Final Exam

Final Exam - Palmer 1 Charlotte Palmer Sociology 3AC Reader...

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Charlotte Palmer Sociology 3AC Reader Group 3, Brian 5/18/09 Essay #1: Families in Post-Industrial U.S. Post industiral society has had a great impact on families in the U.S, especially affectin g gender roles, the balance of power within marital couples and the necessity of marriage as a guarantor of the material-well being of women, mothers and children. The diminishing earnining advantages for male workers over women has influenced th e gender roles in families, as women are starting to become more independent. In Kristen Luk er’s article Dubious Conceptions, she says “even as the cultural meaning of “husband” and “w ife” are shifting, men and women are expected to work in the paid labor force for much of thei r adult lives. Although there are still “men’s jobs” and “women’s jobs,” one can no longer aut omatically assume that the former are better paid and more secure than the latter,” (Luker, p. 2 57). Men have traditionally been considered the “bread-winner,” as they were the ones brining in money to support the family. Women, on the other hand, usually stayed at home to take car e of the children and household chores. However, in post-industrial society, women have start ed working more, causing the molds of traditional gender roles to steadily started breaking. As illustrated by Luker, it no longer holds ture to assume that women are making less money than men. This causes a significant shift in the gender roles of women, as they start generating their own income to be able to support themselves and provide their own security, rather than relyin g on men. Palmer 1
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These gender roles also play a part in the balance of power within marital couples. As described by Stephanie Coontz in The Way We Really Were, “ research shows that men are ha ppiest in a relationship when they don’t have to do much housework and yet meals get made c lothes get ironed and the house looks good” (Coontz, p. 19). Tradtionallly men have had the m ost power in marriages, as it was their “gender role” to make the money to support their famili y and provide security. In the 1950’s, “family life and gender roles became much predictable, orderly and settled…than they had been either twenty years earlier or would be twenty years l ater” (Coontz, p.36). Men were expected to hold the power in marriages, because it was a part of their gender role to work outside of the home to make money. After World War II, women chose to quit their jobs as soon as they became pregnan to “specialized in child raising” (Coon tz, p.36). However, in post-industrial society, women are starting to work more, and have aqcu ired technical skills in the work force that allow them to to be less dependent on the security p rovided my their husbands. Along with this increase of working wives comes a shift in the bal ance of power within married couples, because men are no longer the sole source of income. T he balance of power in a marriage is directly related to the individual’s income, political powe
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Final Exam - Palmer 1 Charlotte Palmer Sociology 3AC Reader...

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