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Assess the contribution of feminist sociologists to an understanding of family roles and relationships

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´╗┐Item 2B Feminists take a critical view of the family. They argue that family life maintains and promotes gender inequality. For example, this is reflected in the domestic division of labour. Housework and childcare in the family, which are carried out mainly by women, are unpaid and hardly recognised as work at all. However, some sociologists suggest that feminist theories ignore the extent of family diversity. In fact, family roles and relationships are varied and therefore women?s experiences of family life are more diverse than some feminists suggest. Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere, assess the contribution of feminist sociologists to an understanding of family roles and relationships. ...read more.


Greer also claims wives are more likely to suffer physical and emotional abuse than husbands, and daughters are more frequently victims of abuse from other male members of the family. Radical feminism has been criticized for exaggerating the extend of abuse that goes on within the family, and fail to acknowledge the increasing equality between men and women. Marxist feminists also help to formulate an understanding of family roles and relationships. They believe that the family benefits the capitalist system and in doing so exploits women. Margaret Benston (1972) claims wives are a ?reserve army of labour? and give birth and nurture the next generation of labourers. ...read more.


Women now have much more choice about whether to marry, whether to take paid work or whether to remain married. This has created greater equality in marriage and sharing of conjugal roles within the family, such as males being the child carers and women becoming the main worker. Jennifer Somerville (2000) still agrees there are still inequalities within marriage that need to be dealt with. A criticism of Liberal feminism can be over exaggeration if inequality or exploitation within the family. The different feminists ideas are all constructed on a conflict basis. Functionalists would criticize their contribution to the understanding of the family for not including positives of society and giving credit to these positive factors of the family. ...read more.

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