Traditionalism and Modernism

Category: Culture
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“One aspect of life is to grow and develop from your culture by which you will gain the perception and form ideas about life. There will be a time in a person’s life where they might be inclined to deviate from the cultures they were introduced to. Traditionalism and Modernism are ideologies and a compass for how people live their life. According to the text, (Plunkett, 2019),“traditionalism is defined as a political and religious philosophy that asserts liberties secured by the rule of law “ and modernism is based on the assumption three assumptions ( 1) God does not exist; (2) In view of the horrors World War 1 and its aftermath reality is a human construction that is not necessarily rational or orderly; (3) Social progress does not occur organically , it is created”.

The way traditionalism was perceived in the 1920s is the same today in my ways. Traditionalist still use their religious beliefs to guide their life culturally, morally, and politically. Traditionalism and modernism is determined by culture, morals, and beliefs. In today’s society modernism and traditionalism are interconnected in some ways. For example, women are becoming more vocal and representative of their own opinionated and revolutionized. If you look back in history the role of the women was to stay home and care for the family the change emerged in the after the war. More women started to leave the home to work and attend school. Nowadays, the modernist side of society are women because they are joining together to become a strong voice for the world and their communities. If we look at our last election and that is proof that women are evolving in the world today. Being true to your religious beliefs and seeking change for society is a positive step. Additionally, today we see the climate in government has changed because more women from different cultures and backgrounds are uniting to bring hope and change. The evolution of women is strong and progressive. The viewpoint of women is to include all groups no matter which race, ethnic background, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion etc. The modernist approach by women is to fix social injustices for all people. Women are using their voice to change the way the world is viewed and to strengthen women in various ways. Moreover, today traditionalism and modernism views are more visible for many reasons.

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The women movement known as the Me-too Movement is an opportunity for women to embrace their moral values, beliefs, and strength. This movement highlights how women years ago were led my men. Today women are becoming more educated, managing and operating large companies. Women have become bread winners for their families. More women are working outside the home and raising their families as single parents. As a result, of women using their skills, confidence, and abilities they are shaping the lives of others and making contributions to society in a positive way. As women grow closer into modernism views it appears to have positive impact on society particularly for young girls. It allows young girls to understand and see that they can empower themselves through education, career opportunities, a candidate for president, doctor, lawyers, engineers etc. The traditional view by many is that women should not be president because being president is for a man. However, the impact of modernism today shows that women have the right and ability to do whatever they choose. The influence of women is shaping society to embrace and respect them win many ways. The positive thing about traditionalism is that you develop your values, morals, and ways in which we do things and were taught to do certain things. The negative side of traditionalism is that sometimes it causes people to become fixed in their thoughts and they do not embrace change. In today’s world there is a conflict between traditionalism and modernism. One of the biggest conflicts is the acceptance of LGBT by traditionalist use religion to debate the issue of whether it is right or wrong for same sex marriage to take place.

The modernist is taking the approach that the world has changed and that people have a right to love whomever they choose. Modernism is about change and the traditionalist is more disinclined to accept change. Years ago, the law did not protect interracial marriage but today there are more interracial marriages because people are open to value and respect others. On the other hand, there are many people who still believe that blacks and whites should not be married because of their traditionalist viewpoint. Although, society has drastically changed since the 1920s from a both a traditionalist and modernist. Society is divided now as it was in the 1920s mostly because of views, beliefs and moral values. The modernist movement is growing today because it allows people to declare their independence and freedom. The way in which traditionalism and modernism deviate from each other is that traditionalists do not like the current views of modernist. As it has been pointed out the modernist believe in the various changes that taking place in the world today for example, religion, gender equality, job equality, and political views.

Taking a glimpse back in the 1920s people was not as quick to deviate from the norms of the world as they are today. The world today has allowed people to voice their opinions, and communicate in various ways for example protest marches etc. Whereas, today the voice of the people is much more powerful and visible in our communities, politics, churches, schools, universities etc., because of technology and freedom. Traditionalist believed in their cultural values and did not embrace change. Traditionalism is indicative of one-way thinkers for example, in the world today we have an openly gay man running for highest office of the land. There are many that do not believe in same sex marriage. The traditionalist will invoke religion to oppose same sex marriage. On the other hand, the modernist will look at the person’s character and integrity and the positive change he or she would to bring to all people. The downside to traditionalism is that it hinders a people are groups from exercising their freedom in some ways. Even in the 1920s the traditionalists had their own perspective on the woman place in society.

In addition, they strongly opposed to social programs that were created to help the people. they strongly believed that all people would get their help from God they refuse to share the view of the modernist. Today the traditionalists still hold those views and beliefs. They also believe that same sex marriage is a sin. It was in the news a few years ago where a county clerk refused to give marriage license to a same sex couple. There are some people who hold true to their religious views even when it impacts others. The modernists are open to new ideas and progress. The modernist believes in free thinking and ideas. If you look at modernism today for example, we had our African American president elected to office 2008. We had the first Black American woman to run for governor in the state of Georgia and almost won. So, we are seeing changes in progression for women and African Americans. There is a major difference between the ideologies of traditionalism and modernism today versus the 1920s. The views of traditionalism are kin to conservatism and the views of modernism are kin to liberalism. The views of traditionalist and modernist deeply divided society in the 1920s just as it is doing today. The political and religious views of the current president have caused so much division among the people particularly black and brown people as well as Muslims. The reason the political and religious view of the current president was mention because the polices implemented are used to shape people lives based on the past that are not progressive. The new movements that are being birth today are designed to empower not discriminate against any person or group based on their race or gender. The civil rights movement was created to fight for the rights of all people. Therefore, that is the sole purpose of modernism to be the gate keeper for all people. Modernism is about inclusiveness while traditionalism advocates limitation.

Modernism is essential because it embraces change, growth and opportunities. For example, the young students in Florida that were victims of the mass shooting they were empowered to use their voice to speak to hate and advocate change. They were met by opposition but they did not succumb to political pundits who claimed that they were too young to speak out. The students showed how not to allow political views stifle to change and progress. The clash today is that there is a traditionalist ideology trying to adapt to modernist society and there is modernist ideology trying to adapt to a traditionalist ideology. Although there is a difference in ideas and culture beliefs each one can respect the other. So looking at back at all the movements today, they are established with the idea of creating unity, pride, respect, strength, knowledge, power, and change.

Moreover, the new traditionalism humans are still capable of understanding the world. Traditionalism promotes the value of tradition and well served by all when there is a contribution made to make progress in society. The new traditionalism affirms significance of inclusion and exclusion (Link & Frye, 2003). Although social change is a part of every society, the characteristics of modernism is associated with an open mind, freedom of choice, free thinking, innovation and justice (Tomar, 2007). This process allows the world to evolve and offer opportunities for all.


Whether you are on the side of traditionalism or modernism it is wise to understand the ideology of both. It is okay to critique both of them in order to gather an analysis to understand the purpose of both of them. Both are derived from cultural beliefs, morals and values. They are also driven my political and religious views. Social debate is good for growth and understanding the views of other. At one point traditionalism was the gold star standards and most people followed them. Today the traditionalist values exclude some people based on sexual orientation, race, religious affiliation etc. it has been said in the past and today that our country is great because of traditionalism. Modernism allows one to adapt to the change that occur in society through empowerment and courage. Traditionalist and modernist ideologies are developed from cultural beliefs and ideologies.

Works Cited

  1. Link, E. C., & Frye, S. (2003). Foundations of the New Traditionalism. The Midwest Quarterly .
  2. Plunkett, G. L. (2019). American Cultural Heritage: Navigating the Future with the Truths of the Past.
  3. Tomar, S. (2007). Modernism as a Functions of TV Viewing, Gender, and Cultural Setting. Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research.”
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Traditionalism and Modernism. (2021, Jul 03). Retrieved from