Family Is Still Patriarchal

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The family is still patriarchal. Discuss. ‘The family’ is a term which can be open to great interpretation to what it actually means. The term is quite relative as one persons definition can differ to another’s. The universally accepted definition is the one I shall use for the purposes of this essay, a group of people who encourage and embrace love and trust for one another. When assessing how patriarchal a ‘the family’ is, the definition of patriarchy must be assessed. It is the belief that society is male dominated and hegemonic, thus putting women at a disadvantage in every aspect of life. Also, it is worth taking into consideration whether all families are equally patriarchal or if some are more so than others, lesbian families seem to be an exception to patriarchy within the family. The common radical feminist view on family is that it is institutionally patriarchal, and that gain much more from marriage than women. Greer (2000) argues that wives get less out of marriage than husbands; for example, single women tend to be happier than married women though the opposite is true for men. This is partly because women remain subservient to their husbands and do not revolt against their oppressive spouses. However, from a functionalist perspective, the family is a key aspect of society which helps maintain it and ensure that vital norms and values are passed on in order for society to progress. Parsons (1955) maintains that the family still has a vital role in preparing its members to meet the requirements of the social system. Thus, the family is arguably not patriarchal but just well adjusted to the needs of society. The Marxist feminist perspective view on the family is that it’s still is patriarchal and that this is not helped by the capitalist system. The man is oppressed by his job as his bargaining power is weakened by his obligation to his family, thus
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