The Feminist Family Theory

The Feminist Family Theory




The Feminist Family Theory

The ninth chapter, the Feminist Family Theory, teaches on the feministic perspective of the family and the role the family plays in developing and addressing feministic issues. The family as the basic social unit has been used in numerous past studies trying to understand feminism. Equally, there have been numerous changes in feministic goals in the society over the years. The family is integrated as an important variable that has influenced the changes. The chapter argues that the feminine gender had been discriminated systematically with the family being the lowest social unit where discrimination is felt. According to the authors, the Feministic Family Theory is radical in nature as it encompasses both capitalist and patriarch instruments of emasculation. The family is the central function that maintains the structure of capitalist oppression of women by men.

Most families in the society are not matriarchal as the male dominates the female and child in the basic social unit (Smith & Hamon, 2012). The man’s position is responsible for final decision-making and determines the type of work done by members of the family. The triple shift and dual burden concept as employed in the chapter converses on the nature of women to seek outside employment while simultaneously undertaking numerous household tasks. Moreover, women provide emotional support for the male figure who winds up cognitive thoughts more efficiently after coitus. The role of women under the household context lies within predominant andocentric theories (Smith & Hamon, 2012). Feminists normally focus on the negative depiction of the family ignoring the facts that women also enjoy the satisfaction that comes with a running family and watching the growth events of their children.

The Feminist Family Theory argues against the Functionalist Theory claiming that it is overstated in its description of family stability and harmony. The Functionalist theory places the family as the integral part in the establishment of social stability. The Feminist family Theory negates this perspective by adding the conflict variable that exists within the nuclear family. The Functionalist theory is a protection of the traditional family whose reality is often abusive to the female gender (Smith & Hamon, 2012). The chapter teaches that the gender and socialization functions within the nuclear family disadvantages women. The socialization process entailed in the nuclear family encourages women to accept the traditional gender roles that add on their discrimination and oppression. The socialization process can be changed through improvements in education and employment opportunities given to the feminine gender (Smith & Hamon, 2012).

The ninth chapter gives an accurate description of the relationship between family and feminism. The family as the basic social unit does promote female oppression in the society through socialization processes. Within the nuclear unit, women accept the traditional division of gender roles and position. The article though is inaccurate in its failure to incorporate the concept of time as it focuses moistly on the traditional family unit. The modern society has various forms of feminism each influenced by divergent factors and having distinct characteristics. Liberal feminism argues on the use of the socialization process as means of reducing oppression. This is a contrast of the Feminist Family Theory. Irrespective of whether the family is modern or traditional, the society that it exists in is characterized by high levels of dynamicity. This puts feminism equally as a dynamic campaign. Modern feminism places more emphasis on culture, race, and education as vital components of addressing its concerns.




Smith, S. R., & Hamon, R. R. (2012). Exploring family theories. New York: Oxford University Press.

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