As well as the women as the housewife and present for the children caring for them with emotional help. Postmodernists will disagree seeing the nuclear family as more dominant as Giddens states due to a transformation in society, people now have a ‘greater choice’ it enables them to live their life as they chose creating various types of families along the way that best suits their lifestyle and choices. A greater choice like contraception has allowed people to stay intimate without the pressure of marriage or children. However Chester and Weeks will say family diversity is not that important because they aspire to live in committed households and raise their children jointly. Functionalists according to Parsons, the nuclear family is suited to meeting the needs of modern society for a geographically and socially mobile workforce.
Firstly, whether a family live in a symmetrical family or not will have an effect on the divisions of labour. March of Progress theorists (Liberal Feminists) such as Young and Willmott argue that family life is gradually improving for all its members, becoming more equal and democratic. For example, women now go out to work, just as men now help with housework and childcare. However Radical Feminists reject the ‘March of Progress’ theory, and argue that women remain unequal within the family. Anne Oakley argues that we still live in a patriarchal (male dominated) society, and therefore women occupy a subordinate and dependant role within the family and wider society.
In today’s society families consist of civil unions, single parents, and families that try to utilize and keep the same values that were present in the 1950’s. These families are faced with restrictions from society, living up to the expectations to provide the same love and support as the traditional families do. Everyday these families prove that they are capable of breaking the molds. In life we are affected by the decisions that politicians make everyday based on marriage. We are facing a big problem in society about marriages and their stances on civil unions.
Throughout the centuries there have been many changes in gender specific roles in society, the workplace, and the home front. There are many opposing views on the subject of whether it is socially acceptable for men to give up the role of primary breadwinners in the household and move into a more domesticated role. The statistics of today’s researchers are showing that whether the majority of society believes in this shift or not, a very noticeable change is rapidly occurring. However, history allows us to draw on traditional ways. In Peg Tyre and Daniel McGinn’s essay, “She Works, He Doesn’t.”, it is clear that the author is representing today’s 21st century society and the change from the male species dominating the primary role to the female taking over.
There have been many sociological studies which suggest a number of things about how equal men and women are in the home. One study carried out by Rosser and Harris was a study of family life in Swansea. The results state a range of things about women, both good and bad. For example, it assumes that women have frequent pregnancies so has a longer period of time away from work and that life is purely based on children. This is negative and a very sweeping statement about women because not all women want to have children; also it could suggest that women are less likely to be employed in comparison to men because they will spend a lot of time away from work.
There are many known and universally acceptable definitions of a family unit. However, the conventional UK definition of a family has in the past, and up to date, drawn a lot of criticism and challenges. Basically, the conventional definition of a UK family is “a married heterosexual couple and their children” (Kirby 2000). However, this definition of the most basic unit in the society has faced a lot of opposition, with social scientists challenging this definition from an interdisciplinary perspective. These social scientists also believe that family definitions are different based on race, generations and the situation at hand.
The new right (1979) would also support the fact that functions have been lost as they believe that institutions, like the welfare state, have far too much interference in the family’s daily life. They view the traditional nuclear family as the most ideal unit to have and that the welfare state has allowed functions, such as its economic function, to be lost or weakened as state benefits are provided instead. The main functions of the family that could be affected are Education, Sexual, Reproductive and Economic; this was said by Murdock (1949). Sociologist G.P. Murdock came up with the theory that the family has four main functions in society.
Well as I was growing up, I learned from my parents and other various forms of media that sex occurs between two people in deep love and in most cases marriage as well. But as I matured and grow, I became more aware of my surroundings, that society teaches us that this is not how sex occurs. Men and women are enlightened to a variety of social differences in regards to sex through society. One of the prevalent double standards seen between men and women is when non marital sexual relations are acceptable for men, but not for women. This can be seen throughout all ages starting in the early teen years all the way through adulthood.
They grew up in the last generation to be wholly indoctrinated into the roles of stereotypical gender. Stephanie Hanes of the Miami Times writes, “[…] this downturn, both because of its depth and the disproportionate number of men being laid off, is adjusting roles and relationships at home […]. It is recalibrating who earns the income, who picks up the kids at school and who makes the weekly trip to the dump (sic)” (18B). And because of the disparity between the norms of familial gender function as they have been taught and the reality of what is economically required of both parents in today’s society, they are confronted with increasing problems within the family. Men are no longer the sole earners for the family.
One could argue that the family is not only under critique from social thinkers but also the social changes around them which relates to diversity within families such as, rising numbers of single-parent families, teen pregnancies, higher divorce numbers and gay parents. Could this be because people feel they have a right of choice? However, some would argue that such changes will have a negative effect on society as a whole. To understand families and the household it is vital to explain each view of the family from different theorist in this contentious subject. There are many strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches which will be examined and two case studies have been conducted to anaylasye their famly structure.