Sociology- Feminist perspective of the family

  • Created by: Daisymac
  • Created on: 27-02-19 16:33
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  • Feminist perspective on the family
    • What?
      • Feminists take a critical view of the family
      • They argue that it oppresses women and do not regard gender inequality as natural or inevitable
    • Liberal feminism
      • LF are concerned with campaigning against sexual discrimination and for equal rights and opportunities for women
      • Argue women's oppression is being gradually overcome by changing peoples attitudes and changes in law
      • They believe we are moving towards greater equality
      • LF do not believe full gender equality has been achieved in the family, they argue that there has been gradual progress
      • Some studies suggest ,men are doing more domestic labour and the way parents socialise their sons and daughters is more equal
        • Other feminists criticise LF as they fail to challenge the underlying cause of women's oppression and for believing that changes in the law will br enough to bring equality
        • Marxist and radical feminists believe instead that far-reaching changes to deep rooted social structures are needed
    • Marxist feminism
      • MF argue that the main cause of women's oppression in the family is not men, but capitalism
      • Women reproduce the labour force through their unpaid domestic labour by socialising the next generation of workers and maintaining and servicing the current one
      • Women absorb anger that would otherwise be directed at capitalism.
        • Ansley 1972 describes wives as 'takers of ****' who soak up the frustration their husbands feel because of the alienation and exploitation they suffer at work
        • This explains male domestic violence against women
      • Women are a reserve army of cheap labour that can be taken on when extra workers are needed. When no longer needed, employers can let them go to return to their unpaid primary role as domestic labour
      • MF see the oppression of women in the family as linked to the exploitation of the working class
      • Argue the family must be abolished at the same time as a socialist revolution replaces capitalism with a classless society
    • Radical feminism
      • RF argue that all societies have been founded on patriarchy
      • Believe men are the enemy as they are the key source of women's oppression and exploitation
      • Believe the family and marriage are the key institutions in a patriarchal society. Men benefit from women's unpaid domestic labour and from their sexual services, and they dominate women through domestic and sexual violence or the threat of it
      • RF argues the patriarchal system needs to be overturned and the family needs to be abolished
        • Argue only way to do this is by separatism- women must organise themselves to live independently of men
      • Untitled
      • Many RF argue for political lesbianism- the idea heterosexual relationships are inevitably oppressive because they involve sleeping with the enemy
      • Greer 2000 argues that female or matrilocal households as an alternative to the heterosexual family
      • LF such as Somerville 2000 argue that RF fail to recognise that women's position has improved considerably  as they have better access to divorce, better job opportunities
        • Also argues heterosexual  attraction makes it unlikely that separatism would work
    • Difference feminism
      • DF argues that we cannot generalise about women's experiences
      • Argue that lesbian and heterosexual women, white and black women, middle class and working class women all have very different experiences of the family
      • EG. by regarding the family as purely negative, white feminists neglect black women's experience of radical oppression
        • Black feminists view the black family positively as a source of support and resistance against racism
      • Other feminists argue that DF neglects the fact all women share many of the same experiences, such as DA


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