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Examine the Ways in Which Feminist Sociologists Have Contributed to Our Understanding of Family Roles and Relationships

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Examine the ways in which feminist sociologists have contributed to our understanding of family roles and relationships

Feminists as a whole take a critical view of the family and they argue that family life oppresses women. They mainly focus on issues such as the unequal division of labour and domestic violence against women. Feminists believe that gender inequality is neither natural nor inevitable but something that society created. Feminists belief in the symmetrical family, which promotes the roles of husbands and wives being, not identical, but similar. Feminism does not cover all the beliefs of the different types of feminists and each approaches family life in a different way and provides varied solutions for each problem or issue.

There are many feminists who argue that, despite women having jobs and working, there is little or insufficient evidence of a “new man” who helps out and does an equal share of domestic labour. Women seem to have simply acquired the burden of both paid work and unpaid housework, which is known as the dual burden. So the family still remains to be patriarchal; men are benefiting from their wives or partners unpaid housework. Further support comes from Elsa Ferri and Kate Smith (1996) who provide evidence of the dual burden. They found that the employment increase of women outside of home has had little impact on the domestic division of labour between the sexes.

Liberal feminism is an individualistic form of the feminist theory, which primarily focuses on women’s ability to show and maintain their equality through their own actions and choices. They argue that our society holds the false belief that women are, by nature, less intellectually and physically capable than men. One limitation of this study is that it is really more of a political than a sociological approach and so tends to be more involved with telling us how…...

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