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Traditional gender roles and child custody

In the recent decades, a lot of the things have changed about American culture. One of the major movements of societal modification involves that of changing gender roles. In a world where it is no longer politically correct to correlate certain household chores and family obligations to a particular gender, one social critic questions whether equality is serving the greater good.

As California residents know, the difficult issues involved in divorce often center around children. Specifically, determining questions of child custody can be breaking points for separating couples, who might be, understandably unwilling to compromise when it comes to their own children. Historically, women have been granted child custody more often than men by California courts as well as courts nationwide. Today, that is not necessarily the case and courts are often required to consider both genders as equally capable to care for the child.

Yet, one social critic argues that political correctness has forced women and men out of their comfort zones, and in a bad way. For example, it is no longer acceptable to assume women are better care givers or should take on certain tasks in the home. Just as it is no longer correct to presume men are better at things like engineering and math. The critic is concerned that these politically correct stances actually force women and men away from the things that they might be best at and more comfortable doing, a behavior that could lead to an increased divorce rate among other problems.

No matter what side one falls regarding this argument, it is important to consider the implications of what assigned gender roles have on children. Women and men are incredibly complex beings and every individual differs in an number of ways. Children statistically benefit from having two parents in their lives. Assigning women the task of nurturing because that may be what they are good at generally could leave courts more likely to grant women sole custody in divorce. California courts consider the bests interest of the child in making child custody determinations and looking out for how the child will benefit most is truly the most important issue of all.

Source: The Washington Times, "Asking Suzanne Venker: Has political correctness changed gender roles?," April 26, 2013.

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