Sociology of Families Research Paper

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This article talks about the way in which and the extent to which lesbians conduct their relationships in an egalitarian manner battling power imbalances and other inequalities that come their way. The author has conducted a study on lesbian relationships where interviews were conducted and information was gathered on the positive and negative aspects of their experiences. Lesbian women focus on equality be it economic power, the domestic sphere, emotional labour and career opportunities. The article highlights the absence of gender scripts that doesn’t restrict either partner from being who they are and do what they like. Au contraire, the existence of these gender scripts are the very reason heterosexual relationships become problematic and throws restrictions on women causing them to fall into prescribed roles. It illustrates clear differential features between heterosexual and homosexual relationships using experiences of women who have been in relationships with both men and women. It goes on to talk about the importance of economic independence and how lesbians recognize that their lifestyle requires them to be self-sufficient and makes financial dependency or dependency of any kind undesirable. This belief is extended towards unilateral house ownership, which is another source of a major power imbalance. Women feel more secure when they have their own apartment and their independence intact i.e. the choice to walk out of the relationship whenever you can. It leaves no room for dependency and makes them more self-reliant. The author also tries to demonstrate how sexuality itself fuels the ability of women to achieve success in their work sphere and to do so whilst managing a relationship and navigating through structural inequalities of power and to some extent, domination. The construction of lesbian relationships is based on the egalitarian model, which places emphasis on the equality of both partners. It is a crucial dimension in the functioning of lesbian relationships and longevity is contingent on the negotiation of a balance of power. This power balance is assisted by the absence of prescribed roles, which allows for more choices and reflection and evaluation by both partners to decide how they want their relationship to be. However, this is not the case with heterosexual relationships where gendered assumptions play a major role and there are set roles and expectations from both partners, which can’t be ignored. For example, men tend to not take much initiative towards carrying out domestic tasks making it the primary responsibility of a woman to cater to housekeeping. The author says economic power plays a significant role in determining how these set roles come to play. If a man has access to economic power, it reinforces his ability to behave superior and to dominate over a woman. This heterosexual role-play constrains the self-determination and freedom of women. This distinguishes heterosexual relationships from homosexual ones where there are no obligations to fill roles or to do something because it is expected out of the person. There may be no specific roles assigned to each partner but woman are conscious of the positive aspect of economic power wherein they feel independent and the negative aspect where the higher-earning partner tends to exercise greater control over the relationship. The author has made a good point here as no matter how loving the relationship may be or whether a person is materialistic or not, money matters at the end of the day and it does create room for one to dominate or to get dominated. When a man dominates over a woman, it is justified in heterosexual relationships because he is seen as the main ‘breadwinner’. Lesbian women who are outside this institutional heterosexuality see this situation as a clear imbalance of power due to the lack of an ideology that allows one to dominate the other. They want to be independent so a situation of domination doesn’t arise and even if...
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