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AS Unit 1 Acquiring Culture; Family and Culture Week 5: Conjugal Roles.

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Presentation on theme: "AS Unit 1 Acquiring Culture; Family and Culture Week 5: Conjugal Roles."— Presentation transcript:

1 AS Unit 1 Acquiring Culture; Family and Culture Week 5: Conjugal Roles

2 Family and Culture Week 52 Objectives Have viewed this slide show you should be aware of: The changing roles perspective suggesting a growth of the companionate conjugal couple. The impact of employment and unemployment upon the division of labour. How women still undertake the bulk of domestic tasks. How technology and living standards are impacting upon roles. How power and authority relations still operate in ways that benefit men. Ideas of the 'triple shift' through recognition of emotion work.

3 Family and Culture Week 53 Introduction Housework and care-work are still predominantly female tasks 9 out of 10 women who work full- time undertake most household chores (Top Sante magazine) However, this bleak picture is slowly improving.

4 Family and Culture Week 54 ‘Changing Roles Perspective’ The changing rôles perspective assumes a gradual sharing of gender rôles within the family. The most famous advocates are Willmott and Young (1973) who talk of movement towards the ‘symmetrical family’. Symmetry describes a ‘sense of balance’ between the duties of the male and female. Men more domestic Men more domestic Women as breadwinners Women as breadwinners Couples are companionate Couples are companionate

5 Family and Culture Week 55 Evidence for Changing Roles In addition, in recent years there has been an acceptance of the interchangeability of roles. 7 out of 10 women of working age now have jobs, and half of mothers with children aged under five are in work. A surprising 36% of couples say that the man is the main carer (Equal Opportunities Commission)

6 Family and Culture Week 56 Economically-Active Mothers Paid employment would seem to empower women within the family. On average, the more hours a woman is employed outside the home, the more domestic work appears to be shared. With many women working unsocial hours (evenings or weekends), men are increasingly having to care for their children.

7 Family and Culture Week 57 Technology and Living Standards If men’s contribution is limited, the burden of domestic tasks on women is being lessened by other factors: Online delivery of shopping is time and labour saving especially to women. Technologies such as microwaves, freezers and processed food saves time. Dining out and take-away food frees women from cooking and washing up.

8 Family and Culture Week 58 Other Factors That Promote Changing Roles Coltrane and Ishii-Kuntz (1992) found delayed childbirth caused husbands to do slightly more housework. This may be linked to the fact that women who have careers often delay having children Studies of cohabitating couples suggest that they are more equal than married couples. Rising living standards mean families may employ cleaners, nannies, au pairs etc. to do domestic tasks.

9 Family and Culture Week 59 Evidence Against Changing Roles

10 Family and Culture Week 510 Division of Work by Hours MenWomen Cooking meals Cleaning Washing/ironing Childcare Shopping Washing up Gardening3.02.0

11 Family and Culture Week 511 Dual-career Families Brayfield (1992) found even in dual career families women had major responsibility for domestic tasks. Rapoport and Rapoport (1970) found that career women were still viewed by partners and children as “wives and mothers”. ‘Just because couples do things jointly, this does not mean that they doing things equally’ (Ann Oakley). In addition, so long as men participating in domestic tasks are doing so to "help their wives" they are doing it for the wrong reason.

12 Family and Culture Week 512 Women’s Lack of Leisure Time Women have considerably less leisure and free-time because of domestic work burden. David Morley (1992) says: ‘women see the home as a place of work, men a place of leisure’. Arlie Hochschild (1990) found full- time working women spent 3 hours a day doing housework whilst their husbands spend the equivalent of 17 minutes. This translates into 15 fewer hours of leisure per week. This translates into 15 fewer hours of leisure per week.

13 Family and Culture Week 513 Housework Housework is viewed traditionally as : “women’s work”. It is assumed that women are somehow naturally better at doing housework. There is even the assumption that women should enjoy it and be fulfilled by it. This image came from a recent Tesco’s magazine inviting women to throw themselves into spring cleaning

14 Family and Culture Week 514 Ann Oakley Ann Oakley (1974) was the first feminist sociologist to seriously examine housework. Using a sample of 40 housewives she found they were as alienated by their work as factory workers. They adopted similar coping strategies as factory workers. But far from encouraging a sense of sisterhood, women competed with each other to be good housewives.

15 Family and Culture Week 515 Social Factors on Housework Mansfield and Collard (1989) studied newly- weds, and found limited evidence of symmetry amongst younger couples. There does not seem to be a noticeable difference in division of labour according to social class. Sallie Westwood in her study of hosiery workers felt Asian conjugal roles were very asymmetrical. However, care must be made to avoid sweeping stereotypes.

16 Family and Culture Week 516 Emotion Work: ‘Triple Shift’ Anthony Giddens (1992) women are increasingly seeking a ‘haven in a heartless world’ through greater emotional and sexual openness. Mansfield and Collard (1989) found the newly-married wives were deeply disappointed with the lack of emotional reciprocity in their marriages. Duncombe and Marsdsen (1993) interviewed 40 white couples who had been married 15 years and found women typically experienced what they termed an ‘emotional loneliness’.

17 Family and Culture Week 517 Economic Influences Some researchers have wondered if male unemployment influences male participation in the home. McKee and Bell (1984), unemployed young men did even less domestic work than when they were in work. Lydia Morris (1985) found from her sample that roles were subject to 're-negotiated' following male unemployment. Jane Wheelock found that male unemployment did lead to positive changes in gender roles.

18 Family and Culture Week 518 Power and Authority Stephen Edgell (1980) sees decision-making as unequal, with men making important decisions. Jessie Bernard talks of ‘his and hers’ marriage to reflect the power imbalance that exists. Christine Delphy coined the phrase ‘differential consumption’ to reflect the power of men: women have less personal money.

19 Family and Culture Week 519 Conclusions There is evidence to support the 'changing roles' hypothesis. It would appear that women’s economic work is a key factor in promoting equality in the conjugal roles. ‘New man’ is more caring and supportive, but there is limited evidence to support his existence. However, women still undertake an unfair bulk of domestic tasks. Oakley argues that many sociological studies of ‘equality’ in marriage start from the assumption that cooking, cleaning and childcare are somehow ‘women’s work anyway’.

20 Family and Culture Week 520 Conclusions (continued) Feminists see this gender inequality of domestic work as stemming from a power imbalance. In addition, while couples may do things ‘jointly’, this does not necessarily mean that they do things ‘equally’. There is a clear imbalance in the quality and amount of leisure time female partners have. Male power and authority is reflected in patriarchal elements of the family. These include decision-making, differential consumption and financial management.

21 End of Presentation


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