How Family Structure And Gender Roles Have Changed Essay

1397 Words Nov 1st, 2015 6 Pages
The term ‘symmetrical family’ refers to the idea that gender roles have become exactly that; symmetrical. That with time & equality between the sexes (referred to as the ‘march of progress’), the responsibilities that the genders previously held, have now been spread out evenly. Many sociologists have looked at this theory, each with different & often conflicting views. I will explore each aspect of the term ‘symmetrical family’ & the different perspectives that sociologists have. But to do this I must assess what has changed over the course of time & look at how family structure & gender roles have changed.
To begin, I must first explain that in the past, most household chores were divided between husband & wife. In 1955, functionalist; Talcott Parsons identified that in a traditional nuclear family, men & women had separate & fixed roles. He said that a man’s role was instrumental, meaning his responsibilities were to thrive in the workplace, as to be able to provide for his family (be the breadwinner). Whereas the females role was expressive, her role was to include more emotional type work, such as childrearing, looking after the household & generally providing emotional support to the whole family.
Parsons argued that these roles were in place due to biological factors. He said, much to the horror of feminists everywhere, that men were better suited to the harder, more important roles, such as earning, whilst the more nurturing roles were more apt to females.
A few…

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