Assess The View That Marriage And Family Life Bene

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Some sociologists say that men benefit highly from family life seeing as women typically take responsibility for the majority of the childcare and domestic labour. On the other hand certain views support the idea of a symmetrical family and insist that family duties are divided equally. Throughout this essay I am going to explore different views and come to a judgement on whether men benefit more from the family unit than women do. New right sociologists believe that the family works better if men and women take on specific roles, the man having an instrumental role, to earn money and act as the breadwinner for his family, whereas the woman has an expressive role which focuses on meeting the family’s emotional needs, acting as the homemaker, a full-time housewife. Parsons developed these ideas in 1955 and he believes it is beneficial to have this split of roles as each job is done better by the gender most suited to it, for example, women are said to be more suitable to deal with the families emotional needs. On the other hand some views dismiss Parsons’ ideas. Young and Wilmott (1957) say men are now taking on more domestic tasks; this is a march of progress view. This would suggest that marriage and family life have improved for women as they are receiving more assistance from their spouses. They believe the number of symmetrical families is rising, with women going out to work and men helping with housework and childcare with the couple having joint conjugal roles. Also, Gershuny found that the more work women do, the less time they spend on housework, which suggests that tasks are being spread equally. Feminist sociologists believe there has been no improvement. They believe the division of labour is unnatural and is only to benefit men, with women carrying a ‘dual-burden’ of having to work full or part-time as well as take on the duties that are commonly
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