25 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: Psychological Theories Of Love And Piaget's Attachment Styles And The Tinman

Adrien Rich (1980) opens her argument with the following statement: “Biologically men have only one orientation- a sexual one that draws them to women, while women have two innate orientations, sexual towards men and reproductive towards their young ones”. This statement appears too much generalized, opinionated and vague. Many scholars have argued that issues of human sexuality can be explained and analyzed critically by looking at it from the sociologist point of view rather than from an ethical view point. There are heated debates in several states in America over the legalization of same sex marriages; the debate has even spread to countries like Australia. Gay rights activists are putting more and more pressure on their respective governments to allow them to legally get married and even have the equal privilege on issues such as adoption with their heterosexual counterparts. Especially with the constant decline in heterosexual marriages, the rise in divorce cases and the ability of gays to declare publicly their sexual orientation, it is easy to notice that this is a revolution, a change that is some what inevitable. The question is to what extent such issues display the eroding of morals in the society or is it that human perception on issues such as sexuality has always been one sided and we have been so much comfortable that we are not ready to welcome any variations. Rich provides us with a sociological analysis of this issue on the perspective of compulsory heterosexuality and the existence of lesbianism. Her major concern is that is lesbianism a moral or an ethical disease that should be looked at as some sort of leprosy or are there really variations, and if at all there are why reveal itself now and if we allow it, what kind of variation will present itself next.

Form Rich’s point of view it is apparent that much of the critic associated with lesbianism has been due to feminist theories who try to explain the role of a woman in the society and that a family should consist of a man and a woman. For a long time sociologists agreed with this notion but recently perception is changing with scholars like Rich providing a very interesting survey that may make a person think twice about the issue. By applying Rich’s principle and analytically looking at the contemporary society in general, it is possible to make inferences that can at least shed some light on the issue of same sex marriages, because they definitely originate from prior gay relationship which builds up to a level that marriage becomes a factor. But first it is important to look at how other sociologists argue their cases and from what perspectives they approach their arguments.

The people advocating for same sex marriages form a minority in the society, especially in terms of numbers. Surprisingly it is not the only area where the society discriminates against a minority. From this view point we can look at other areas where minorities have been discriminated upon and look sociological issues presented. Racial discrimination is one such area. Bonilla Silva (2001) builds his theory from the perspective of racialized social systems. He argues that racial discrimination has it roots in the structure of social systems rather than biological or genetic difference. Historically is socially structure in a particular fashion that will allow for peaceful co-existence at a particular time. It is most important that it is our inability to be sensitive to societal changes because as the society becomes more liberal, so do people tend to reveal their true identity in terms of ambition or opinion in a particular matter.

For instance racism started so long ago at a period when blacks were considered as objects of trade and as tools to carry out particular jobs. The societal hierarchy dictated that the blacks should be at the bottom and for one reason or another society worked comfortably with this kind of structure, it had nothing to do with the physical differences or superiority it was just a social structure. As the world became more liberal and civilized it was apparent that the structure had to change to fit with the new world and so the blacks fought and gained freedom and even to day America have voted the first black president. Looking at gender inequality we can build the same theory and we will arrive at the same conclusion. Historically there were no societal structures that could govern what kind of a relationship should exist in a family. The man was perceived as the strongest because he looked more muscular, this perception emanated to a role and soon enough man had established himself as the head of the home in all perspectives and was determined to do everything within his control to maintain this position. The woman on the other hand was caring and loving and this placed her in a very good position of taking care of the young ones and her husband. Because of her culinary skills the woman was also conveniently placed as the cook in the house.

This kind of structure was convenient to the ancient society because it avoided constant conflicts within the most basic social institution; the family. However industrialization brought with it many changes like entry of more and women in the career sector because of the demands placed upon the family by the increasing cost of living. It therefore became apparent that this kind of social structure would no longer applicable because the woman was gaining more and more economic independence and confining her to the kitchen and domestic chores was becoming more  and more inconveniencing to her ambitions. This theory can be proven to working because women are increasingly establishing themselves as better leaders in various institutions.

Extending this kind of notion and thinking in same sex marriages is like taking a trip down a lane of uncertainty and making inferences in this area is also dangerous because we are not sure if the same situations will replicate themselves. Like for instance, will gay parents make better parents than the heterosexual parents where child abuse is on the rise? One might argue that the issue of child bearing will become tricky in a situation like this, but the same person would have argued a century ago that what would America become if they allowed a black person to become president or who would take care of the family if the woman is allowed to work. Technology has brought with it the issue of surrogate mothers, sperm donors and adoption which rules out the inability of gay parents to form families.


In my opinion the mind has all the answers to whatever controversial issues that have ever presented themselves in any society. The mind is like a spider’s web one particular route can lead to one thousand of many other destinations. As a result psychological theories are always the best way to analyze a particular situation. For instance the situation outlined in this paper is the issue of same sex marriages and it has been analyzed by theories from other scholars who have sufficiently argued their theories from the respective perspectives.  In the end they have given the audience a chance to make sound decision regarding the issue. That is the essence of psychological theories; they do not impose ideas or opinions on people but rather provides a guideline that stimulates the mind to view a particular issue from a critical point of view without any bias or prejudice.

The above theories have helped me in viewing same sex marriages from a sociological context especially matters that relate to whether heterosexuality compulsory and there can never be a variation and whether gay families can make better parents.


Bonilla-Silva, E. White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001

Friedan, M. Quindlen, A. The Feminine Mystique. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. W.W. Norton & Co.  2001

Feagin, J. Racial and Ethnic Relations, 6th edition, Prentice Hall, 1998.

Harris, M. Johnson, A. Cultural materialism: the struggle for a science of culture. Rowman Altamira, 2001.

Rich, A. Women Sex and Sexuality. Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence. Vol 5, No. 4. Retrieved on 23rd April 2009 from www.jstor.org.

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