experience parental divorce are overwhelmingly being raised in poverty, which has lifelong ramifications on their health, wealth and education. At the extreme, some 500 children a year are murdered by their parents in the US, and millions more are abused and neglected, with inadequate systems to help them until damage is done.
[…]For the philosopher Anca Gheaus, communal childrearing makes a lot of sense. In a series of papers, Gheaus explores what childrearing ideally would look like based on children’s rights and emotional needs. While acknowledging that some parental power and decision-making is essential until children can care for themselves, parents often use their power arbitrarily and in their own best interest – not necessarily their child’s. Being a parent shouldn’t automatically give someone a ‘monopoly of care’ over a child, she says, especially since anyone can become a parent without having any training or undergoing any testing to see if he or she’s up for the job.”
“More people are opting for the single life, a research study revealed. The Pew Research Center found out that the number of men and women age 25 and older who stay single is increasing. The findings also suggest that men are more likely than women to not marry – 23 percent vs. 17 percent.
Today 20 percent of Americans age 18-29 are married compared to 60 percent in 1960. As a result, single adult women now outnumber married adult women in the U.S for the first time in history. Interestingly enough, the median age of first marriage for women has changed a lot over the course of time. From 1890-1980, the median age for first marriage among women was between 20 and 22 but by 1990, the median shifted to 23. Now, the trend has gone up to over 27.”
“Will these appliances and toys continue to develop into something more sophisticated and more human-like, to the point where we might start to see them as possible romantic partners?
While some may compare this to objectophilia (falling in love with objects), we must ask whether this can truly be the case when the object is a robot that appears and acts like a human.
It is already the norm to love and welcome our pets as family members. This shows us that some varieties of love needn’t be a purely human, nor even a sexual phenomenon. There is even evidence that some pets such as dogs experience very similar emotions to humans, including grief when their owner dies.”
“The next big thing isn’t a clever gadget or miracle drug—it’s a way of life: not a breakthrough invention but a social innovation. And it’s not so much a beginning as it as a series of endings.
Rising numbers of young people are now deciding to do everything their parents didn’t. They’re eschewing cultural and economic convention to challenge what we take to be civil society. They aren’t marrying. They’ve become the refuseniks of our competitive corporate culture. And many of them have opted out of organized religion.”
“Giving people access to family planning is crucial to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030, reproductive health experts said this week.
Speaking at an international family planning conference in Bali, Ellen Starbird, director of population and reproductive health at USAid, said family planning was the “critical link” to meet each of the 17 goals that were adopted by UN member states in September.
Targets in two of the SDGs – goals three and five – call for universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights. But those campaigning for wider access to family planning and improved reproductive healthcare believe that unless more people are offered modern contraception, other interventions to reduce poverty and inequality may be far less effective.”
“A central argument made against same-sex marriage is that children born into these marriages will be disadvantaged: they will grow up with inappropriate gender role modelling, be bullied at school and suffer poorer emotional well-being than their peers.
Same-sex attracted people may come to parenthood in many ways – though former heterosexual relationships, as a foster parent or a step parent. Increasingly, lesbian couples and single women are forming families using known sperm donors (a friend of the couple) or a clinic-sourced anonymous donor. Male couples are also increasingly turning to egg donation and surrogacy services to become parents.”
“What is the correct number of children each of us should have? It’s a question to which we urgently need an answer – made all the more necessary by the latest reported figures, which show that Britain now has more families with four or more children than at any time since the 1970s. According to the European statistics agency, Eurostat, there’s a growing trend for large families – even though the average family size is getting smaller.
Should this be celebrated, or condemned? We need some guidance, surely. If not, how are today’s young people of childbearing age ever going to work out what to do?”
“The first time I went to a playground in Berlin, I freaked. All the German parents were huddled together, drinking coffee, not paying attention to their children who were hanging off a wooden dragon 20 feet above a sand pit. Where were the piles of soft padded foam? The liability notices? The personal injury lawyers?
“Achtung! Nein!” I cried in my bad German. Both kids and parents ignored me.”
“[…] Nicole Noyes of the NYU Fertility Center, lean and intense, spoke energetically about egg freezing, a field in which she was an early leader. She began with a reassuring screenshot of her recent study finding no higher risk of birth defects among 900 children born from frozen eggs.2 Her clinic’s results seemed incredible: If a woman freezes her eggs at 35, Noyes told us, and uses them at, say, 43, she has a 50 percent chance at a live birth from one IVF cycle. Compare that to her unaided chances of conception (using IVF or naturally) at age 43: 5 percent each cycle. If she freezes her eggs later, at 38, her success rate for one IVF cycle dips to 37 percent. According to Noyes, success is determined by the age at which you froze the eggs. “31 is as long as I’d wait,” she told one questioner in a swarm of audience members, many still clutching purple cartons of popcorn, after the presentation. I had lost sight of the 27-year-old, but I spotted the data scientist hurrying up an aisle to sign up.”
“It’s at once easy and difficult to speak of the family: in certain ways, we grasp it totally, we’ve already got it, or we’re just about to nail it. It seems a thing totally quotidian, totally normal, that seems almost stupid to name in the midst of a political discourse. Because the family, our family, is a private thing, our personal problem, from which can arise conflicts with parents, with a wife, with a husband, with aunts, with our sons. But this is normal, “it’s always been like that,” and everyone resolves it by oneself. Unfortunately…”
“Família é uma palavra de origem latina, e, dizem os vocabulários, indicava o conjunto dos servos que habitavam em uma casa e não fazia referência a nenhum laço de parentesco. O matrimônio também mudou de significado ao longo do tempo, explica Emile Benveniste (Il vocabolario delle istituzioni indo europee, Ed. Einaudi). Nas línguas indoeuropeias não existe uma única palavra que indique aquilo que hoje se entende por matrimônio, mas existem palavras diferentes para os homens e as mulheres. Em particular, matrimonium significava exclusivamente o tornar-se esposa por parte da mulher; levou tempo para que, nas línguas românicas, o termo assumisse o significado de “união legal entre homem e mulher”.
A pesquisa das etimologias, das fontes, é muito útil quando uma palavra, um conceito, uma formação social são submetidas a tensão social, estão no centro de um conflito. Assim como acontece hoje para família e matrimônio. Um choque que não tem nada a ver com a natureza, que é empunhada como uma clave, como se até mesmo da natureza houvesse uma única ideia.
Como se não fosse necessário se perguntar a que natureza se faz referência quando ela é invocada como fonte de uma norma social – e legal – a ser imposta a todos. Entende-se o instinto que leva ao acasalamento, para usar uma linguagem do século XIX? Ou os hormônios, para recorrer ao biologismo difuso dos nossos tempos? E se, para estabelecer de que natureza estamos falando, é necessário concordar, encontrar uma linguagem comum, isso não implica que nos referimos, em todo o caso, a algo que os humanos significam? Que é a interpretação humana que dá sentido a esses fatos, que os coloca em uma ordem?”
“Indagados a respeito das principais conclusões a que chegaram em relação à família brasileira no estudo recente que realizaram com base no censo de 2010, José Eustáquio Diniz Alves e Suzana Cavenaghi, em entrevista concedida por e-mail à IHU On-Line, dizem que a primeira grande mudança foi a redução do arranjo majoritário formado por casais (núcleo duplo) com filhos. “Em números aproximados, este tipo de família estava presente em cerca de dois terços (66%) dos domicílios, em 1980, mas caiu para algo próximo de 50% em 2010. Isso aconteceu porque os pais, tendo menor número de filhos e maior esperança de vida, vivem mais tempo na fase do ‘ninho vazio’, pois os filhos tendem a sair da casa de seus progenitores para formar uma nova família, para morar sozinhos ou para formar arranjos domiciliares com pessoas não parentes”, frisam.
Para eles, o casamento é praticamente um evento universal no Brasil, mas somente se considerarmos todos os tipos de matrimônio. “Em 1970, 65% dos casamentos aconteciam no civil e no religioso, 14% somente no civil, 14% só no religioso e 7% eram uniões consensuais. Em 2010, o casamento no civil e religioso caiu para 43%, só no civil aumentou para 17%, só no religioso caiu para 3% e as uniões consensuais subiram para 37%”.”
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