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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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The Family

The Family

Love It or Leave It

(p.101) The Family
The Essential Ellen Willis

Nona Willis Aronowitz

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the resurgence of family chauvinism as a cultural trend during the 1970s. It considers the right’s impassioned defense of traditional family values and how it has affected the social atmosphere even in the liberal, educated middle class that produced the cultural radicals. In particular, it discusses the argument that the family is our last refuge, our only defense against universal predatory selfishness, loneliness, and rootlessness. On the left, family chauvinism often takes the form of nostalgic declarations that the family, with its admitted faults, has been vitiated by modern capitalism. The chapter contends that contrary to its myth, the family as an institution supports our fear of love rather than our yearning for it, and that we can embrace marriage, hoping to transcend its contradictions, or reject it, hoping to find something better.

Keywords:   family, right, middle class, left, capitalism, love, marriage

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