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Assess the Contribution of Feminist Sociologists to an Understanding of Family Roles and Relationships Essay Jak

There are many different types of feminist theories but they all share a few common interests. They all believe there is a fundamental division in society between men and women, that women are to some extent exploited by men and that society is male-dominated or patriarchal.

Oakley argues that the role of the housewife is a social construction and isn’t linked to the female role. The housewife role makes sure that women stay inferior to men making it difficult for them have careers. Women carry out the triple burden in the household; the domestic labour, emotional labour, and paid labour. As shown in the item most of this work is ‘unpaid and hardly recognised work at all’. Oakley argues the only way women will gain independence and freedom in society is for the role of the housewife to be removed as well as the present structure of the family. Wilmott and Young believed the family is symmetrical and that both husband and wife have joint conjugal roles making the family a functional institution and their research showed that men do help women with housework. Radical feminists such as Dobash and Dobash disagree with Willmott and Young’s theory that the family is symmetrical. They believe there are inequalities in the power relations between men and women so they see family as an institution that allows abuse and considering the risk of male violence women would be better...

Some feminists also criticise existing sociology by saying it has a pro-male bias. They call this ‘malestream’ sociology claiming most sociology is written by men, about men and for men. In the early 1970s feminist ideology became influential in sociology and this was reflected in a growing number of studies of the family from a feminist point of view. There a three main…...

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