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Pg 102-105 Family Roles and Changing Relationships: Feminist Perspectives on Equality in the Family

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What is the primary focus of liberal feminism according to the text?

Ensuring equal opportunity for men and women in all areas

Which feminist perspective sees women as performing a 'service role' in the family?

Marxist feminism

How do liberal feminists view the division of roles and responsibilities within the family?

Families should be free to choose how roles and responsibilities are divided

What is the main criticism of liberal feminism from other forms of feminism?

It does not go far enough in challenging the patriarchal structure of society

What is the Marxist feminist perspective on gender inequalities in conjugal roles?

Marxist feminists see gender inequalities as a result of capitalism and the economic system

Which feminist perspective recognizes that women may choose to focus on different roles and responsibilities within the family?

Liberal feminism

Why do women often take on the responsibility of domestic labor?

Their partner is unable or unwilling to do it

What is the Marxist feminist perspective on the economic exploitation of women?

All of the above

According to radical feminism, what is the primary source of male domination within the family?

The fact that women become pregnant and are forced to depend on men

What is the radical feminist solution to gender inequality in the family?

Both a and b

How have contemporary gender roles changed compared to the past?

Both b and c

What do recent studies show about the patterns of domestic labor within the UK?

Women of all ages, ethnicities and classes do more domestic labor than men

What is the main argument of Firestone's radical feminist perspective?

Biology is the essential gender difference that creates a culture of sex discrimination

What is the Marxist feminist view on the relationship between capitalism and female oppression?

Capitalism is the 'real cause of female oppression' because it involves relations of domination, subordination and oppression

According to the radical feminist perspective, what is the solution to gender inequality in the family?

Abandon the patriarchal family structure or develop matriarchal alternatives

What is the key difference between the roles of 'mother' and 'father' according to the text?

The role of 'mother' is usually marked out differently from that of 'father'

What is the main focus of traditional functionalism in terms of family roles?

Men and women playing different roles in the family

According to Marxist analysis, what does the term 'moral economy' refer to?

Values and norms related to family roles

In what way can power be exerted in families according to Pahl's concept of 'family power'?

Through expressions of love

What is one of the major reasons why the extent of domestic violence is difficult to estimate?

Lack of reporting by victims

According to Marxist analysis, who usually controls the most valued resources within families?


What aspect is highlighted in traditional female roles within families?

Emotion work and relationship-building

What do conflict theorists generally believe about family life?

Family life generally leads to negative outcomes for individuals

In two-income families, who generally makes the most important financial decisions?


What is one reason many victims do not report domestic violence according to Kirkwood (1993)?

Fear of further consequences

According to Morgan (2001), what does the 'political economy' in families involve?

Making important financial decisions

What is the primary reason for the division of labor between men and women in domestic tasks?

Traditional beliefs about gender roles and the fact that men spend more time in paid employment.

What did Kan (2001) find regarding the relationship between paid employment and the amount of housework performed by women?

Paid employment slightly reduced the amount of housework done by women.

According to Ramos (2003), when is domestic labor more likely to be equally distributed between partners?

When the male partner is unemployed and the female partner works full-time.

What aspects of childcare do women generally perform in families with dependent children?

The 'boring' aspects, such as feeding and clothing their children.

What does Willmott (2000) argue regarding the division of domestic labor in modern families?

There is less dependence on traditional gender roles when dividing up tasks in the home.

What are the significant factors in deciding 'who does what' in the family?

Time and preference, not gender.

What did Pilcher (1988) find regarding older people's attitudes towards gender roles and responsibilities?

Older people were more traditional in their views of gender roles and responsibilities.

What does the text suggest about the idea of the 'New Man' in the media?

It represents a combination of traditional masculinity and greater involvement in domestic work and childcare.

According to Silva's research, how did the use of technology in the home affect the division of domestic labor?

Technology reinforced the gendered division of tasks and placed further demands on women.

What is the traditional functionalist perspective on the evolution of gender roles in the family, according to the text?

Uneven gender relationships gradually give way to symmetrical relationships based on joint conjugal roles.

Study Notes

Gender Roles and Family Life

  • In the past, there were clear guidelines for the roles of men and women in a nuclear family, with the wife/mother working at home and the husband/father being the economic provider.
  • Contemporary gender roles are still connected to those of the past, but people have more personal freedom to decide how they want to interpret parental roles.
  • Women of all ages, ethnicities, and classes do more domestic labor than men, with women spending more time on routine domestic tasks and men spending more time on jobs like repairs and gardening.
  • The division of labor reflects both traditional beliefs about parental roles and the fact that men, on average, spend more time in the paid workforce.
  • Women in families with dependent children generally perform many of the 'boring' aspects of childcare, such as feeding and clothing, while men focus on the less 'boring' and more pleasing aspects, like playing with their children.

Feminist Perspectives on Equality and Power in the Family

  • Liberal feminism promotes equality of opportunity, where men and women are free to choose their roles and how they are performed in a family context.
  • Radical feminism sees patriarchy as the primary source of male domination within the family, and argues that women should exploit the 'values of femininity' such as a sense of community, family, understanding, and sharing.
  • Marxist feminism applies Marxist ideas about economic equality to an explanation of gender inequalities in conjugal roles in capitalist societies, seeing women performing a service role in the family, which gives them the status of 'unpaid servants'.

Domestic Labor and Technology

  • Technology has changed the way people perform domestic labor, but it has not necessarily reduced the amount of time women spend on domestic tasks.
  • Silva's research found that the saving of time was unequal between men and women, with men having little interest in using washing machines and leaving laundry tasks to their wives.
  • Technology has reinforced a gendered division of tasks in the home and placed further demands on women.

Conjugal Roles and Debates about Gender Equality

  • The significant factors in deciding 'who does what' in the family are time and preference, not gender.
  • Changing family and wider social relationships mean that domestic labor is 'negotiated by every couple depending on their individual circumstances'.
  • Industrial societies have experienced a 'quiet revolution' in conjugal roles based on a general acceptance of gender equality, with evidence showing men doing a greater share of housework and women doing less, and men spending more time on childcare.

Marxism and Family Life

  • Marxist analysis focuses on families as involving complex conflicts and power struggles, with the husband/father usually controlling the most valued resources and having the greatest power.
  • The political economy is about how money is received, controlled, and managed, the moral economy refers to the values and norms relating to conjugal roles and responsibilities, and the emotional economy relates to interpersonal relationships and 'affective power'.
  • Domestic violence is an extreme form of the exercise of power within families, with women and children being most at risk.

Explore different feminist perspectives such as liberal, radical, and Marxist feminism on equality and power within the family structure. Delve into concepts of gender equality and experiences of family life through the lens of various feminist ideologies.

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