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SOC206 Study Guide - Final Guide: Hilary Swank, Sexualization, Domestic Violence

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Sociology 206 Final Exam Study Notes
Chapter 6 The Gendered Family
The nuclear family consisting of breadwinner father, stay-at-home mother and
their biological children (small number) who live in their own separate residence
(Leave It to Beaver) has been invoked as the ideal family model in highly
industrialized societies like the United States and Canada.
What is wrong with this Model?
1. History (First Nations – clans, rural families, industrialization, the 1950s and
1960s, economic recessions) – nuclear family formations historically specific
2. Statistics – nuclear family model is a rarity
3. Gender Equality: Marriage increases gender inequality
4. Separate Spheres Ideology – Family Values
5. Since the 1960s a majority of women are in the paid labour force
6. Middle Class Bias – Issue of Poverty
7. Working Class Women have always been in the paid labour force
8. Breadwinner Model is problematic
9. Divorce and Remarriage – Lone Parent Families (feminization of poverty)
Discussions of the traditional family often ignore the many changes in the basic
institution over the course of human history. What we call traditional may in fact
be a very recent construction
Defining Family
“The Vanier Institute of the Family defines family as any combination of two or more
persons who are bound together over time by ties of mutual consent, birth and/or
adoption or placement and who, together, assume responsibilities for variant
combinations of some of the following:
Physical maintenance and care of group members
Addition of new members through procreation or adoption
Socialization of children
Social control of members
Production, consumption, distribution of goods and services, and
Affective nurturance – “love”
Basic Facts about Canadian Families
Married couples with children at home- 39%
Married couples without children at home- 30%
Common-law couples with children at home- 7%
Common-law couples without children at home- 9%
Lone-parent families- 16%
One cause of decline in marital happiness is children. Couples who remain
childless report higher levels of marital satisfaction than do those with children
Husbands begin to feel better about their marriages once their children turn 18 but
wives don’t fell better about their marriages until after the children leave home
Older couples are generally more satisfied with their marriages especially if both
partners are retired
Some Statistics
The average age of women who marry for the first time is 28.5 years (2003).
Quebec has the highest age at 30.4.
The average age of men who marry for the first time is 30.6 years (2003). Quebec
has the highest age at 31.9.
Of those couples that married in 2004, 37.9% of marriages are expected to end in
divorce before their 30th anniversary.
Canada has a lower fertility rate (1.53) than the U.K. (1.76) or the U.S. (2.05) -
Census Data 2011
More diverse family portraits emerging
Immigrant influx increases number of multigenerational households
More one-couple households (27.6%) than couple households with children aged
24 or younger (26.5%)
More one-person households
Women aged 65 and over more likely to live alone
Married couple families less common: 67% in 2011 compared to 70.5% in 2001
Blended families represent 12.6% of all families compared to 87.4% traditional
families (2 parents with biological/adopted children)
Same-sex marriages counted for first time but mix up – overestimated by
including people of same gender splitting rent (oil patch) – room mates
Stats Canada indicated same-sex marriages tripled between 2006 and 2011
Defining “The Family”
Traditional family defined as husband and wife living in their own household with
a small number (two) of their own biological children (Leave It To Beaver sitcom)
nuclear family household
The 2011 Census reveals at least 8 different categories
At its most basic level, Statistics Canada defines a family as a couple – with or
without children, married or common-law – or a lone parent with at least one
child in the same house.”
Skip-generation families, intact families, simple stepfamilies, complex
stepfamilies, opposite-sex families and same-sex families
In the 1990s cohabitation in Canada and the U.S. rose.
Quebec has one of the highest rates of cohabitation in the world. While in 2001,
Canada overall had a rate of 16% of all couples, Quebec had 29.8%. The rate in
the U.S. was 8.2%. Sweden had the highest rate at 30%.
Couples who cohabit before marriage tend to divorce more.
Who Benefits from Marriage?
Research indicates that men tend to benefit more than women. The scores of well
being for men are higher than those of divorced and single men while the
difference is not so great for women.
By mid-life the scores of single women are more positive than those of married
Paid and Unpaid Housework
Lone parent females 25-44 working full time: 10.9 hours
Married male parent working full time: 10.6 hours
Married female working full time: 10.5 hours
The difference between the last two is 6 minutes per day
Of the latter two, husbands worked an average of 7.4 hours per day at paid work
while wives worked 5.6 hours.
Men’s work and womens work were separate but occurred within the same
spaces and times, complementing one another
In pre-industrial Canada fathers and mothers were both involved in child-rearing
thought mothers undoubtedly did the lions share, fathers took over more
responsibility as the children grew
Experience separation of spheres; family life was wrenched apart from the world
or work and the workplace and the home clearly demarcated as his and hers
Men experienced this separation in two ways: the first for most men work shifted
from home and farm to mill and factory, shop, and office; work now became
synonymous with paid labour which would have implications for both men and
women. Second mens share of the work around the home was gradually
industrialized and eliminated as such tasks as fuel gathering, leather working and
grain processing shifted to the external world. This liberated men to exit their
homes and leave the rearing of both sons and daughters to their wives
Domestic labour was now known as housework and associated with women
Men’s liberation from the home was also an exile. Critics were complaining that
men spent too little time at home
In Canada, during the 1800s and well into the twentieth century, many families
were sustained not by a male breadwinner but by the pooled earning of men,
women, and children
Poverty: Food Insecurity
Food insecurity among Canadian households with children (2004):
Canada, all households with children: 10%
Lone-parent households: 23%
Couple-led households: 8%
With children 6 years or younger: 13%
With 3 or more children: 15%
Structural Functionalism: Parsons and Bales