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Gender and Intimate Relationships Chapter 7. Introduction Family: love, private, safe haven, let your hair down?

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Presentation on theme: "Gender and Intimate Relationships Chapter 7. Introduction Family: love, private, safe haven, let your hair down?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender and Intimate Relationships Chapter 7

2 Introduction Family: love, private, safe haven, let your hair down?

3 Sociology Constructs the Family Ernest Burgess the founder of family sociology Talcott Parsons shaped this subfield of sociology with his isolated nuclear family model: -family members live apart from other relatives - financially independent of other relatives -the role of the family is to 1. socialize the children and 2. to stabilize the adults

4 Sociology Constructs the Family Isolated Nuclear Family Model: Instrumental family role: father economic provider, decision maker, leader Expressive family role: mother housework, child care, meets emotional needs Basis for this theory is biological differences

5 Evaluating the functionalist Perspective Is the contemporary family really isolated from other kin? Preindustrial families were not extended Do families give advice, support, and money to relatives? Roles rigidly define men and women and push women into a private sphere vs. public domain Assignment of roles based on sex -> roles are normal and unchanging and mutually exclusive

6 Evaluating the functionalist Perspective Contemporary Families are Diverse Married couple households with children 23.5% (2000) (45% 1960) 51% of these families have dual earners Single parent families (only 1 finacial supporter) mostly headed by women (have grown 5 times faster that married couples since 1960) More childless and post rearing housholds Increase of cohabitation (1/3) have children Domestic partnerships heterosexual/homosexual Chosen families: non family households based on wanting to be together by choice

7 Evaluating the functionalist Perspective Contemporary Families are Diverse Blended families Accordion family: Kin moves in and out a family unit as needed Defining character of family emotional and financial ties and sexual behavior

8 Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, and Reproductive Freedom Chastity pleges Courtship and betrothal, commitment to marriage before a relationships develops and courtship, a getting to know each other over a long period of time without sex 1998 first intercourse for both boys and girls was 15 Many teens engaging in oral sex and they believe it is not sex, or they can’t contract and STI Gender differences: women more guilt and less pleasure vs men Women’s motivations affection for their partner and approval Men’s motivation: status seeking, curiosity, feeling ready for the experience. Sexual double standard still alive despite both boys and girls feel pressure to have sex. Males/studs Females/sluts (sex only in a romantic committed relationship)

9 Sexualities Homosexuality often studied as a deviation from the norm Sexual orientation seen as dichotomous -> bisexuality not seen as a separate identity Many individuals clearly identify homosexuality as always being wrong ( 56%, study in 2000, down from 70% 70/80) Civil unions in some states The right to legally marry is still hotly debated

10 Reproductive Freedom Def: an individual's ability to freely choose whether or not to have a child Contraception and Abortion By 1850 contraceptives and abortion illegal in US Until 1970 abortion and certain contraceptives remained illegal 71 legal for married people 72 legal for adults 77 legal for minors 73 Roe v. Wade legalized abortion

11 Abortion Women have the constitutional right to choose abortion and that the state cannot unduly interfere with or prohibit that right. 1 st trimester: between woman and doctor 2 nd trimester: restrictions to safeguard the woman’s health 3 rd trimester: state may prohibit 3 rd trimester abortions unless the woman’s life is at stake Yet, Doe v Bolton: the court ruled that any restrictions imposed by the state must be reasonable and cannot inhibit a physician's duty to provide medical care according to his or her professional judgment 2000 RU 486 approved / first 7 weeks of pg

12 Reproductive Technologies skip

13 Varieties of Intimate Relationships Heterosexual marriages Historically: contract specified a wife’s obligations housework, comply with husband’s requests for sex. Husband to support his wife – how much was up to him Husband had all decision making authority

14 Marriage cont. Today: rules in most states still imply a lesser status for women in marriage Men retain the right to decide domicile Power in marriage hinges on income The more she contributes in income the more power she will have Those who embrace traditional roles will let him have the power/decision making Some women became more powerful in marriage when they were able to quit low paying jobs and have husbands that respected housework Even in equal marriages, she will avoid offending, or upsetting her spouse, accommodate his needs and desires, and adjust her schedule to his.

15 Gender and housework: Who does what? Women still do at least twice as much housework as men (2000) even if she works outside the home Women’s second shift (Hochschild) Housework devalued Even the most egalitarian couples will not do equal housework when they have children.

16 caregiving Birth of a child increases stress and lowers marital satisfaction Women still do most of the caretaking New fathers who share equally are still relatively rare lowest involvement is under 18 months, greatest involvement Men mainly focused on recreation and academics Some men claim to do tasks equally, but the wife has to ask Women also do more mental work, seeking advise and information/worrying

17 caregiving Men argue that they are immersed in breadwinning and cannot fully participate Companies expect men to stay on the job despite the family and medical leave act. In lower socioeconomic strata, men and women share childcare as she must work and they can work out a schedule (opposite shifts) Professional jobs he has little shift flexibility and they have money for childcare

18 caregiving Women as kinkeepers: taking care of kids and relatives Women are denied personal autonomy Housework can wait, but children’s needs are immediate Midlife opportunities may not be exercised due to grandchildren, parents Most studies show that women take care of elderly parents (1 study showed men and women requested time off from work to take care of elderly parent Brother’s of sister’s do less caretaking than brother’s of brothers

19 Single parent families: 82% of children in single parent households live with their mothers 79% W, 90% B, 84% L 28% of families with dependent children Single childbearing, divorce, death of spouse Today 50% of couples divorce within 7.2 years of pronouncing their wedding vows

20 divorce Pre industrial revolution: children awarded legal custody of kids Post ir: tender years presumption: young children need to be with mother Today: joint legal custody: equal decision making authority Joint physical custody: live in both homes, equal responsibility for child care and financial support All in the best interest of the child Women experience downward social mobility Lower wages, welfare cuts, only 52% of father’s pay child support-> feminization of poverty Bane: Often new poor, driven by the event (divorce)

21 divorce Upper middle class/wealthy women experience a drop in income but may not become poor (education, wealth, income) Bane: Reshuffled poverty is when low income families break up and the women and kids form a new poor family Some claim the female headed family more pathological (crime, abuse, dysfunctional) Other find 2 parent families have the same problems

22 divorce Emotional consequences: women higher stress before dissolution/men lower level of awareness, but women seem to adjust better Women with dependent children, especially with kids under age 6, express higher rates of depression due to financial issues. Asian females experience depression and isolation as a divorce is seen as her failure and in sharp contrast to traditional expectations. Isolated as she is feared to seduce married men, or as she is feared a bad influence on other women. Men are about 1.5 time more likely to remarry – benefit more from marriage than women and it is easier to get back into circulation as they are not constrained by kids,

23 Singles and Domestic Partnerships Heterosexual singles and domestic partners Stereotypes Swinging bachelor Old maid The majority marry, only they are marrying later Why delay marriage? Single hood seen as more positive, hi divorce rates, DV, birth control, financial constraints-want financial security before they commit. Today, contrary to the past, women with education and socioeconomic status are more likely to marry

24 Singles and Domestic Partnerships Heterosexual singles and domestic partners Some can’t find suitable partner due to disability More black women unmarried due to mortality rates of black men, high imprisonment rate, low economic status of black men

25 Singles and Domestic Partnerships Heterosexual singles and domestic partners Domestic partnership=cohabiting relationship between intimate partners not married to each other 1999 about 4.5 mill = 9% of all couples Most dp are relatively short-half end in a year or less Most are childless or do not have children under 15 (currently 33.5% have kids under 15) Most who want kids will marry first Those who conceive unintentionally are more likely to get married Why the increase: economic constraints, more liberal view, divorced parents Some state allow a registration process, may dp have difficulties when they break up or when one dies.

26 Gay and Lesbian Singles and Domestic Partners There is no uniform homosexual lifestyle Have enduring intimate relationships Are as happy in their relationships as heterosexuals Women typically place a higher value on emotional expressiveness Gays and lesbians value equality Gays men less supportive of monogamy Break up rates 10+ 6% L, 4 %G, 4% married H Often a homosexual relationship that beaks up becomes life-long friendship

27 Gay and Lesbian Singles and Domestic Partners Many can officially register Courts have ruled for the family of affinity rather that for the family of origin (Thompson and Kowalski) Many states will not give a homosexual parent custody of a child, or will not allow adoption (90% of pedophiles are heterosexual) Children of gays and lesbians are well adjusted, more accepting of other lifestyles, and no more likely to become homosexual than other kids Many lesbian families have less conflict and more agreement about parenting issues Elder care for homosexuals can be problematic due to neglect or abuse in facilities. Many have no kids and were rejected by families. Care facilities in some large cities just for homosexuals-but cost prohibitive

28 Violence in Families and Intimate Relationships Human Options


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