Posted in AS Sociology: Family

Embodiment and gender

Marcel Mauss (1872-1950)

Culture – generated meanings from living together.

Ideologies become embedded into us which appear natural.

The social is expressed through the collective which becomes inscribed in the body.

Things that appear natural are not. Even simple things such as swimming are done differently in every culture.

Pierre Bourdieu – ‘The Peasant and his Body’

‘Habitus’ – the socially acquired embodied systems of dispositions history is turned into nature.

Gender – what does the way we act say about the embodiment of gender?

Iris Marion Young – Throwing like a Girl’

Strongly disagrees with Erwin Strauss who argues that girls and boys throw differently due to biology.

‘Every human existence is defined through its situation’ (Simone de Beauvoir). Femininity is a set of structures particular to a culture.

‘We feel as though we must have our attention directed upon our bodies to make sure they are doing what we wish them to do, rather than paying attention to what to do through our bodies’.

Women fail to make full use of spatial and lateral positions – sitting, standing etc.

Women are aware of being objectified (male gaze).

Gender scripts are very defined and hard to break – women who do try and break out of them are often publicly chastised and seen as a deviant. Famous female sports players such as the Williams sisters have often been denounced for being too masculine and it being unfair for the other female players!

Wonder Woman is a very good contemporary example of a more powerful representation of females which has been welcomed by many female audiences. However, the film still clearly sexualises the women – so have things changed that much?

How do these ideas link to the family topic?

Embodiment of gender scripts clearly relates to the feminist argument that patriarchal biological determinist arguments are unfounded. New Right and functionalists argue that it is natural for women to fulfill the expressive role but Young and Mauss in particular help explain why this is not the case. Women are socialised to be caring, to be feminine and gentle. There is nothing natural about it. There is no reason why men cannot be socialised in this way too and increasingly with the rise of the new man, it appears that this is already happening to some extent. Feminism has had a massive impact upon how British people view the roles within the family and without doubt, many males are happy to pursue a much more expressive role than their forefathers.

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Posted in AS Sociology: Family, GCSE Sociology

GCSE and AS Family: The kingdom of women: the society where a man is never the boss

“Imagine a society without fathers; without marriage (or divorce); one in which nuclear families don’t exist. Grandmother sits at the head of the table; her sons and daughters live with her, along with the children of those daughters, following the maternal bloodline. Men are little more than studs, sperm donors who inseminate women but have, more often than not, little involvement in their children’s upbringing…”

Read on: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/01/the-kingdom-of-women-the-tibetan-tribe-where-a-man-is-never-the-boss?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Email

 

Posted in GCSE Sociology

GCSE Family: Model answer

MODEL ANSWER: Explain the feminist view of the family (4 marks)

Feminists are critical of the family. They argue that the family has a negative impact on the lives of many women. Feminists argue the family is patriarchal.  This means that men benefit from the family whilst women often suffer.  For example, many women experience domestic violence within the family.  However, liberal feminists have noted that whilst there are still many improvements to be made, they have found that UK society is becoming more equal and that campaigns are raising awareness of issues such as domestic violence.  However, radical feminists believe that little has changed and that men still hold power in society and in the family.  Some radical feminists suggest political lesbianism as a solution to the patriarchal nature of the family.

Posted in AS Sociology: Family, GCSE Sociology

GCSE and AS Family: Men’s attitude to fatherhood influences child behaviour, says study

Avon longitudinal study of parents and children – a large-scale UK study that followed the health and development of thousands of children born in the early 1990s.

The study asked parents to complete questionnaires at various points in their child’s life. Among the surveys, mothers were asked to assess their child’s behaviour at nine and 11 years, with questions probing a variety of issues including the child’s attitudes towards other children, their tendency to restlessness, whether they were willing to share toys and their confidence in unfamiliar situations.

Fathers, meanwhile, were asked to complete questionnaires on their approach and feelings towards parenting both eight weeks and eight months after their child’s birth, with questions including how often they helped with housework, how confident they felt as a parent, and whether they enjoyed spending time with the baby. Answers were given on scales, and then totted up.

Looking at the results for more than 6,300 children who lived with both parents at least until eight months old, the researchers found that children whose fathers were more confident about being a parent, and who were more emotionally positive about the role, were less likely to show behavioural difficulties by the ages of nine and 11.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/nov/22/mens-attitude-to-fatherhood-influences-child-behaviour-says-study?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Email