Discussion of the Extent to Which Families Have Become Symmetrical

Discussion of the Extent to Which Families Have Become Symmetrical

Length: 699 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Discussion of the Extent to Which Families Have Become Symmetrical
The idea of the Symmetrical family is that of Willmott and Young
following their research into family life in London. They found that
the symmetrical family consists of a nuclear family that have become
separated from their extended kin, the husband plays a bigger part in
family life, the conjugal bond is strong and the family is home
centred. Conjugal roles are similar in terms of contribution although
there is still the divide of "men's and women's work" and the conjugal
roles are not interchangeable although each spouse contributes equally
to the running of the household.

The rise of the Symmetrical Family can be attributed to many factors.
There is less need to rely on extended family due to the welfare
state, higher wages and less unemployment; there are more employment
opportunities for women leading to shared financial responsibility;
there are fewer children therefore enabling the wife to work; better
living conditions mean the home is more attractive to the husband; in
working class families the tedious nature of jobs leads members of the
family to be more 'home-centred' rather than 'work-centred' like the

Despite all the reasons for the rise of the symmetrical family, many
sociologists (particularly female) argue that the extent to which
families are symmetrical has been greatly exaggerated. Anne Oakley for
example found that Willmott and Young used inadequate methodology in
their research producing results which do not give an accurate picture
of the family, her own research gives a contrasting image of conjugal
roles to that of Willmott and Young. Willmott and Young simply asked
one question to husbands in their research - "do you help with the
housework?", a 'yes' answer to this question would include men who do

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Discussion of the Extent to Which Families Have Become Symmetrical." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Jan 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Blessing of Blended Families Essay

- INTRODUCCION “…she learned that she was going to have a baby by God's Holy Spirit. Joseph decided to quietly call off the wedding…The angel said, "Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her.” Matthew 1:18-20 (CEV) No doubt that in today's society one of the issues that are often faced it is a high divorce rate, abandonment, single parent etc. and is very unfortunate that in a civilized society these situations are growing in a daily basis. Creating with these other type of situations known as Blended Families, and sometimes this reality it is very difficult to accept especially for those who have a conservative mindset because they think when those...   [tags: divorce, foundations, families]

Research Papers
700 words (2 pages)

Essay on Self Evaluation on Group Discussion

- The group discussion has just passed, and it was really a hard work and challenging. There were many precious lessons I got, and, hopefully, so did with my friends. Our group was consisting of four students. As a quantity, reasonably, we had had enough power to do a better work and gained a satisfying result. As I flashed back to the group discussion, it was enriching my memories. Some were in high spirit, remarkable and enjoyable. Opposite to it, few were disappointing. I still remembered that when we directed for the first meeting everyone was very enthusiastic and really keened to do it sooner....   [tags: Self Evaluations, Group Discussions, ]

Research Papers
672 words (1.9 pages)

Symmetrical Communication Essay

- Introduction This essay will argue for an extended role for dialogue and relational communication in public relations practice. The rhetorical turn that public relations has taken over the last ten years as well as the expanded role that public relations practitioners need to play as organizational counsellors is discussed. Several case studies are examined and used to support the arguments for an expanded role of public relations advocacy and management. Body Effective definition of symmetrical communication Grunig and Hunt (1984) defined symmetrical communication as” the management of communication between organizations and its publics” (p....   [tags: Business, Win-Win Solutions]

Research Papers
1385 words (4 pages)

Detailed Discussion of Families Docking Results and Drugs. Essay

- Estrogen receptor regulates gene expression on binding the steroid hormone estradiol. Ligands in this family are typically large, rigid molecules 2-3 polar groups, and easy to dock to. Perfect sampling and high scoring success is observed in almost all the 47 complexes in this family. Complexes with the native substrate include estradiol 1QKT, 1QKU, 1A52. Trypsin is a serine protease found in the small intestine. It has a highly charged binding site with a triad of three catalytic residues His57, Asp102 and Ser195....   [tags: Medical Science, argumentative, persuasive]

Research Papers
855 words (2.4 pages)

Assessment of the Claim that the Family Has Become Increasingly Symmetrical

- Assessment of the Claim that the Family Has Become Increasingly Symmetrical Many sociologists have different perspectives on whether or not the family has become increasingly symmetrical. Some sociologists such as Willmott and Young believe that the family does not consist of conjugal roles where the couple have separate roles, such as the women carrying out the expressive role and the male carrying out the instrumental role. Whereas there are other assumptions that have been made by other sociologists, such as Ann Oakley, a feminist, who believes that household roles are not joint, the cohabiting couple do not share household tasks like childcare and housework....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
965 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Attitudes Towards Same-sex Families

- It is a recent move for social scientists into the realm of same-sex studies including but not limited to same-sex health, marriage, and families. With evident growing popularity within national and international newspapers and television news casts, recent studies have proven to show that there is something to say about all three and the results are shocking to some, if not most. With there being so many social stigmas around what is means to be a homosexual, or in other terms, gay or lesbian, recent scholars have tried to find evidentiary support for or against these stigmas....   [tags: Gay Families Essays]

Research Papers
2475 words (7.1 pages)

Hip Hop Music is More Than a Couple of Words Essay

- Hip Hop music is more than just a couple of words that rhyme together; it's a culture, its spiritual movement that has helped people in various ways. Where it originated from is particularly among the African-American youth in Bronx, New York. DJ's in Bronx would isolate percussive breaks in popular songs and those genres of music were typically funk, disco, and soul records. Since those genres were relatively short, DJ's would use turn tables to extend and mix the beats which eventually formed a new genre of music known as hip hop....   [tags: culture, rhyme, symmetrical meaning ]

Research Papers
1014 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Families NOT the Source of All Evil

- Families NOT the Source of All Evil      According to Barbara Ehrenreich in “Are Families Dangerous?,” families are the most dangerous place to be, because of several reasons. First, for women the most unsafe place to be is inside her own home. This is because the people who love you the most are the ones who abuse and murder their loved ones. According to Charles Fourier, “the family is the barrier to human progress,” which leads me to believe that Ehrenreich is trying to portray the family as a downside to our society instead of a positive aspect of our lives....   [tags: Are Families Dangerous]

Free Essays
429 words (1.2 pages)

The Synchronization of the Genders within Families Essay

- Working women with families are often lead to inhabit several different lives all at once. In article “The Second Shift,” Arlie Hochschild discusses how women who have families and work are often subjected to having to stay a full time housewife along with their job, creating basically two sets of work, as the author calls it, the Second Shift. I think that the authors’s style of using many studies and examples helps to strengthen his points. Although he doesn’t directly express his opinion of the issue as much which weakens it to an extent but also helps to have the reader form their own opinion using the issues discussed....   [tags: Gender Roles]

Research Papers
1166 words (3.3 pages)

Euthanasia Discussion Essay

- Whose responsibility is it to decide when, where, and under what conditions a person is to die. This question inevitably brings up discussion of spirituality, beliefs, and legislation. Euthanasia is an idea that has been around for decades yet as we progress in technology and medical competency the discussion screams to be addressed formally by passing legislature. Euthanasia must be taken out of the hands of lawmakers and put into the hands of the thousands fatally ill patients trapped in their own bodies and/or minds....   [tags: Spirituality, Beliefs, Legislation]

Research Papers
1457 words (4.2 pages)

the washing up once a week, and men who help on a daily basis,
therefore the findings would show that more help is being given than
there actually is. Oakley's research was based on in depth interviews
with unemployed housewives and her findings do not agree with that of
Willmott and Young that the Symmetrical family is commonplace, this is
possibly due to the fact that Oakley asked women about conjugal roles
and Willmott and Young asked men, showing that the perception of who
does the household chores differs greatly between the sexes.

Oakley did find some evidence to support the claim of the Symmetrical
Family, in her results she found men are more likely to help with
childcare than they used to. However, according to the 1984 British
Sociology Attitudes Survey this help seems to be restricted only to
jobs the men actually enjoy such as playing with the children, Oakley
found that very few men were willing to undesirable jobs such as
change a dirty nappy. It would therefore appear that men can easily
negotiate their way out of chores they do not like; a society with the
ideology that women should be homemakers, makes it easier for them to
do so.

Employment opportunities for women have increased but this has had
little effect on conjugal roles according to Morris' research, she
believed this to be because of our overriding influence of gender role
socialisation. Women who earn a high wage still perform the majority
of household/childcare chores although the husband is more likely to
do some household chores if his wife also works. The stage in the
family lifecycle along with the wife being employed/unemployed are the
biggest factors influencing domestic division of labour.

The fact that women still tend to do the majority of all household
tasks backs up the theories of Marxist and Feminists who see women's
domestic labour as exploitation. Radical feminists see their
biological role of childbearing as the reason for oppression by men.
Patriarchal ideologies socialise women to accept their conjugal roles
- this exploitation can only be overcome by dissolving patriarchal
family structure. Marxists see the women's lack of economic power as
her oppression - she is the "slave of the wage slave" and will remain
so in a capitalist society.

Family ideology has different meanings in reality. In Morris' and
other surveys, partners agreed that tasks should be shared equally,
but in practice they were not. If women see housework and childcare as
their main role they will not want joint conjugal roles. The very
assumption that husbands "help" their wives with domestic chores
demonstrates that these jobs are seen as "women's work".

Conjugal roles are constructed by people's views as to how they should
behave. Until these views, as influenced by the media and other agents
of socialisation, change, conjugal roles will remain largely
segregated into male/female roles.

Willmott and Young's idea of a "Symmetrical Family" is accepted by
many as the ideology of today's family, however in reality the
ideology of joint conjugal roles rarely materialises. The caring
sharing "new man" has not emerged and conjugal roles remain primarily
divided. Although equality in marriage has greatly improved in terms
of joint decision making the actual day to day running of the
household remains largely segregated into "men's and women's work."
Return to 123HelpMe.com