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SOSC 1350 Study Guide - Coverture, Child Custody, Parenting

Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 1350
Julie Dowsett

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A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four
pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she
never did care for pie.
—Tenneva Jordan
1. The Family as Socially Constructed
-women are no longer part of men’s property and liberal feminist state that it is a positive
a. societal standards for a “good mother” vis-a-vis a
“good father”
-mothering and fathering are about parenting
-Mothering and fathering are very different (like good mother or unfit mother)
-Mothering, is a wide variety of behavior, for “good fathers” they are associated with the
role of providing for the family
-Fathering a child is just the creation of the child (sperm and egg) for mothers, its more
b. the ideology of (white, middle-class, heterosexual)
-generally the importance of mothers changes in the political and economic conditions
-Child rearing is part of a women’s identity
-Women’s labour outside the home is required then its not emphasized but if labour
outside home is not required then it is emphasized
-For economic standards, both parents work to have a middle class life style
-The ideology of motherhood is the primary role, and more of an idea of motherhood (by
only giving birth to a child, can a women achieve her destiny or her full potential, and
achieve their meaning in life)
-The “self-less” mother is usually someone who puts others before herself (puts her needs
aside and puts her family first)
-A mother as a “keeper of hearth (fireplace) and heart”
-A “labour of love” (basically to love labour)
-Those who choose not to have children are seen as unnatural or selfish and those fathers
who don’t want children are not seen as unnatural or selfish
-Ideology motherhood are usually heterosexual women, therefore those who are lesbian
are seen as unfit mothers
-Mothers are blamed for many problems
-Feminist studies continue to be held responsible for any disorder of their child (bed
wetting, learning problems etc)
-Employed mothers continue to be scolded for not spending enough time with their
-Children are not negatively affected by their mothers employment, and those children in
daycare can develop social skills and etc, and sons are likely to not have stereotypes of

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-Only children of specific mothers are seen of value therefore, those who are aboriginal,
the poor, and women of colour are viewed as valueless
-precentantly, been a redrick, that the poor have too many children and that working class
and racetionalized women are seen as bad mothers **
2. Marriage and Property
a. Blackstone on coverture
-blackstone reading, is the laws of England, much more influenced in Canada and US then
in England
-Coverture developed in the late 1500s, also connects to capitalism (changes to production
in England), Conventure, the husband is considered as the lord, and both were viewed as
one person, and the husband is usually the main individual and women is just “part” of it
-^ husband has the right to give the “power of correction”
-Domestic violence is allowed as long as he “corrects his wife” therefore it Is okay for the
husband for violence
b. Engels on marriage turning women into property
- Engels would state that women are seen as property
- Marriage turns women into property and wives become property to the husband
- Women for Engels, are exchanged between men (like in the wedding, fathers “give away” their
daughters to the husbands)
- Engels argued that wives are seen as sex worker or prostitute, like the sex worker, money is
exchanged for sex
- Capitalism turns women into commodities (exchange of money)
c. the “unity doctrine” in Canadian law
-Unity doctrine is the legal understanding of marriage in Canada, it is the updated version of
coverture (both become one person, and usually the husband is the “person” and women loses
her womanhood, and just an extention of the husband, in other words, women have the same
legal status of those who cannot take care of themselves)
- So if women owned property, it all belonged to the husband and left women vulnerable
- Canadian law, husbands are able to leave their wives and children, and still have power over
3. Early Industrial Capitalism and Marriage/Divorce Law
a. Ontario Married Women’s Property Act (1884)
-started in 1800s
-Feminization of property became visible in cities
-Feminists and reformers, legislation that will make men support women
-Introduced act women who got married, would not lose their property (both spouses can
have and dispose property)
b. Ontario Deserted Wives’ Maintenance Act (1888)
-first time a legal obligation offered separation for heterosexual couples
-Did not apply to married couples until WWII
c. Federal Marriage and Divorce Act (1925)
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