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

outline and evaluate feminist contributions to our understanding of gender

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

E) Outline and evaluate Feminist contributions to our understanding of gender. Before the rise of Feminism in the 1960's, the popular view in sociology was that the biological differences between men and women were the things that determined their role in life. Functionalists assumed that men were biologically suited to heavy work (instrumental roles) and as women bore children, they were therefore biologically suited to the role of mother and carer, the expressive role. In the late 1960's Liberal Feminist Ann Oakley argued the case and said that gender roles were not 'nature' but were in fact nurture. She felt that gender roles were down to socialisation and even if there were biological tendencies, they could be overridden by cultural factors. She did several cross cultural studies; each one seemed to strengthen her case. For example, she found 14 cultures where women did the lumbering and 38 cultures where men and women shared cooking duties. Since the emergence of Feminism, there have been several different Feminist perspectives and although they do not all agree about the origins of gender issues, each one has added its own valuable contribution to the understanding of these issues and heightened women's, and men's awareness of the inequalities that exist. ...read more.

Middle

Liberal Feminists believed in 'self ownership', and felt that women should have control over their own bodies. Their campaigning resulted in improvements in fertility control. Betty Friedens N.O.W (national organisation of women) campaigners also got results for women. They had excellent media contacts and bombarded Washington with telegrams about sex discrimination, picketed the EEOC (equal opportunity employment commission) and filed complaints against the N.Y Times for its sex segregation job ads. This resulted in the US Sex Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act though the Sex Discrimination Act fell in 1982. The Liberal Feminist perspective was useful for highlighting inequalities at work and domestic labour but it doesn't explain why socialisation leads men to be dominant and women to be oppressed. It also overestimated the role of education, legislation and male resistance to giving up their power. It came under fire from black Feminists too who felt that different cultures and classes were not being taken into account. They felt that white women's experiences were far different to their own. For example, a white woman might be refused an abortion; black women were likely to be pressured into them. ...read more.

Conclusion

to their jobs, fails to explain how women now officially make up more than half of the current labour force, and if women are cheaper to employ, why aren't men staying at home while the women go out to work. Marxist Feminists say that if capitalism was abolished, gender inequality would disappear. Sylvia Walby says Marxist Feminism doesn't explain exploitation of women in non-capitalist societies, and they are criticised for overlooking patriarchy as being influential and for ignoring sexuality, violence and culture in the inequalities of women. Black Feminists also criticise it for ignoring race and ethnicity. The most balanced view to date seems to be that of the Dual/Triple system Feminists who take a piece of all the other perspectives. They believe that capitalism, patriarchy and racism all influence women's lives. This is a useful attempt at producing a more sophisticated explanation of gender inequalities but Postmodernist Feminists like Michelle Barrat and Anne Phiillips (1992) argue that inequalities in society have now broken down and Catherine Hakim (1996 denies that there is discrimination against women at work. She states that women are les committed to employment tan men and that a woman's inferior place at work is down to her own choice to put her family before employment. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

The body of the essay is great and shows excellent knowledge and understanding. However, there is probably not enough evaluation - a key critic would be that the essay asks if we understand gender, yet feminists seem to focus mostly on women at the expense of men. The essay writer would also benefit from practising writing introductions and conclusions.

Marked by teacher Lesley Clark 27/02/2012

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 GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Compare and Contrast Marx and Weber's view on Stratification

    However, the mutual dependency of the two classes is not a relationship of equal or symmetrical reciprocity. Instead, it is a relationship of exploiter and exploited. In particular, the ruling class is gaining at the expense of the subject class and there is therefore a conflict of interest between them.

  2. "Men and women have different roles to play in modern society." Discuss

    There is no arguing with the fact that mothering is best left to the natural mother of the child. In fact, the first three months of a newly born baby's life is mostly spent with the mother. The mother naturally has a special bond she shares with the infant, and

  1. The City in Anthem has numerous rules and controls. Why do these exist? What ...

    The ego is that which constitutes the essential identity of a human being. As one dictionary puts it: the ego is "the 'I' or self of any person; [it is] a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from the objects of its thought."

  2. Introduction to Sociology - questions and answers

    The Work value stems from the value of education as the British society in fact better there knowledge, skills and education to gain a better paid job. As we grown and adapt into society we are constantly told to go to school, gain as much education and get a well-paid job.

  1. Compare and contrast the Marxist and Functionalist explanations of the role of religion in ...

    Finally the role of religion as easing the suffering endured by oppression takes place through justifying social order and the position a person has in it. For example the Monarch was considered "The Divine Right" and was placed on earth by God, Hindus also have a caste system where an

  2. Is sociology a science?

    They believe that people have free will unlike objects and that useful theory and true prediction in sociology are impossible. The subjectivists' sociologists declare that sociology is not and should not claim to be a science based on three grounds which are empirical, theoretical and cumulative.

  1. Should Women have equal rights to Men? Men and women should have equal ...

    During most of the history of Western civilization cultural beliefs gave women limited roles. Most people believed that a woman's role was as a mother and wife.

  2. How the film "Outsourced" shows the effects of culture shock on an American in ...

    Todd came to India by compulsory of his boss, so he has no sense of outsourcing, of differences between two different countries: Indian and America. Besides he doesn?t prepare anything and has no knowledge about Indian people, culture as well as Indian country, so he didn?t undergo the time of honeymoon period.

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