Using the Material from Item 2b and Elsewhere Essay

708 WordsFeb 21, 20143 Pages
Using the material from item 2B and elsewhere assess the contribution of feminist sociologists to an understanding of the family roles and relationships. Feminists have played a major part in the ideology of the family, as they provide an alternative view to the traditional sociology of the family. There are many different types of feminists the main ones are Radical feminists, Marxist feminist and liberal feminists. Although they are categorised separately, they believe in the same idea, which is the most common functionalist assumptions are incorrect and should therefore be challenged. Functionalists believe that in the family, the role of the woman is functional when she plays a necessary 'expressive' role, providing care for members in a more relaxed way than the breadwinner (husband) would. Wilmott and Young 1973 said that 72% of the married men help their wife in some way for example washing. They believe that the family is symmetrical and both husband and wife have equal roles, which makes the family work well. However the radical feminist, Anne Oakley points out that the fact that they say 'helps their wife' suggest that the primary responsibility is still the wife's. Oakley also points out that the housewife role is a social construction and is not a natural link to the women. This housewife role ensures that women stay under men’s ability’s making it difficult for them to pursue careers and this role which is associated with women has no status and is unpaid and alienating yet it takes priority over all other roles. Her conclusion is that the only way women will gain freedom and be able to develop fully as women in society is for the role of housewife the sexual division of labour, and the family itself as it is understood and structured. A liberal feminist Jessie Bernard sees the role of housewife as the key factor in limiting the potential of women.
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