A common gender stereotype is naturally, that office work should be left to the males, and females should focus on household chores such as looking after the children and housework. Those who express any desire to enter the workforce are generally discouraged if not frowned upon. The community, or in this case, the country’s workforce is greatly affected by such a stereotype due to the following reasons: Firstly, having an employee or colleague of a different gender might not be such a bad thing as a woman would be able to offer alternative viewpoints to male workers. Particularly for companies that cater to the general public’s needs. An entire workforce of men would definitely consider the male’s needs over the females, resulting in unbalance and discontentment from the female public.
Such views demonstrate a fixed ideology that the roles between couples are that the women should have the sense of responsibility in doing domestic work and childcare. This is supported by Oakley as he does not agree with the march of progress towards symmetry as Young and Willmott do, but instead states that it is evident in the 20th century that an increasing number of women are working however, their housewife role is still women’s primary role. Decision-making and paid work make a difference within power relationships and labour of division and there may be inequality not just within who does what at home but, also with who gets what and how the resources are shared between men and women. A reason why men take greater shares of family’s resources is because they have
It portrays Jane’s resentment of the fact that her opinion is of no or little importance in true society. Although Jane feels hard done by she still holds to the social view that she must conform to her husbands will and wholly disregard her own views, no matter how much she wishes to be forthright the doubt is there, “But what is one to do?” Jane’s inability to conform to the normal ways of behave for someone of her gender and social standing result in her having to involuntary, for it is the will of her husband, rest cure where she is allowed to do nothing, which leads to a socially unsolicited outcome. “”I’ve got out at last,” said I “in spite of you and Jane.”” Here it advocates that Jane has formed a separate individuality that has been inhibited, by social stereotypes, from coming to light but is now given the chance to be free. This freedom is also presented with the use of imagery of animalistic characteristics, “I kept on creeping just the same”, where Jane has become imprisoned. Jane is trying to conform to society’s ideals and values but wants to be freer.
Women are naturally more suited to take on the expressive role which involves socialisation of the children and meet the family's emotional needs. She is the homemaker rather than a wage earner. Where as men are naturally more suited to take on the instrumental role which is geared towards achieving success at work so that he can provide for the family financially. He is the breadwinner. Parsons claim that this division of labour is beneficial to both men and women.
According to Parsons, husbands are the breadwinners and the wife has the nurtring and caring role and that this is based on biological differences between the sexes, a view shared by the New Right. However, this can be criticised using Willmott and Young’s findings, which show that men are now doing the housework and women are going out to work. This shows that family roles are socially constructed and hence not fixed as our society is always changing. Feminists such as Anne Oakley have criticised Willmott and Young’s finding’s stating that they are methodically flawed. She found that only a small minority of men did a significant amount of housework and childcare.
A weakness in this argument is that it can be seen that functionalists adopt too much of an idyllic view of the family, an example being it ignores dysfunctional families such as abusive relationships. Murdoch (1949) identified four main functions of the family: the sexual, reproductive, economic and educational. These four functions cover the role of family in society. The sexual and reproductive functions are essential for the survival of humankind. The economic function is the parent’s responsibility to take care of the family financially, usually for functionalists through the sexual division of labour where the man will take the role as the breadwinner and the woman will adopt the expressive role and take care of the home and children due to her nurturing instinct.
The woman in the family, Parsons argues, is much more naturally suited to nurturing the family and providing emotional care. As a result household tasks are not equally shared. As the man has been out at work all day, Parsons argues that women’s role is to care for the house and do the majority of domestic chores. Feminists (in particular radical feminists) would argue that this is something done by men to benefit men. However, some sociologists oppose this argument.
Feminists believe that the family is patriarchal, dominated by men, and that it exploits and oppresses women. The family supports and reproduces inequalities between men and women. Women are oppressed because their socialised to be dependent on men and remain in second place. They reject the new rights view of the separate roles, and also reject the ‘march of progress’ view in that society has not changed and it is still unequal. Feminists believe that marriage remains patriarchal and that men benefit from wives.
He took it that the family reduced in size in industrialised societies because functions moved elsewhere, due to the need for geographic mobility and because status came through merit not through family identification. | When it became smaller, the family had to organise itself in a specialised manner to work. Parsons assumed the man would work following an instrumental logic of income generation. This meant he relied on the expressive abilities of the wife who also organised the home and children. In this particularly patriarchal view, Parsons' analysis was called the warm bath theory as a kind of ironic commentary on the man's ability to have his stresses washed away thanks to his wife in an over-positive view of a loving household.
They have found that there is increasing family diversity and that women are not equally exploited in all types of family e.g. matrifocal or lesbian families. Nicholson (1997) believes women are often better off outside the traditional idea of family and Calhoun (1997) explains women cannot be exploited by men in lesbian families. This perspective is not easy to criticize because it recognizes differences in family life however it can be criticized for losing sight of continuing inequalities between men and women within the family. Radical feminists believe that the family plays a major role in maintaining the oppression of women in a male-dominated society.