• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the contribution of feminist perspectives to an understanding of the family.

Extracts from this document...


Examine the contribution of FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES to an understanding of the family. (24 marks) Like Marxists do, feminists take a critical view of the family. They argue that is oppresses women, they have focused issures such as the unequal division of domestic labour and domestic violence against women. 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, feminism is a broad term covering several different types, such as liberal, radical, Marxist and difference which have all made their own contribution. Each of these approaches the family in a different way and offers different solutions to the problem of gender inequality. In this essay, the four main types of feminism will be examined and their contributions to the family will be given. Liberal feminists are concerned with campaigning against sex discrimination and for equal rights and opportunities for women such as equal pay to men and an end to discrimination in the workplace and employment. ...read more.


However, radical feminists fail to recognise that women's position has improved considerably - with better access to divorce, better job opportunities, control over their own fertility, and the ability to choose whether to marry or cohabit. Somerville also argues that separtism is unlikely to work, heterosexual attraction makes it unlikely that the conventional nuclear family will disappear. However, Somerville does recognis that women have yet to achieve full equality. She argues that there is a need for family friendly policies, such as more flexible working, to promote greater equality between the partners. Marxist feminists argue that the main cause of women's oppression in the family is not men, but capitalism. Women's oppression performs several functions for capitalism; women reproduce the labour force through their unpaid domestic labour, by socialising the next generation of workers and maintaining the current one, women absorb anger that would otherwise be directed at capitalism, and women are a 'reserve army'of cheap labour that can be taken on when extra workers are needed, when no longer needed, employers can 'let them go' to return to their primary role as unpaid domestic labour. Margaret Benston, a Marxist feminist, states that the amount of unpaid labour performed by women is very profitable to those who own the means of production. ...read more.


Because it is isolated there is less chance of ambition or wanting to get out because they acknowledge that they are still going to have the dual burden even if they did work. A positive point of being home is that psychological happiness of a tidy home, home cooked meals, and the husband goes out to work fresh everyday. However, the fact that your house may be the cleanest on the street or the lawn is mowed everyday serves no purpose because domestic labour gains no recognition from others. In answer to the question, it can be seen that the feminist theory has provided a lot of insight to our understanding of the family, but because it holds such a narrow view of the family, it cannot be considered highly when talking about the family because their are many modern families that are not the traditional nuclear family, as suggested in difference feminism. Feminism have analysed the functions of the family in relation to the wider society. The feminist approach does not look at the family through rose-tinted glasses as it addresses problems such as domestic violence. It has helped to successfully deal with the apparant diversity of contemporary family structures. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Family & Marriage section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Family & Marriage essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Examine the contribution of functionalist explanations towards an understanding of the family

    4 star(s)

    Another functionalist perspective of the family is that of Talcott Parsons (1955). Parsons saw the family as having 2 functions - Socialisation and Stabilisation of Adult personalities. By Socialisation Parsons meant socialising children into society's norms and values, so they can become member of that society that they were born into.

  2. Assess the view that gender roles and relationships have become more equal in modern ...

    However, Elliot rejects the radical feminist claim that all men benefit from violence against women. Not all men are aggressive and most are opposed to domestic violence. However, Wilkinson suggests that social inequality, rather than patriarchy has caused this problem.

  1. Is the modern family breaking down or is it simply changing?

    Remarriages had also increased, as by 1990 over 30% of the marriages were remarriages for at least one partner. In support of that, the average age at marriage has also increased significantly in four years: from 25.6 in 1961 for men to 30.8 in 2001.

  2. Feminists have played a major part in the ideology of the family, as they ...

    * - Radical Feminism - they also believe that men and women are still unequal in society. Women are seen as being exploited by men and patriarchal society. Some radical feminists believe the solution is separatism - this means that men and women should live apart.

  1. Free essay

    There is a gradual sharing of gender roles within the family.

    Males were helping more with the children, gender identities were starting to evolve. There is evidence that there is a gradual move towards integrated roles and equality Devine (1992) carried out a small study of car workers it showed that men's contribution to domestic labour increased when their wives re-entered paid employment.

  2. Analyse how the family structure has changed over the last 100 years

    as single parents may not want to remain in that family structure as peolpe within The New Right suggest that single parent families can not socialise children adequately leading to delinquency, drug abuse, educational failure and therefore overall becoming a reconstituted family may get rid of any social stigma of a lone parent family structure.

  1. Assess the contribution of Marxist theories to an understanding of the family

    The unpaid domestic labour housewives give support to workers at no cost to capitalist employers.

  2. Sociology Research Paper - To examine how teenage pregnancy affects the teen mothers health ...

    While conducting the research most of the teenager mothers would like to go back to school and get a better education so that they could help their baby but they also stated that their pregnancy shattered their dreams of becoming a good member of society.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work