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Examine the paradox that the family may be simultaneously a source of fulfilment and the site of oppression for women.

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Introduction

Examine the paradox that the family may be simultaneously a source of fulfilment and the site of oppression for women. The concept of 'family' can be defined in several ways depending on from which angle it is looked at. The problem with defining the concept arises due to individual's change in behaviour and belief, and so it results in the reformation of the social structure, resulting in adjustments in the way family is perceived and functioned. Family relationships play an integral role in women's lives and so for that reason have such a broad scope and relevance for research and feminist theory. The traditional outlook of the Catholics church, perceives the family as being one of the main aspects of social life. There outlook of family consists of a husband and wife who bring up their children to honour God. There view suggests that once married, women should stay at home and raise children. Some women, especially those who follow a faith find that the notion of being married and bringing together a family is an achievement in life. They believe that if their actions are pleasing to God then they are fulfilled with their role no matter what it is. For example the religion Islam, evaluates an individual male or female based upon whether their action conforms to the command of God. ...read more.

Middle

One of the reasons why some women didn't mind staying at home looking after their family was because it allowed them the sovereignty of being 'ones-own boss'. It permitted them to sense the feeling of being in control and to make decisions without being instructed about what to do. Having an occupation in some organizations gives one recognition for there hard work, whilst receiving your wage can be seen as an example of fulfillment, however many times those women who stay at home do not receive any recognition for there hard work so therefore it alters their way of thinking. However one of the problems encountered whilst staying at home, was being labeled as a 'housewife', as the housewife role is perceived as having a low status. Those women who had high status jobs in the past felt anxious about being low status housewives. Many women felt a sense of responsibility towards family and established a way of gaining some form of emotional satisfaction. (Oakley, 1974) However there are contrasting descriptions of family which highlight the difference between the traditional and modern ideas. The United Nations definition of family is "two or more persons who are bound together by ties of mutual consent, birth and/or adoption who together, assume responsibility for the care and maintenance of group members" (proinsias de rossa 1995). One of the reasons why there is a distinction between the definitions is because as society is becoming more secular individual's views on many aspects are changing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Those with traditional views are content with there roles because it is pleasing to God and to society. Although, some were forced as these roles of staying at home, and having children were expected. Some women generally did find happiness in living like a normal family' as it gave them some form of security. But as women have become more independent are able to put forward their views many of them opposed with having a family and saw it as a sight of oppression. There are many factors which contribute to the change of women's views about family life such as the media stereotypes, these being far strecthed from reality inorder to attract more viewers, increase the sales of products, or even to gain support for someone's political agenda. Therefore as the social structure and views of society revolutionize, the concept of family will vary and so it will depend on individual women on how they feel about whether family is a source of fulfilment or oppression. Men in perspective: Practice, Power and Identity 1995 Edley Nigel & Wetherell Margaret Social Welfare Minister's speech. 1995; Proinsias de Rossa - Dail Debates, Volume 449 Religion, Feminism, and the Family.1996 Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Ed Westminster John Knox Press, Introducing Women Studies (Second Edition) 1997. Robinson V & Richardson D The Second Sex, 1949, Simone de Beauvoir W0312079 Assignment 2 ...read more.

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