Couples - Families and Households

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  • Couples
    • Becoming more equal
      • Radical feminist explanation
        • Men oppress women and benefit from the sexual and domestic services
        • Men dominate the state
      • Materialist expalnation
        • Male workers are exploited at work so take it out on their wives
        • Lack of resources increases stress increasing the risk of violence
      • Statistics
        • Police are reluctant to become involved in the private sphere of the family and so are unwilling to record
          • DV is the crime least likely to be reported. On average a woman suffers 35 assaults before reporting to police
    • Resources and decision making
      • Decision making and paid work
        • Pooling eg. joint bank accounts
        • An allowance system where men give their unemployed wives money to look after the children
      • Personal life perspective
        • Nyman argues that different couples give money different meanings
      • Professional couples and decision making
        • Gender role socialisation instils the idea that men are still decision makers
        • Men have more power because they earn more money
        • The women are dependant on women and so for have less say
    • Domestic division of labour
      • March of progress
        • Segregated and Joint conjugal roles
        • Wilmotts symmetrical family
          • Most women go to work
          • Men help with housework and childcare
          • Leisure time is spent together
      • Functionalism
        • The division is biologically based
        • Parsons: Instrumental roles and Expressive roles
      • Feminism
        • Boulton argues we need to look at who is responsible for the task and not just who performs them
        • The family is patriarchal - women still do most of the housework
    • Domestic violence
      • March of progress
        • Sullivan: Couples have a more equal division of labour
      • Feminism
        • Women carry a dual burden of paid work and domestic work
        • Triple shift of paid work, domestic work and emotional work
        • Dex and Ward found that only 1% of fathers take main responsibility for an ill child
      • Explanation of gender divisions
        • Material explanation
          • Women earn less so its rational for them to do more domestic labour
          • Ramos found that when women are in full time work and men are unemployed they do equal housework
        • Cultural explanation
          • Patriarchal norms shape gender roles.
          • Society expects women to do domestic work
          • Gershuny argues that couples are adapting to women's full time employment and norms of men doing domestic work
      • Same sex couples
        • Heterosexual are socialised into gender scripts. Lesbians don't link household tasks to gender scripts


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