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Feminism and the Family

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Feminists have played a major role in the ideology of the family. Feminists believe that families portray gender inequality through things such as primary socialisation. They claim that many parents socialise their young girls in to becoming obedient and conforming and teach their boys to be dominant and competitive. A liberal feminist, Jessie Bernard, says that the key factor limiting the potential of women is the role of being a housewife. Bernard believes that marriage is mainly beneficial for men as they are more likely to have successful careers, high incomes and high status occupations. However, wives portray marital dissatisfaction more than men because they gain the least. Also feminists say that the inequality is not biological, therefore is a product of culture and is created through the variation of domestic labour. according to feminists, women often are socialised into the low pay jobs and even if women and men do end up having the same job, women get less pay than the man in said job, which is still seen today.
Functionalists such as Wilmot and Young have claimed that 72% of the married men in their sample help their wife in some other way than washing, even though they haven’t specified what this job is. They believe that the family is symmetrical and both husband and wife have joint conjugal roles, which makes the family a functional institution. However, Anne Oakley argues that the fact that they say that they help their wife implies that they have been taking on a dual burden and that the primary responsibility is still the wives. Oakley also claims that the creation of the housewife role is a construction of society and is not linked to the female role. This role guarantees that women stay submissive to men and they don’t get a career which has a status or is paid for as they are stuck in a role that has no status or any type of appreciation or…...

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