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Feminist Family Theory

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By hwanlee
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Feminist Family Theory Feminist family theory has its roots in the feminist movement. Feminism can be defined as the search for rights, opportunities, and identities women believe they deserve (Thomas 2000). Feminism in the United States might be said to have begun with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony fought for the right to vote, a battle that was not won until ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.
Often we see that several extreme philosophies are presented, and after a time, a middle ground is reached that incorporates elements of each philosophy but is not as extreme as any individual one. This is also the case with feminism. By the 1980s, the distinctions among the feminist branches melted away. Feminists focused on issues related to women’s second-class status in society and in families, reproductive rights, discrimination faced in the workplace, and how a gendered society affects the socialization of women.
In the 1960s, one of the dominant theories of the family was structural functionalism. Structural functionalists proposed that roles in families should be divided in a “natural” way, generally based on sex. They proposed that families functioned best when men did the instrumental tasks of earning money and providing for basic needs, and women did expressive tasks of caretaking for family members. In 1972, sociologist Jessie Bernard wrote The Future of Marriage, in which she contradicted this perspective on marriage. Bernard found that there were two marriages, his and hers, and that his was better than hers. This finding was in direct opposition to the ideas presented in structural-functional theory.
Based on the work of Bernard and others, feminist family theorists began to consider status in families, causing them to analyze how males dominate family power, both...

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