Studying complex families in context
“How Does the Gender of Parents Matter?” is an intriguing follow-up to Stacey and Biblarz's (2001) meta-analysis of the research on lesbian and gay parenting, in which they asked the question “(How) does the sexual orientation of parents matter?” The authors concisely and thoughtfully summarize much of the research on lesbian and gay parenting and single parenting and raise some interesting questions about how, specifically, the gender of parents matters.
Their review stimulated me to consider several key, interrelated issues. First, it prompted me to reflect upon the ways that we have chosen to think about and study gender. Specifically, I would like us to consider a lens that seeks to probe the intersections of gender with other relevant social categories and contexts, as opposed to a framework that aims to identify how gender operates “independent” of these. Second, this review compelled me to consider some of the ways in which our definitions of family have caused us to overlook important elements of diversity within lesbian-parent and gay-parent families. Third, I was prompted to consider how the data that we rely upon as sources of knowledge—that is, quantitative and qualitative—necessarily shapes the conclusions we draw regarding the nature, meaning, and implications of gender and family. In my commentary, I discuss these three issues as they relate to the authors' review.
Journal of Marriage and Family
Goldberg, Abbie E., "Studying complex families in context" (2010). Psychology. 414.