The Representation of Family, Work, and Gender within "The Atlantic" Magazine An evaluation of "the atlantic" Since the 1970's by derek eaton

First things first, I would like to comment on how long some of the articles in "The Atlantic" are. It took me almost an hour to read the longest article that I have decided to use in this page. For sake of comparison, I can read the final "Harry Potter" book in three hours. Each copy of "The Atlantic" has at least two articles of this size. This made finding and evaluating articles the most time consuming part of my project.

Huge book takes the same amount of time to read as one magazine

I have decided to organize this page into four main sections. Since I am looking at articles from three periods of time, each period will get its own section. In these period sections, I will provide the abstract of each article as well as extra summary if needed. In these sections will be a deeper analysis of how family, work, and gender are portrayed. The last section will compare and contrast the portrayals of family, work, and gender from each period. I will also include the main picture of an article if there is one.

I chose the articles for this project in a very simple manner. Since I already knew what time periods I would need to search, I simple began to go through the "Atlantic" archives and checked both the titles and abstracts of all the articles in each period. If I found an article that seemed to contain information about family, work, or gender, I would read the entire article to see if I could use it here.

The Obsolescent Mother

By Edward Grossman

"Is the artificial womb inevitable?"

This article talks about issues surrounding childbirth. From the history of childbirth to the new understandings, this article brings a lot of things to light. It then begins to talk about the ethics of artificial insemination.

Brave New Marriage

By Melvin Maddocks

"If sensory overload isn't the answer, how about diffused sensuality-sexuality and constant feedback and re-evaluation within a flexible process philosophy?"

This article asks the question, is marriage still important. Is it becoming obsolete. the entire purpose of this article is to examine the importance of marriage to the newest generations.

A Letter to the Young (and to Their Parents)

By Midge Dector

"Thoughts about a generation that has reached adulthood—or should have—and was supposed to be the brightest, most gifted ever. What went wrong?"

This is exactly what the title says. This letter is from one generation to the next. To explain parenting in part, and provide a small amount of guidance to this younger generation. The stages of growing up.

During 1975 to 1977, many of the articles bring up issues about women not needing men, marriage beginning to decline, and worries about future generations.

Can the Government Prevent Divorce?

By Francine Russo

"Researchers say that they can—and some states feel they should—reduce the likelihood of divorce by altering the course of bad marriages in the making."

The article opens by describing how an engaged women breaks it off with her fiance. Using this to launch into a section about a Mike McManus, the article moves forward onto how people are combating the rising divorce rate. At this point the article also uses terms like divorce crisis and marital conflict. The result of studies on married couples about how they interact with each other is presented in this article.

The Happy Memories Club

By Lee Smith

"Her writing group would meet each week, and each member was encouraged to share some writing with the others -- provided the subject matter was pleasant and meaningful."

This article is a story about a woman in a retirement home. She joins a writing club and writes about her past. Her past began with unhappy events. The club didn't want to hear these unhappy things, and tried to stop her before she could get to the happy parts of her life.

Horse Heaven Hills

By Christina Adam

"What made her go on? Another woman would stay in the house, would chop wood and wait, would make do until the storm had passed."

This article is about an aunt telling her niece a story about her cousin. It seems to be a nice story at first but quickly develops into a dire situation during the middle of winter.

Welding With Children

By Tim Gautreaux

"He was just one old man with a little brown book of Bible stories. How could he compete with MTV, the Playboy Channel, and rental movies where people kill each other with no more thought than it would take to swat a fly?"

This article is a story about a grandfather watching his grandchildren for his daughters. It relays his worries about how they are being raised as well as how he begins to handle the situation.

During 1995 to 1997, "The Atlantic" has many articles that are just stories about peoples' pasts or troubles that they encountered with the rest of their family. Most of these stories about the past are heavily contradicted by articles discussing issue regarding the rising divorce rate, premarital pregnancies, and similar family problems. Work issues didn't come up as much in this period.

The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

"American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they've failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it's time to reclaim his original intent."

The article opens by explaining how Moynihan wrote about how the black families were being treated poorly and how it would change them in the future. As the crime rates began to grow there are discussions on how to handle the increase in criminals. The article goes on to discuss how some of the predictions that Moynihan made are coming true. It then begins to discuss life inside prison. Some of the unspoken rules that prisoners, both men and women, must learn in order to survive. The article touching on the subject of slavery and what happened to the people after they were freed. There is a short section discussing the chance that crime prevention might be influenced by racist presumptions. There are several sections explaining how several president's, Nixon and Clinton, handled issue regarding crime and african americans. At this point the article begins to discuss the direct impacts on the families of those incarcerated.

Why I Put My Wife’s Career First

By Andrew Moravcsik

"The well-being of children, the status of women, and the happiness of men will depend on whether more fathers are willing to take on primary parenting roles."

This article is about a male professor working with his wife, also a professor, in order to raise their kids while balancing their jobs. It details the experiences that he and his wife went through while their kids were still young and up through their teenage years. These experiences lead into the concept of lead parent. After a certain point while raising their children, the father became the one primarily responsible for taking care of the children while his wife continued working.

How Beyoncé and Kanye Made Marriage Cool Again

By Spencer Kornhaber

This article is a short one explaining how marriage between two pop-culture icons would reaffirm the importance of marriage. The article explains that these icons would have the ability to influence many people about the current perspectives towards marriage. I have left out the abstract because it was very short.

Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?

By Liza Mundy

"Tech companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve conditions for female employees. Here’s why not much has changed—and what might actually work."

This article talks about some of the many trouble that women working in the tech industry face. Between the sexual harassment and being treated as unqualified, the women working for silicon valley companies are facing difficult issues. There are accounts from several women detailing specific situations where a prejudice against women occur.


By Bianica Bosker

"The enviable, highly profitable life of Amber Fillerup Clark, perfect mother and social-media influencer."

This article is about a mother that blogs about her family. It covers how she thinks as she is taking photos as well as how people respond to different types of pictures. The article moves on to the topic of mommy bloggers and how they have been received by society.

During the years of 2015 to 2017, technology has a huge role in the representation of family, work, and gender. From mommy bloggers, to women working in Silicon Valley, it is all connected by some form of technology. Women are choosing to stay at home more often than getting a job. Men are struggling to decide if they should be the one to stay home instead of their wives. Marriage is being seen in different lights to the issues of gay and lesbian relationships.

The strongest pattern that I can see in these articles is that each time period had a different focus on the importance of family. During the 1970's, many of the articles seemed to be questioning the traditional family structure (husband, wife, and children) and exploring the possibilities of removing the need for men in the family. The articles from the 1990's all portrayed different manners in which family units were falling apart. The content of these articles varied from questioning marriage to stories about struggling families and strong independent women trying to be heard. Since 2015, the Atlantic has published many articles that all revolve around the challenge of fixing "the family". This includes pointing out problems and presenting role-models for how "the family" should be.

In my opinion, these articles document how America made a choice, followed the road it created, realized that the road was terrible, and are trying to move down a new path that hopefully leads to easier roads. I think analogies are very helpful in situations like this, so start by imagining a person standing at a Y in a path. They can choose to go either left or right, but they can't see very far down either path. After they make their choice and have been walking down their path for a while they realize it is terrible. They decide to go down the opposite path, but instead of backtracking, they cut straight across to where they think they can meet up with the other path. Unfortunately, by cutting across, they have no idea if they will actually reach the other path, and in America's case, have left all of the issues they encountered on their original path unresolved.

I am not judging the Atlantic nor America. I am simply stating that the Atlantic has provided descriptive documentation of how America chose its path (1970's), relayed the experiences of the path (1990's), and recording the trek through the unknown to what is hoped to be a better path (Today).

After all of the things that we learned in class regarding work and gender, I think I was expecting some of the issues that we discussed in class to appear in several articles. However, I only found one article that directly examined work and gender issues, the one about women in Silicon Valley. During the class, it never even occurred to me that what we were discussing was out in left field. It seems strange to not see more people talking about these gender and work issues or trying to create solutions for these issues. I was expecting the articles to touch more on work-gender than family-gender. I had to spend some time reevaluating this project after I began looking up articles. Some examples of the issues I was expecting to see included women getting paid less, women having more trouble acquiring certain types of jobs, and women being restricted to certain types of jobs. While I am happy with the articles I found and the conclusions that I reached, it is a long way from what I was originally expecting it to be.

Just to satisfy my love for analogies, if work, gender, and family are the points of a triangle, I was expecting to find more articles that fit the work-gender edge when instead I found articles that fit the gender-family edge.

Decter, Midge. "A Letter to the Young (and to Their Parents)." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Feb. 1975. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Grossman, Edward. "The Obsolescent Mother." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 May 1971. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Maddocks, Melvin. "Brave New Marriage." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Sept. 1972. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Adam, Christina. "Horse Heaven Hills." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Gautreaux, Tim. "Welding With Children." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Mar. 1997. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Russo, Francine. "Can the Government Prevent Divorce?" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Oct. 1997. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Smith, Lee. "The Happy Memories Club." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Dec. 1995. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Bosker, Bianca. "Instamom." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 03 Feb. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 08 Mar. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Kornhaber, Spencer. "How Beyoncé and Kanye Made Marriage Cool Again." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 08 Aug. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Moravcsik, Andrew. "Why I Put My Wife's Career First." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 15 Sept. 2015. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Mundy, Liza. "Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 05 Apr. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

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