Textbook/Lecture NotesChapter 15: Families2
•A lot of middle class women were trapped by “Orgy of domesticity” = devoting increased
attention to child rearing and housework.
•However, During this time (1940s-1990s), there was actually a DECLINE of nuclear family
shown by trends in divorce rate, marriage, child bearing.
divorce rate rose slowly, the marriage rate and total fertility rate fell.
More women started to work.
•Fertility rate is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her
lifetime if she had the same number of children as women in each age cohort in a given year.
Conflict and Feminist Theories
•many men and women felt coerced into getting married, trapped in their families, unable to
achieve the harmony, security, and emotional satisfaction they had been promised.
•Most women didn't want to leave their jobs during the second world war, they liked working,
they felt independent and they liked the praises.
•After, a lot of women became depressed, and were less satisfied with marriage than husbands
•Friedrich Engels (Marx' friend), argued that the traditional nuclear family emerged along with
inequalities of wealth (wealth passed onto the first son). Only the elimination of private
property and the creation of economic equality – communism – can bring an end to the
traditional nuclear family and mark the arrival of gender equality.
•However, gender inequalities exist in both communism and capitalism.. so communism is a fail.
•Patriarchy also adds to gender inequality.
•Nuclear family: wealth is given to the eldest son concentrates wealth.
Power and Families
Love and Mate Selection
•Now marriages are based on love. Before, and even now in some cultures, love isn't a
prerequisite for a successful marital union.
•Love-marriage first gained currency in 18th century England with the rise of liberalism and
individualism. However, the actual love-marriage only emerged in the early 19th century after
Hollywood and advertising industry begin to promote self-gratification on a grand scale.
•Only 3.5% US male students said they would marry someone they don't love even if the other
person has all the qualities they desire.
•However, love alone doesn't determine mate selection in our society. Three sets of social forces
influence who you are likely to fall in love with and marry
Marriage resources (financial assets, status, values, tastes and knowledge)
Demographic and compositional factors (whom you fall in love with and choose to marry is
determined partly by the size, geographical dispersion, and sex ratio of the groups you
belong to, and the social composition of the local marriage markets you frequent. The larger
your group is, the more likely you are to marry someone of your own group.)
•Endogamy: marrying within your own social group. Encouraged by certain religions.