CYOU Divorce

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Historical Overview: Over the last century, the divorce rate in the United States increased by a factor of ten. This increase in divorce is the result of a complex set of social factors, and not a cause in and of itself.

Film & TV: Movies of the 20th century provided a window through which the audience could observe human behavior. However, this was not true of the subject of divorce. Hollywood's rigid system of self-censorship, established in the Hays Code and the Production Code Administration blotted divorce themes right off the screen. Only after the abandonment of the Code in 1968 did these forbidden themes enter into popular films.

Feminism: Job opportunities have allowed women many more options and choices‹many more women have the ability to abandon unhappy marriages because they are able to provide for themselves and their children.

Religeon: Many factors have contributed to the rising divorce rates, but it is important to recognize the role that religion has played.

Psychology: After the Second World War, as the psychology movement emerged, family problems of all types, including divorce, were addressed in a more logical way.

Geography: While divorce is prevalent in the United States as a whole, some regions of the country experience higher divorce rates than others.

Music: "under my thumb / a Siamese cat of a girl / under my thumb / she's the sweetest, mmm, pet in the world / it's down to me / the way she talks when she's spoken to / down to me, the change has come / she's under my thumb" (The Rolling Stones)

Law: Divorce law is an appropriate enterprise to study in order to evaluate America's reaction to this phenomenon. Laws are usually conceived to shape the way people live their lives ­ they attempt to be proactive in regulating issues before they arise. This is not the case for divorce laws; instead of laws shaping the actions of the population, the people shaped the laws.

Document of the Week: Dan Quayle was Right: An article by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead