G672 Essays and discussion Watch
Here are some of my completed questions
This one got me 31 marks
Outline and discuss the view that there is a ‘dark side’ to family life.
The dark side of the family consists of the parts of family life that are hidden, these parts involves physical, mental and verbal abuse towards family members. The dark side of the family was not evident in society for a long time, with many believing that this violence did not exist, but recently evident shows that this domestic abuse is more prominent in society than many people believed, for example, Nazroo’s research indicates that both genders are victims of abuse and that wives often live in fear of men’s potential domestic violence or threats, while husbands rarely feel frightened or intimidated by their wives’ potential for violence.
Some sociologists believe that the family is a unit of abuse due to recent statistics showing that 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic abuse at one point in their lives and 1 in 7 men are at some point a victim of domestic abuse. According to many feminists violence exists in the family due to society being patriarchal. Radical feminists would claim that men are violent towards women in order to show that the man has the power in the family, and to oppress women and force them to do the tasks the man wants, such as cooking, cleaning, looking after the children and sexual pleasure. However, some sociologists such as Parsons, may argue that this violence towards women exists due to men wanting some relief from work at the end of the day, for example, men work all day and may get extremely stressed but not be able to relieve this while at work as they do not want to lose their jobs so when they come home they take this stress out on their wives in the form of verbal or physical abuse so that they will feel relieved and able to relax, this is related to the warm bath theory, which states that the family is a source of relaxation for the man as when they come home their wife does dinner for him so that he can spend the evening relaxing from a hard days work. Some sociologists would use this evidence of the dark side of the family to criticise functionalists, as many believe that when domestic abuse exists in any family structure even nuclear that it is no longer functional, showing that functionalist views of the nuclear family being functional is incorrect. However, functionalists would argue back that the nuclear family is the best family structure for society and despite an existence of the dark side of the family, this family structure is still functional and the family can resolve this issue.
It is often questioned as to why these women stay in their marriages when they are being abused, there are many reasons for this. One of these reasons may be that they still love their husband and so make excuses for them, such as, this isn’t him he is going through a tough time at the moment, well I didn’t do what he asked me to, I am not a good enough wife for him, he still loves me and he didn’t mean it. Another reason is that the husband may use their children against her, for example, saying if you leave me I will hurt them, or I will make it so that you will never see your children again. Some women may be too frightened to leave, believing that if they go their husband will find them and possibly hurt them more than they already have or even kill them. These reasons also exist for men who are abused by their wives, but men don’t tend to speak up about the abuse for reasons such as, pride, the embarrassment of people knowing they were abused by their wives.
Even though there are few studies on child abuse, there is a large presence of this within society, which can be seen from news articles for example, Baby P, and Daniel Pelka who both died as a result of abuse from their mothers. Daniel Pelka was four years old when he died from a head injury but before this he had been starved and beaten for months by his mother and her husband. In cases of child abuse, 64% of the time the mother is involved, and 36.8% of the time the father is involved. There are many reasons as to why the mother may be more involved in child abuse cases than the father, this may be due to the roles within the family whereby, the wife is the homemaker and the husband is the breadwinner, meaning the wife is going to spend more time with her children than the father so be most likely to suffer from depression and stress from looking after her children, leading to her taking this out on the children as she has no way to relieve this. Also the mother may blame her children for her having to give up her career causing her to become aggressive towards her children. Also mothers go through a lot of hormonal changes during her pregnancy which may lead to postpartum depression which causes recurring thoughts of harming their children which can lead to some mothers losing control and causing these thoughts to influence their actions towards their children leading to child abuse and possible killing of her child.
This one got me 29 marks and needs further detail on radical feminism with evidence.
Outline and evaluate feminist views of relationships between men and women in family life.
Feminists are a group of people who believe that men and women should be treated as equals and have equal rights. However, they believe that men and women are not equal in society, as women are still treated as the inferior sex. This is due to society still being patriarchal as when we look at the government the prime minister is male and most of the members of parliament are male, and in businesses it is the men who are usually the managers, CEO’s and members of a board, although there are some women but it is far more difficult for a women to obtain this position than a man. There are three main types of feminists; liberal feminists; radical feminists; and Marxist feminists.
Liberal feminists believe that in the family the conjugal roles should be equally shared among the husband and wife. However, this does not appear to be the case, it appears that even when women work they still do the majority of housework, while looking after the children which means rather than just having their traditional role of homemaker they are also sharing the role of breadwinner which means that they are having a triple shift role, whilst the man does minimal housework and childcare. This means that roles in the family are still not symmetrical. Anne Oakley (1974) has done research that shows that there is an existence of strong segregated roles, and that women did the majority of housework. Also despite that large-scale surveys suggest that men do an equal amount of housework as women do in the family, Mary Boulton (1983) suggests that it is more likely that the amount of housework men do is greatly over-exaggerated in these surveys. An issue with this evidence is that it is 30 years outdated and family life has changed considerably since then with far more women having careers which are higher up in businesses, and consume more of their time and more equal rights laws and regulations existing, making it so that women have equal opportunities as men which may mean that there are more symmetrical families than there was when this research was conducted. However, even in modern society there is still a strong existence of segregated roles within families but it is also evident that these roles are changing as more women find careers.
Radical feminists believe that in the family, women should have more power than men, but the patriarchal system oppresses women, so that men can maintain their power which means that men and women’s roles are seen as not equal by radical feminists as long as men maintain their power in society.
Marxist feminists believe that class effects the role of men and women in the family and that when middle class is compared with working class it will be found that in the working class there is a stronger existence of segregated roles and that in the middle class there will be a stronger existence of symmetrical roles as it is more likely for the middle class to have both the man and the woman working in offices full time and in the working class the man may work full time and the woman may work part time or stay at home. However, there is evidence to that this assumption of middle class families being more symmetrical is false. Stephen Edgell (1980) found that even middle-class families are likely to have segregated relationships. However, this research is over 30 years outdated so is not a reliable source, as more women have careers now in the middle-class whereas, 30 years ago the man would be more likely to be the only one working giving the family the status of middle-class, which may mean that if research was conducted now it may be found that the level of segregated relationships has declined and the amount of symmetrical families has increased.
In modern day society feminists still view men and women’s relationships within the family as segregated with men possessing the power, as it is the man who earns the majority of money and woman still do the majority of housework, this exists even when women earn the same amount as a man or more. Some feminists feel that as long as society remains patriarchal that men and women will remain segregated, due to the oppression of women. Due to this patriarchal society women tend to remain lower down in businesses than men due to maternity leave and sexism, in theory this should not effect a women’s position in her career but in practice this does as when men are compared to women. The fact that it is the women who gets maternity leave shows that men still view women as the main child carer, as it is not necessary for a woman to have that much time off of work after having a child, either parent could have a year off of work to care for the child but the patriarchal system makes it so that the woman is the only parent able to do this, as it only allows the father a couple weeks off of work. Also, as woman are allowed maternity leave this also makes them miss opportunities for promotion so while they are off of work the man may receive promotions which may result in a higher workload so their husband may do less housework, as they view their part as the breadwinner as more significant than their wife’s career, as they will be making a larger financial contribution which results in the wife doing more housework.
This one got me 27 marks when I originally did it but I have amended it slightly since then and it should be worth about 29 marks now
Outline and evaluate functionalist views of the role of the family in society.
Functionalists believe in a harmonious society but believe this can only be achieved through the nuclear family. This is due to the nuclear family providing the right value consensus in order for children to enter society as adults who are socially acceptable which will prevent conflict occurring. Functionalists also believe that society operates like the human body which means that if one part of breaks chaos can break out.
Functionalists believe that the nuclear family is essential for society to remain harmonious as when this family breaks down they can no longer provide the functions required for this. Murdock stated that there are four functions provided by the nuclear family that are essential for a harmonious society; sexual; educational; economical; and reproductive. These functions help to socialise children into society as socially acceptable adults and functional workers who will continue to operate society efficiently and harmoniously.
Parsons also stated that there are two main functions of a nuclear family. One of which is socialisation as both parents are required in order for a child to learn societies norms, values and in order to develop their own identity. Functionalists believe one parent cannot do this adequately and that one parent would cause the child to under achieve and become a criminal delinquent causing chaos in society. Another function is stabilisation as the nuclear family provide the right value consensus resulting in stable children which will help to maintain a harmonious society.
Functionalists believe the main family is nuclear. However, Rapoport et al, criticise this functionalist view as statistics show that this was not even true in 1978 with only 20% of families fitting this ideal. This shows us that the functionalist view of nuclear families resulting in a harmonious society whilst others cause chaos is untrue as for a long time the majority of families have not been nuclear in society yet society is still functional.
Functionalists believe that one parent families are unsuitable as they cannot provide the right consensus for a child to group up which will lead to under achievement and criminal delinquency as previously stated. A reason for this is that one parent may not care for the child especially if this child was conceived when the mother was a teenager. However, Burghes and Browns study of 31 mothers who conceived their children as teenagers showed that these mothers cared about their children and wanted to look after them and all of them planned to go back into education or find employment once their child entered primary school.
The functionalist view is very Western as there are many cultures that have always had a completely different type of family yet they are relatively harmonious. Some cultures allow polygamy which is when a person can have many husbands or wives and these families tend to work as polyandry allows a wife to marry a man and his brothers which means that she will be very well provided for financially and emotionally.
The functionalist view that the nuclear family is need for society to be harmonious is not only untrue due to diversity in the UK but also due to the dark side of the family. This dark side of the family is the part of the family that is hidden from society which involves child abuse and domestic abuse, until recently this side of the family was not accounted for but now many people are much more aware of this existing. It is argued that in a nuclear family where abuse exists this family cannot be functional and would be better off if broken apart as it can have psychological effects on children such as, under achievement in education, closing themselves off from others in society, which would result in them not being socialised into society properly and them being bad for society when they are older. However, functionalists argue here that the nuclear family is still the most functional family even if abuse exists and that this issue should be resolved whilst maintaining this family structure.
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