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Has the family became symmetrical?

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Has the family became symmetrical? When we talk about family, we should think of the relationships and the roles between the individuals in families. Young and Wilmott's 'The symmetrical family' is the study based on middle class families in London, showed that families have become more equal and symmetrical with husbands and wives having an equal share of responsibilities in the home. They see the family as having passed through 3 stages to reach this: 1. The Pre-industrial families - the family is a unit of production, parents and children work as a team to provide shelter, food, clothing etc. in order to survive. Family unit mainly consisting of extended families. 2. Early Industrial families - this phase was seen as one of disruption, in which the family and household were torn apart by the effects of the industrial revolution. The father became more absent from the family and role of housewife and mother became more common for women. ...read more.


She found that although in middle class households there was a greater degree of equality, that generally women were responsible for household tasks, and that few marriages could realistically be described as egalitarian. Elston (1980) found that even in households where both partners were full-time doctors, women nevertheless did the great majority of the shopping and cooking, while men undertook most of the household repairs. Interestingly, in 71 per cent of these medical household it was the women who took time off work when their children were ill. Such findings led to a questioning of the assumption that conjugal roles were changing among the middle class, let alone the working class. Far from being a present reality, joint conjugal roles and the 'principle of stratified diffusion' were unlikely to be realized in the near future. One reason for Willmott and Young's optimism could be that their own ideas of joint roles did not mean equal roles. ...read more.


Obviously, these two different point of views point out their own views of whether nowadays families symmetrical or not. Young and Wilmott's 'The symmetrical family' points out that the Industrial Revolution does a great effect on families life nowadays, so that families have become more equal and symmetrical with husbands and wives having an equal share of responsibilities in the home. This theory was called 'optimistic view of an egalitarian' by Ann Oakley, who holds the different view of symmetrical families theory. Other facts also proved that the theory of Young and Wilmott's is a slight optimistic view. Although the symmetrical family theory is not the perfect point of view, it pointed out the influence of the Industrial Revolution in the family members, it has changed the roles and the relationships. Compare to families before, the conclusion could be like this, families have became symmetrical, but unsymmetrization still exists. ?? ?? ?? ?? Samuel Dai 1 ...read more.

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