The modern American family
The American family has undergone a major transformation in just a few decades. In these clips, the panel uncovers the why, the how and the cultural changes you can anticipate.
FEMALE PANELIST: I think it affects decisions in a different way for different children. Like the first child you have maybe cost doesn’t come in so much, but if you’re trying to choose whether or not to have a third or a fourth child, that’s going to play a bigger role.
MALE PANELIST: It is very expensive and you don’t have to have kids anymore. It used to be the case for most of the history of marriage that you had to have kids to work on a farm or to help out at the shop. And there is such a value now on the happiness of a marriage and having this hedonic lifestyle.
Things are just great. You get to travel and everything else and kids obviously make that more difficult to do.
FEMALE PANELIST: I think fifty years ago, if you were married and didn’t have kids, people just assumed that something wasn’t working.
HOST: Like physically wasn’t working.
FEMALE PANELIST: In the trousers, yeah.
HOST: In the trousers!
FEMALE PANELIST: Seriously, yeah.
HOST: For the Americans in the audience, that’s the pants.
FEMALE PANELIST: Right, they were guessing even bigger.
HOST: Yeah, it's crazy.
FEMALE PANELIST: I know. It's about the same as a year of tuition at a private university in America right now in order to get married. On one hand, it’s crazy that our sort of obsession with the institution of marriage is really ambivalent, because, on one hand, we don't think marriage is necessary in order to have a good sort of relationship. On the other hand, we care a lot about marriage because we're fighting about who's allowed to get married, and people care a lot about their weddings.
I have this friend who has this theory. She was saying, well, you know, back in old times, it was really traumatic when a bride got married, that she would have sex for the first time in her life. She would move out of her parent's house for the first time in her life. Now we just traumatize these women by forcing them to get calligraphy and forcing them to plan a wedding and forcing them to go through $30,000 worth of stress basically.