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Assess the contribution of feminist perspective to an understanding of modern family life ( 20 marks)

  • Essay length: 1767 words
  • Submitted: 15/03/2007
  • Reviewed by: (?) cwhite
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GCSE Sociology

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The first 200 words of this essay...

Assess the contribution of feminist perspective to an understanding of modern family life (20 marks)

In this essay I will attempt to analyse three areas of feminism and apply it to the modern family life. Each area of feminism has different views on what or who has caused the oppression of women and why.

The definition of feminism is a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women. Feminism is often considered to be a paradigm shift which is a major change in the way society forms its values and beliefs. The nuclear family which the government strives for is 'advertised' by its political, ideological and religious expectations. The nuclear family was the typical family in the post-war period was known as the 'golden period' where the mother stays at home to look after the children and the father goes out to work. These were very segregated roles where the male acted as the instrumental role and female the expressive role.

To begin with liberal feminists blame society for the oppression and exploitation of women and began to be popular in the 1950's and 60's when civil rights movements were taking place. The

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Review of essay

Reviewed by: cwhite

Rating: 4 star(s)

Response to the question

This essay shows that the candidate has sound knowledge of the many different strands of feminism. The essay begins with a bold statement, “In this essay I will attempt to analyse three areas of feminism and apply it to the modern family life. Each area of feminism has different views on what or who has caused the oppression of women and why” which shows that they will indeed answer the specific question set. It then proceeds to define feminism as a whole which is useful. The candidate explains the three types of feminism in a list fashion, before diving deep into their evaluations, which actually works well, even though it is not the traditional format GCSE candidates are usually taught (Point, Example, Evaluation).

Level of analysis

Feminist terminology is used, “oppression” and “exploitation” and the writer also refers to the Civil Rights Movement which shows that they have good historical knowledge of other events happening at the same time as the Feminist movement. They also mention particular sociologists, such as Firestone which is excellent. They also refer to the “modern” issue of the question by providing useful contemporary examples of the elements of modern family life.
The essay fails to answer the “assess” element of the question somewhat. Although it thoroughly considers a great multitude of feminist contributions to our understanding of modern family life (liberal, Marxist, radical) the writer needs to consider what, for instance, Marxists say in contrast to feminists, in order to gain more evaluative points. For example they could state: “Feminist perspectives are more useful to our understanding, than traditional sociological theories such as Marxism, because feminists are studying society now whereas Marxists fail to account for the massive social change that has happened since Marx was writing”.
The writer needs to be careful in confusing traditional Marxist theory with that of Marxist Feminism. For example: “Marxists believe that women are often the ones who form negative concepts of themselves” is incorrect, as that is a Marxist feminist belief. It would be useful if the candidate could mention that the key terms they are using are from a Functionalist origin, “instrumental role and female the expressive role”. This would just showcase that the writer has sociological knowledge from a range of perspectives.

Quality of writing

This essay doesn’t include any spelling or grammatical errors. I do like the use of including rhetorical questions, “what is a normal or typical family?” as it allows the examiner to see that the candidate is insightful, whilst providing elements of evaluation.

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