Feminists in Sociology and Family

Paper Rating: Word Count: 1184 Approx Pages: 5

ASSESS THE CONTRIBUTION OF FEMINISTS TO THE SOCIOLOGY OF THE FAMILY 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 fundamentally believe in the same idea, which is the dominant functionalist assumptions are inaccurate and should therefore be challenged. Functionalists believe that in the family, the role of the woman is functional when she plays a necessary ╦ťexpressive' role, providing care and affection for members in a more subordinate role than that of the breadwinner husband. HOUSEWORK/POWER RELATIONS One of the functionalists, Wilmott and Young, (1973), claimed that 72% of the married men in their sample help their wife in some other way than washing, even though they do fail to specify what this help is. They believe that the family is symmetrical and both husband and wife have joint conjugal roles, which makes the family a functional institution. However, the radical feminist, Anne Oakley, points out that the fact that they say ╦ťhelps their wife' implies that the primary responsibility is still the wife's. Oakley also points out that the creation of the housewife role is a social construction and is not inevitably linked to the female role. This housewife role ensures that women stay subordinate to men, making it difficult for them to pursue careers and this role which is exclusively allocated to women, has no status, is unpaid and alienating, and yet it takes precedence over all other roles. Her conclusion is that the only way women will gain freedom and be able to develop fully as individuals in society is for the abolition of the role of housewife, the sexual division of labour, and the family itself as it is presently understood a... Continue Reading