By gaining knowledge and insight into the cultures of others, it leads one to start analyzing one’s own way of life. As a member of North America’s modernized upper-middle class one is brought up in a culture where personal success is greatly admired, one is subjected to mass media constantly and it is taught that the future is in advancing technologies not sustaining nature.
Starting with the family, where the earliest socialization begins. Within western culture the idea of the nuclear family, a heterosexual couple having children after marriage, still holds much value. Although it is also common to see single parents, partners having children before marriage and for homosexual couples to start families. To only mention a few of the situations regarding family life, it is important to note that the nuclear family still holds weight and arguably gives those who chose or are brought up within the nuclear family a social advantage. The social advantage of being a member of the dominant class and of abiding by tradition. The immediate family settles in the ‘square homes’ that Black Elk hated so much and live sedentary lives. Gender roles within the family are no longer absolute, however it is still expected that the mother is the dominant care giver. Children live at home typically until they are out of the education system and have secured an income of their own.
On examining gender more closely, it is noted there are strict expectations regarding masculinity and femininity despite movements pushing for gender equality. Ideal masculinity is being strong, independent and achieving economic success while femininity is measured in physical attractiveness. The notions of femininity and masculinity are created and maintained through mass media.