Sociology Couples and Equality Paper

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Sociology – Using material item B and elsewhere, assess the view that roles and relationships among couples are becoming more equal. To assess equality between couple's roles within a family over time we must comprehend power distribution and human psychology that exists within a couple's relationship. We must do this in order to understand why each role has been distributed between the two partners the male and the female. And henceforth between comparison of older studies and newer studies we can derive a pattern of progression or regression in the equality among couples. One of the roles that have been distributed between couples is household chores. Ann Oakley, a feminist (1975) came to the understanding that the housewife, a socialised role, was created by industrialisation. She discovered this when she researched middle and working class couples and their scale of equality; working class participants had less equality on average compared to middle class participants. This occurred as the higher the class the higher you are in the power hierarchy and those with power had the ability to make a better life for themselves and the people they cared about. The better the life the healthier the relationship, caused by positive and cooler mind sets, which then leads on to joint conjugal roles where neither partner wants to upset the happiness that exists between them. Also in the higher classes friendship circles are very close were all the husbands would socialise together and so would the wife's leading to joint conjugal roles Bott (1957). The working class participants as mentioned before had little equality even though the men could make the difference by refreshing otherwise standard attitudes of ignorance and influence of “the housewife”. The housewife being the idea that childcare and housework are defined as female roles (Item B). The power hierarchy triangle , using my chained analysis, can be used as a life standard scale then also a healthy relationship scale then furthermore an equality scale were on average there is small equality. To criticise Ann Oakley she did not assess the difficulty of paid work for men in those times as men did have to endure a large amount of responsibility when undergoing mental and physical tasks, when using emotional influence to excel their career and to say the least making sure his family didn’t end up on the streets (welfare and benefits were minuscule). This research if done could tip the scales of equality in this era. Also in those times women didn't expect to be treated equally the idea of the housewife was passed down from mother to daughter in order for their daughter and her children after to be able to excel in the class system. So can we really criticise the inequality that men created if the teaching of being the housewife were being passed down by women. Newer studies of the household chore from the British social attitudes survey (1997) showed an increase in the equality between husband and wife where men would contribute to domestic work; march of progress. But all the same the men are still the minority when it comes to the most responsible figure in the household. Which suggests the ideology of the housewife is still present and so the symmetrical family is still an idea society is fighting for; old habits die hard. In comparison of both research studies I see that the idea of the housewife is still present hindering the chances of equality/the symmetrical family. But equality between couples has developed/progressed as we see men are taking part in more domestic work/household chores. The second type of role that takes part within the family is childcare. Boulton (1983) wrote a book “On Being a Mother” and it discusses how men do look after the children but in their own benefits and didn't actually take primary responsibility. In example a mother would need help looking after the children as she had a huge amount of domestic work to tend to so the father would take...
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