The Contribution Made By Feminist Sociologists To The Study Of The Family

1526 words - 6 pages

The Contribution Made by Feminist Sociologists to the Study of the Family

Feminists' stress that gender is a major feature of family living,
they argue that it should be recognised that families contain both men
and women and that gender often has a profound impact on the ways in
which the individuals actually experience and understand living in
families. They highlighted 'patriarchy' and a need for change and
women's independence. However there are a variety of feminisms such as
liberal, radical, Marxist and difference which have all made their own

Liberal feminists' believe that women were once oppressed in the
family and society, but now as law changes and attitudes have changed
things have improved greatly and will continue to do so till equality
is achieved. There is much evidence to prove things have changed to
benefit women, for example Domestic violence is dealt with seriously
by the police, men are increasingly taking on the primary care role,
labour laws make it illegal to gender discriminate, rape within the
marriage is now a crime (1991) and women are also improving in
education as they are doing better than men.

Marxist feminists' believe that women are exploited due to the
economic system of capitalism which breeds inequality no only between
the bourgeoisie and proletariat but also between men and women so that
the bourgeoisie can make profit. Marxist feminist Margaret Benston
believes that domestic labour serves the need of the capitalist
society, she argues that the women's domestic work produced profit due
to women creating more efficient workers (male) as a result of
domestic housework which includes cooking, cleaning, sexual
satisfaction. Women are needed by capitalism to raise the next
generation of workers. Many Marxist feminists' believe the family is
an obstacle to gender inequality in employment. The say women are
disadvantaged in employment due to domestic and childcare
responsibilities which is stereotyped as a female's duty. The also
believe that the family is patriarchal as men and women's role in the
family are fundamentally unequal in terms of economic gain and
emotional satisfaction.

Radical feminist' (Delphy and Leonard) contend that all families are
based on a social structure where there are two roles 1) Head of the
family (usually being the man) 2) The dependants or helpers (women or
children). Radical feminists' believe that male power is based on the
biological physical strength. As referred to in item B Radical
feminists' argue that for example, violence against wives is not
simply a matter of individual, and possibly abnormal, psychology but
is shaped by patterns of inequality between me and women both within
the family and within the wider society. To support this is Purdy's
suggestion of a 'baby strike' and how she...

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