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Feminist Perspectives on the Family

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 3 (590 words)
Categories: Family, Feminism, Importance Of Family Relationships
Downloads: 29
Views: 6

When understanding the roles of the family and relationships there are many different views. Feminist take the negative view of the family and argue that relationships and the family are gender-based. In this following essay, I will explore the different views of feminist’s sociologists such as Marxist, Liberal and Radical feminists who hold the same view that women are oppressed in a patriarchal society yet they have different opinions on which gender benefits from these inequalities.

Each school of feminism has its own understanding of family roles and relationships though; firstly we should assess the separation in terms of domestic labour and conjugal roles.

Conjugal roles refer to those roles that are performed by men and women in relation to housework, childcare and paid work. Traditionally the “bread-winning” instrumental role was assigned to men and the expressive role (childcare and primary socialisation) was a part of a woman’s job. Feminists say that the traditional partition in labour is neither natural nor beneficial to women as they are unpaid for their expressive role and are taken for granted.

Nevertheless, as mention above different feminists hold different views about who is benefited and who is oppressed by this type of labour.

Marxist feminists argue that it’s capitalism that benefits the majority as most wives keep their husbands happy and therefore both are left with a gratified workforce. On the other hand, Radical feminists would argue that men are the main source that gains from women’s oppression as we live in a society that is male-dominated. Young and Wilmott hold a functionalist view and argue that there has been a “march of progress” and because of this, the family has become more proportioned with more joint conjugal roles.

However, rejecting this view, Feminists put forward Oakley’s view, arguing that the family still remains patriarchal. Oakley describes how the housewife role has become prevailing for women in marriage since the industrialisation in the 19th Century. Though women started off by joining the workforce, they were gradually omitted and restrained to their home with the duty of housework and childcare duties. This shows how the role of the housewife is socially assembled rather than Parson’s claims as being “natural.”

The Feminist sociologists Pahl and Vogler propose that it is because of men’s higher incomes that women are more financially independent on their husbands and this is why men tend to take make the more important decisions in the house. Edgell also in favour of this view, states that women only have input to ideas such as home décor.

After reviewing some feminist theories I can argue that feminist perspectives based on the family have moved research away from the traditional functionalist view of a male-dominated society. Feminists have highlighted the negative aspects of the family which Functionalists have previously ignored; however, all the feminist views seem to claim that the nuclear family is still the norm and ignores the increasing variety of family life. Additionally, Feminism is a structural theory, meaning they assume family and their members are manipulated by society. Postmodernists, however, reject this view and argue that individuals do have free-will in creating family relationships. In final conclusions, I believe that the Feminist perception on family roles and relationships have helped move sociological ideas forward and take into account the negative aspects of the family as well as the positives, yet I also believe that they need to broaden their ideas to encompass the idea of individuals having the choice to create their own family situation with diversity in families on the rise.

Cite this essay

Feminist Perspectives on the Family. (2020, Sep 17). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/feminist-perspectives-on-the-family-essay

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