However, in her book Families We Choose , Kath Weston complicate and reconstruct of the notion of "family" by looking at the gay family in Bay Area around s. She argues that kinship can no longer be reduced to heterosexual intercorse and procreation. Gay people, who are exiled from family in the past, are actually creating their own family pattern. This historical shift will shape our understanding of family in a important way. Weston first problematize the notion of "family" by restoring it into historical context. She claims that there was an noticeable ideological shift of the notion "family" in s in the US.
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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. This classic text, originally published in and now revised and updated to include a new preface, draws upon fieldwork and interviews to explore the ways gay men and lesbians are constructing their own notions of kinship by drawing on the symbolism of love, friendship, and biology.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Families We Choose , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 31, Estelle B. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. Hunt, ; Giddens, The book is written by Kath Weston, herself a lesbian from the San Francisco scene, who says that her study would not be what it is if she had not been a lesbian. Kath Weston is the associate professor of anthropology at Arizona State University West, Phoenix, and books she has written include Render me, Gender Me: Lesbians talk sex, class, color, nation, studmuffins She chose the subjects for her study by consulting her address book and finding friends of friends, using theoretic sampling and then conducting interviews.
She states that it is not a statistical study, although they are at the back of the book. There are a modest number of fairly-long chapters. Chapter 1 describes how life is still hard for homosexuals despite how many people assume that times are better and that gay issues are no big deal. People are looking in from the outside with their taken-for-granted paradigms of family life. Chapter 2 discusses how the biological and procreative rules when it comes to defining family ties.
In chapter 3, in coming out to parents, homosexuals risk losing everything and they handle it in different ways. Siblings tend to be more understanding than parents, and gay men often go out for a man-to-man with their fathers as a way of coming to terms with the revelation. Gays feel ostracised in their straight communities and society for the way it stands, for example with gay marriage.
There is much discrimination that still abounds in the legal system, for example if a biological lesbian mother dies and her partner is not granted custody of the children. Homosexuals do not have the same recognition and legal rights as heterosexuals.
Since some gays are denied and excluded from their natural family, they now have the option of choosing their own, where they all do each other favours and help each other out, for example, helping friends with AIDS. Chapter 4 tells ten different coming-out stories, how their loved ones reacted and the various ways the new homosexuals were treated by their biological kin.
They find that they were homosexual all along but just did not know it. In chapter 5 the notion of community is brought forward and we examine whether chosen families are simply a substitute for the biological family that is familiar, and following those models. One lady said that her gay family made up for the love she had missed out on at home. The concept of narcissism is discussed in chapter 6. Homosexuality used to be represented as a pathological illness in a now debunked medical theory.
They suffer from too much intimacy and become dependent on one another, unable to differentiate themselves and carry on independent lives, unlike heterosexual couples.
Females are more likely to suffer from this problem; although males have greater trouble achieving intimacy. Lesbian relationships can be seen as an extension of the mother-daughter bond. Gay men often have a mentor, an older male gay friend, when they first come out, to show them the ropes and introduce them to the gay scene. Chapter 7 explores parenting in the age of AIDS. Many lesbians desire a gay male as the donor, as they are more likely to understand and can negotiate whether the father will be involved with the parenting or not.
It is one big gay family. Homosexuals have different views on parenthood; whether it would be unfair or not to expose children to the stigma that they are bound to encounter, but most are actually extremely desirous to be parents. It raises a paradox about procreating in a non-procreative situation.
Finally, chapter 8 concludes by talking about the politics of gay kinship and looks forward to the future. The book says that homosexual women are more alike to heterosexual women than they are to gay males, and the same stands the other way around for the men. She used unstructured interviews and chose a wide cross-section of different gays across San Francisco, different ethnicities, age cohorts and classes.
However, the sample cannot be said to be representative, least of all because she only tells the story of San Francisco, or at most, the United States. However, she does relate her research to different phases in the history of gay rights and freedom and distinguishes between young gays and older gays. Gays were thought of in stereotypes of white, middle class and wealthy. People were blamed for the disease and adequate care and education not provided. Kath Weston had to think carefully over her choice of a cover for the book, thoughtful about how gay kinship was represented.
As a literary book, I must admit that I found it rather tedious and plodding in places; extremely wordy. But it has educated me into a greater understanding of gay culture and homosexual lifestyles, and I found the coming-out stories interesting and occasionally shocking. The study was very informative. Although most examples in the book are outdated it first came out in , Families We Choose is still incredibly relevant. At the time of publication issues such as same-sex marriage, non-biological parent adoptions, adoption in general, etc.
Today the landscape of "gay families" author's term; today I'd call them queer families is a topic of much political Although most examples in the book are outdated it first came out in , Families We Choose is still incredibly relevant.
Today the landscape of "gay families" author's term; today I'd call them queer families is a topic of much political debate and legislation reform. Many of the questions in this book have been answered, to an extent. The world has evolved in the past 25 years, for better or worse. There is much to be grateful for. Like that anal sex is legal in Texas! Surprisingly though, some ideas that come up in this book have not been recognized. At the end of the book Weston questions whether the way we organize our families will evolve in the same direction as its heterosexual counterpart i.
Sadly, we have not come that far. I would also like to read a similar study done now. All in all, this book is an important, although isolated, reminder that families come about in all kinds of different ways.
Sep 17, Katie rated it really liked it. I read this in college, and I remember liking it and other people finding it mind-blowing. This is on my "to read again" shelf for when I need to be reminded that I don't need to drink the government's kool-aid about family structure.
Apr 25, Melody rated it liked it. While interesting, I feel that Weston's writing ability leaves something desired. Maybe it's the age of the book, the fact that what it is talking about does not fit quite perfectly to what is currently being discussed today. Aaron Taylor rated it it was amazing Apr 15, Beth Chapman rated it liked it Jul 20, Eric Cherry rated it liked it Aug 27, Ljubica Matek rated it it was amazing Apr 04, Adrienne rated it liked it Jan 11, Nisha rated it liked it May 09, Sheryl rated it really liked it Nov 01, Jessica rated it liked it Sep 19, Malique rated it it was amazing Feb 23,
Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship
Kath Weston. Winner of a Ruth Benedict Prize in Anthropology This classic text, originally published in and now revised and updated to include a new preface, draws upon fieldwork and interviews to explore the ways gay men and lesbians are constructing their own notions of kinship by drawing on the symbolism of love, friendship, and biology. Deck the Halls. Kinship and Procreation. From Biology to Choice. Disclosing Sexual Identity. The LookingGlass Other.
Families We Choose