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AS Unit 1 - The Family

4) Marxist Feminist and Radical Feminist Perspectives

Unlike Marxists, Feminists focus more on the emasculation of the women than the working class

Marxist Feminists – Believe that the emasculation of women comes originally from capitalism

Radical Feminists – Believe that it is patriarchy itself that emasculates women

Key points of the Feminists view of the Family 

The social reproduction of labour power – the family provides a place where children can be born and raided with security, this then provides capitalism with a good future workforce. It does this in 3 ways:

  • Women and the family provides a relaxing place,ensuring members of the workforce go to work with their ability renewed
  • Doing work for the family such as housework and looking after family which is unpaid, helping capitalism for no cost
  • By socializing children into the dominant ideology and making them good workers, for example socializing children into believing the mother should be a housewife and the father should be the breadwinner

Social Control of the Working-class – The family keeps the working-class people conforming to the dominant norms and values, helping capitalism. For example a family is expected by norms and values to provide for the children; but to do this the parents must stay in work even if it is tedious, low paid and boring.

The Myth of the “Symmetrical Family” – Feminists disagree that there is growing equality between partners. They argue that there is still inequality because it is mainly women who:

  • perform housework
  • Make sacrifices to provide for children
  • make less decisions
  • be dependant on mens earnings
  • give up paid work to look after children, sacrificing work opportunities
  • are more likely to be the victims of domestic violence by men

Criticisms of the Marxist Feminist and Radical Feminists Perspectives

  • Women’s roles aren’t the same in all families, some are becoming more symmetrical.
  • Some women choose to fulfill what feminists see as an emasculating role in the family; feminists don’t account for this
  • Around 70% of divorces are filed by women, this shows that actually women have more power to escape a relationship than Feminists say

About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology


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