Feminists on the Family

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Using material from item 2b and elsewhere assess the contribution of feminist sociologists to an understanding of family roles and relationships. Throughout this essay I am going to be talking about how feminist sociologists have contributed to the feminist view of the family. The typical feminist view is that family life promotes gender inequality, I will be assessing how this view differs between feminist groups. Marxist feminists hold an opinion that it is unfair that women have to do the majority of the house work with no payment. Margaret Benston said that the amount of unpaid work done by women is very large and is very profitable for the people that own the means of production, men have to pay for the women and his own work. This means that the husband has to pay for any equipment that the wife may need to look after children or do the cleaning or cooking. These responsibilities will commit the male to waged labour as if he stops working he will not be able to support his family. Benston concludes that the family system traps the husband in market labour. The wife’s role of ensuring the husband is performing well at work does not cost the employer anything, this shows how the family promotes free labour. Fran Ansley argues that the wife’s supportive role only absorbs the husband’s anger at the capitalist system rather than it being aimed at the system that caused his anger. She describes this as “takers of shit”, she believed that women were like sponges and did not have any real role in the family other than to listen to their husbands and do what they say. Diane Feeley believes that families teach children to submit to parental authority and they will therefore lead a life seeing themselves in a hierarchy in a capitalist society. Some criticisms of these views are that many of the opinions exaggerate the harm done to women and do not consider other
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