Sociological imagination, a term coined by C. Wright Mills, is the capability to perceive the links between our personal experiences and the larger forces of history. Mills writes that the idea behind this imagination is that a person can “understand his own experience and gauge his own fate only by locating himself within his period, that he can know his own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in his circumstances.”
The sociological imagination allows us to see the face of social life for what it is, “to step outside the trap of rapid historical change in order to comprehend what is occurring in our world and the social foundations that may be shifting right under our feet” (Conley, 2013).
In the video, the connection between “public issues” and “private troubles” is made apparent in regard to what is “normal” or “natural” when it comes to forming a family. It is obvious that public issues adversely affect people who do not fit the 1950s ideal of the family.
For example, the video points out that homosexual families face private troubles on top of public issues on the matter. One public concern that arises in the video is the “outcome” of children raised by same sex couples. Some people believe that children will have a much likelier chance of becoming homosexual themselves.
Furthermore, other public issues include a higher tendency of children to participate in risky sexual behavior and to violate gender norms if raised by homosexual parents. Despite the fact that these public opinions have very little scientific evidence to back its claims, these concerns are strongly supported by the general public as they are ingrained in our social standard.
On top of these overbearing public issues, gay and lesbian couples are faced with private troubles of trying to start a family. One of these private troubles is that homosexual couples are intrinsically infertile. Thus, these couples have to go to great lengths if they want start up a family of their own. For instance, lesbian couples have to receive artificial insemination which can be costly and not always effective. Also, adoption is one of the only alternatives to starting a family for homosexual couples and this can be an especially difficult legal process because of public issues on what is deemed a legitimate, legal family depending on where in the world you live. Obtaining a surrogate mother is another option for gay couples trying to have a baby, but even this is very expensive and burdensome.
In order to see the significance of the sociological view of a homosexual couple forming a family, we must understand the biological perspective of the matter. The biological viewpoint states that basic nature indicates that male and female reproductive organs are designed for each other and thus men and women should only mate with each other. However, modern advances in science and medicine have made it possible for gay and lesbian couples to procreate. Although homosexuals will never be able to reproduce in the natural sense, science proves it can be done. Other perspectives such as those held by right wing, religious groups state that if God had intended for two women or two men to create a baby, he would have made it possible. This religious perspective, however, contradicts everything we do in medicine, because everything we do interferes with what would naturally happen. Therefore, we have to be consistent because it is just as possible to artificially impregnate a woman as it is to transplant an organ.
Conley, Dalton. You May Ask Yourself: An Introduction to Thinking like a Sociologist . New York: W.W. Norton &, 2011. Print.