Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Two mothers fathering or two fathers mothering their adopted child is possible. Either setting is, considerably, a family setting, given the fact that despite present social debates, many studies show that there is no appreciable difference between children raised by homosexual parents and those reared by heterosexual ones. Recent experiments reveal that gay parents can raise well a family, challenging some prevalent notions that homosexuals have mental illnesses, that lesbians are less motherly than straight women, and that homosexual partners are more sex-obsessed than parenting-oriented and, as such, are unfit to be family heads.
Research investigations attest that the development of sexual identity will not be necessarily destroyed among children of homosexual parents, nor the development of these children’s psychological health and social relationships be negatively affected by the same-sex parents. These findings imply that children of lesbian parents, whether adoptive or not, follow gender-role templates not entirely different from those of other children, not wishing to be members of the opposite sex by showing satisfaction with their gender.This implication does not suggest increased rates of homosexuality among the children of lesbian or gay parents.
Similarly, children growing in stable gay homes are as adjusted as those growing in stable straight homes. In one sociological study, the gay fathers are seen to be more sensitive and responsive to the known need of children. This parenting behavior of gay fathers may be explained by the suggestions that gay fathers feel additional pressures to be more proficient at their parenting role and to be less traditional and more androgynous (or having the mixed feeling of male and female) than their non-gay counterparts.
Contrasting public scare, children raised by gay couples do not suffer crises on gender identity, role-playing or choice. In a psychological survey conducted in the US, children of lesbian couples born to them through artificial insemination exhibited similarity in mental and psychological functioning as those of their heterosexual counterparts’ children’s. Likewise, lesbian mothers are found to be more conscientious in child-rearing than their straight counterparts.
Family dynamics change based on the abovementioned unisex couple-led family contingency by virtue of this setting’s subversion of traditionally-accepted family composition that’s heteronormative. The conservative sectors of the society harbor a conventional structure of a family and as such, the very unconventionality of the parents being homosexuals is viewed as a challenge to the institution of Church-blessed marriages. The religious institution that invoke anti-gay scriptural references in defense of the traditionally-accepted family is interrogated by the libertarian attitude of the modern times, as manifested in settings that include living-in, single parenthood and, yes, unisex parenting. The State which sustains legal silence over the rights of gay couples already enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts is also challenged by the clamor to recognize the pink members of the community as legitimate citizens worthy of according rights, raising a gay family included.
Therefore, what makes a family goes beyond the normally accepted notion of a nuclear family with gender-specific mother and father and their biological children. In the case of Little Miss Sunshine, the family of Richard—however dysfunctional—is a family because the members are drawn to one another in such a manner that even in the direst of times, they can cling to one another. This intimate relationship is that which is universal in conventional and modern alternatives of families: whether connected by affinity or consanguinity, the members have personal ties that cannot just expire, revoked, or be relinquished as in more formal groups like organizations, cooperatives, societies even. The dramatic comedy film features a family that is composed of a quirky bunch of characters, from the obsessive mother Sheryl who possesses a vigorous resolve to keep the family calm and rational, to the pathetic father Richard who poses as a motivational speaker desperate to land a book deal, to the Nietzsche fan Dwayne who resolves to stay silent until he realizes his ambition of becoming a pilot, to the fat and ideologically ugly Olive who joins Little Miss Sunshine despite being a beauty pageant outcast, to Sheryl’s Proust scholar brother Frank who reels from a suicide instigated by a broken gay relationship, to Richard’s father Edwin who got evicted from his retirement home for snorting heroin. Their weird characteristics naturally call for disasters, and indeed each of them falls in his or her personal tragedy: Richard fails to bag the deal and, eventually, to save the family from bankruptcy, Dwayne discovers his colorblindness so his dream disintegrates, Frank sees again the ex-lover that deters his romantic recuperation, Edwin dies midway of the family’s road trip, and the talent Edwin has taught his granddaughter costs Olive her inclusion in the pageant and lands the entire family in the security office.
These personal catastrophes are that which enriches the family theme in Little Miss Sunshine: a family may appear unconventional (like gay families), but the members will only have one another to rely on. In the face of extreme failures, the only hope yet abandoned is the family. Family members are anticipated to care and devote themselves mutually. This is true in consideration of the family as one cohesive unit that keeping loyalty to one another by virtue of blood or ties is a social expectation that’s inescapable. There is a social notion that the absence of stable domestic lives instigates individuals into engaging in an anti-social behavior that puts everyone else at risk. To some extent, the more solid (meaning, the more nuclear/less extended) a family is, the more capable the members are of reducing or avoiding violence, crime, poverty and other social evils. To uphold the family cannot be seen in any more utilitarian purpose but as an inherent good.