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Lecture 9

WGST 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Wgst, Nuclear Family, Heterosexuality

Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
Jenny Janke

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The Family
Course Reminders
Course Quote Assignment
Due Nov 14th
Deadline Nov 21 in lecture
Late marks apply Nov 22
Key Terms
Nuclear Family
Traditional Nuclear Family
Extended Families
Modified Exttended Families
Census Families
Divorce Law
Five Functions of the Family
No Fault Dioe
New Family Law Reform Act
Second Shift
Same Sex Marriage
The family:
constituted by source of contention
important agent of socialization
leading role in shaping the way we understand the world
Why Look at Family Relationships
Media often emphasizes the problematic side of families (i.e. violent and broken relationships)
Yet, most Canadians:
Value their families
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Want to have and raise children
Want to have a stable romantic relationship
How do you understand the notion of a family?
What structures this view?
Fail life a poide opaioship, hilde, a sese of elogig, loe ad seual
epessio, pesoal deelopet, ad shaed esoues Bake , pp. 7
Not all family life provides these benefits
Some are unloving and potentially abusive
Role of the Government
Government requires the next generation of tax payers, consumers, workers and voters for the
As a result, they typically encourage heterosexual marriage and childbearing
Government and employers rely on families to have children, and socialize them into future
employees and law-abiding citizens
Family and intimate relationships are significant to the wide society and to the individual
Family Variations
The family is not a monolithic institution
The majority of the definitions focus on:
Legal obligation and family structures rather than love, or personal services
Most include parents with dependent children, or childless couple or those whose children have
left the home
Always includes a heterosexual couple; only recently has some include same-sex couples.
Some include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who share a dwelling
Definitions of Families
“tatistis Caadas Census Family married couples and cohabitants who have lived together
for more than 1 year, with or without never married children, or single parents living with never
married children
As of 2006, a couple can be opposite sex or same sex according to Census Family
Definitions of Families (Cont.)
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Household a term used by the Canadian government. Refers to people who share a
household dwelling (whether related or not).
A boarder would be considered apart of a household but maybe not apart of a family
Definitions: The Nuclear Family
Nuclear Family a husband, a wife and their children who share a common residence and co-
operating economically
Suggests that extended families were more prevalent before industrialization
Since the 1950s, sociologist and historians have found that nuclear families were more prevalent
in Europe and North America
Definitions: Extended Families
Despite the growth of nuclear families since the 1950s, extended families are still common
amongst certain cultural groups in Europe and North America (such as first nations, Southern
Europeans, some south and western Asians and low income families)
Extended Families several generations (which can include married siblings) and their children
share a residence and co-operate economically
Modified Extended Families several generations who live near each other and maintain a
close economic and social contact
Nuclear Family VS. Traditional Nuclear Family
Nuclear Family:
composed of a cohabiting man and woman
socially approved sexual relationship
have at least one child
Traditional Nuclear Family:
On top of a nuclear family, the wife performs free domestic labor while the husband
works outside for money.
Based on a gendered division of labor.
This form of family is in decline.
Traditional Nuclear Family
Traditional nuclear family is criticized as heteronormativity: a set of interrelated ides about the
traditional nuclear family
1) heterosexuality is normal and superior to homosexuality;
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