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'Assess the contribution made by feminists' sociologists to the study of the family'

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Introduction

'Assess the contribution made by feminists' 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 contribution. 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. ...read more.

Middle

Difference feminists' main emphasis relates postmodernists' ideas to family diversity. Difference feminists Barrett and McIntosh suggests there is no typical family because of the variations that exist in families and the variety of household types and if there's no typical family it's impossible to claim that the family always performs a particular function either for men or capitalism. They believe that the family is anti-social because the family social is the way in which the ideology of the family destroys life outside the family not just because it exploits women and benefits capitalism. Lesbian feminists suggest that lesbians should not form marriage or bear children because women are exploited in heterosexual marriages, marriage and family life are patriarchal, and also lesbians should avoid motherhood as it disadvantages the heterosexual women as it limits opportunity in the labour market. Gay and Lesbian couples are seen as scapegoats in society to disguise the increasingly frequent departures from the norms and values of family life by heterosexuals. Marxist and Functionalists contribute to criticise the feminists' views. Marxist view the family as a source of social control. Engel's argued that the family is shaped by the economic structure of the society in which it exists; this idea is known as economic determinism. ...read more.

Conclusion

He displays the nuclear family in a negative perspective and characterised the family as a place where parents fight and children rebel. The family that is continuously talked about in each theory is the nuclear family; this is unrealistic in society's families as there are many other types of family structures such as extended, single parent, reconstituted. From evidence it is clear to see that nuclear family households are decreasing as there are 25% of households that are nuclear families. It would appear that feminism can be radical at times. Although feminists views have influenced society to think more equally. The fact that there have now been laws that have been passed to ensure women are being treated equally for example the liberals law to make it illegal to gender discriminate women are no able to achieve good examination results and are doing sufficiently better than men in education system. As a result of women receiving equality in some aspects of society they expect the same degree of equality in the home by the man. Equality for women have not have completely been achieved but the feminists approach has encouraged society today to think more openly so that in the future equality will be reached to its fullest so that men and women are completely equal. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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