Theorists and sociologists have discussed the socialisation process of social identity and gender norms in different ways. 1960 seen large movements of different radical groups like anti-war movements of the Vietnam War, and movements of Women’s Liberation and free from oppression. During 1960, many ideal families traditionally consisted of the traditional ideal family, known as the nuclear family. This typically consisted of two parents of the other sex, happily married, while bearing one or more children. Contemporary gender norms can be closely linked to this. As the ideal family upheld traditional norms and value, it led to the socialisation of certain gender norms to be learned and be ascribed into an individual identity. This saw the beginning of the dominant ideology of patriarchy, as the idea of how gender socialisation conformed to a male-dominated social system. Further to this perspective of patriarchy, the social economics of capitalism has also forward contextual ideas of gender capitalism, of the power struggle between different genders, especially through education and workforce. (Haralambos and Holborn, pg. 464-467). This essay will discuss how these two social concepts patriarchy and capitalism are both equally responsible for contemporary gender norms in both traditional and modern societies. As society and time change, diversity has seen gender norms adapt to societal change, becoming less conventional and traditional. Contemporary gender norms are related to how gender stereotypes are depicted, usually through the socialisation process. These norms are learned at a very young age and contribute to how one will act and behaviour throughout an individual’s lifetime. These gender norms are usually based of traditional norms and values of a society and are fixed concept, meaning they usually do not change. However, due to the rise of feminism and more education based off these sociological issues, sociologist and feminist have changed in how these stereotypes are being learned. (Haralambos and Holborn, pg. 464-467).R.W. Connell (1987) debates in her book ‘Gender and Power’ the radical movements in the 1960s and 1970s of issues on sex and gender and how new theoretical questions began being explored as patriarchy and capitalism were new theoretical languages. Connell wished to debate the social character of gender and how different issues of gender may be fragmented. The argument was that how society was mainly focused on male dominance. As feminist would argue that opposites have different opportunities, men being the better sex. Connell uses a case of a young named Delia Prince, to show the view inequality between male and females, in distribution through domestic labour. (Connell, R.W, pg 3-9) The chapter ‘Some Facts in the Case’, highlight Delia’s family life, having been based on some traditional values while adapting to more modern times, through the importance highlighted about her mother. The introduction shows how girls are socialised to accept subservient roles within the family, as Delia’s mother Rae wished to become a nurse, but husband Fred disapproved, as she gave up on the idea. Rae did keep a part time job while looking after her children which received great criticism from family members. This will be related to how gender norms of families are separated from male to female, as the separation of domestic labour is distributed, men are the ‘breadwinners’ of the family and women accept the role of the ‘housewife’, by looking after the family and home, continuing the ideological ideas of patriarchal values within society. Both male and females are socialised different, as stated girls are subservient, this contrast to the role of boys who are socialised to be superior. The evidence offered shows exactly how contemporary gender norms are socially constructed by the patriarchy, highlighting women’s role of unequally due to societies traditional values. (Connell, R.W, pg 11-15)Simone de Beauvoir (1949), introduces her book ‘The Second Sex, discussing of how women are perceived as the ‘other’. Beauvoir argues how women have fixed characteristics ascribed to them that is unchangeable, and that both women and men should be human beings. She furthers this argument by stating how men have their own separate identity and subject to themselves and no one else. However, women are only a manifestation of men, ‘regards the body of woman as a hindrance, a prison’, being known as ‘the sex’ as an objective being for men’s sexual appetite and being referred to as the other (Beauvoir, 1949). Beauvoir is explaining the second-class status of women, according to Beauvoir, all women are ruled by men and defined by them. The division of the sexes symbolises the contemporary gender norms that both men and women have, as men gain control to be inferior of its counter other half. As women have always been subordinate to men, Beauvoir argues that women lack the cohesion for change, only being dispersed as women themselves have not broken that solidarity to men. Continuing the dependence between the two genders creates a master and slave concept, women being the man’s dependant for their needs, be it be economical or sexual. (Beauvoir, 1949). These statements reflect the ideology of the dominance of the patriarchal social system that society lives in. Patriarchy is a socially constructed system that primarily led by the male dominance in power. This affects many aspects in life, institutions for instance, work and community including economic systems and the family home. This has a large disadvantage towards women in society as men are given more life chances and opportunity, creating gender inequality and gender gap between them. The patriarchy is not only responsible for disrupting women’s quality of life, nevertheless expecting and creating gender norms as a social normalisation in socialisation. A further adaption of Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’ is by Karen Vintage (2017), titled, ‘A New Dawn for the Second Sex: Women’s Freedom Practices in World Perspective’, this further adaption of Beauvoir’s theory, by summarises some of the core themes discussed as well as adding further ideas that are more contemporary theory in this period of time. Vintage discusses how Beauvoir describes patriarchy to have many dimensions, arguing that ‘the image of patriarchy as a many-headed monster’, referring the many heads of institutions, between social, economic and so forth (Vintage, pg 17) .This is symbolic as it represents what patriarchy embodies, the vast amount of power and control men have over women in different types of social structure, and how women suffer different types of difficulties in societal life. Karen Vintage address how feminism is now an integral part of western societies, discussing how many African-America criticize feminism for representing women of white privilege and contribute to the problem not the solution. A more multi-cultural feminism approach is a more profound theory to further the progression of feminism in the deconstruction of patriarchy. She argues that she supports Beauvoir work but wants to build upon to create a critical reformulation of mainstream feminism. She strengths Beauvoir’s argument by stating that some of her work is still relevant in new theoretical findings and current social developments. (Vintage, pg 19)In comparison to patriarchy, there is a link to gender norms in capitalism. These both have similar responsibilities in the construct of gender norms as men are superior in the patriarchy, their life chances and opportunities help them to require better leadership and power in a capitalist society. socialisation is a key function to preform ideological functions and to set predetermined norms in order to prepare men and women for working life. The normalisation of hierarchy and inequality is present in socialisation as promotion of reproduction and maintenance of capitalism begins to form within children’s values and belfies, they begin to value the capitalist society. This therefore begins to be accepted as children are indoctrinated into how society works. Margaret Benton (1972) argues that women preform unpaid labour, through domestic care of children and ‘housewife’ duties. Families are an economic unit and that men are the slaves of the capitalist and women are the slaves of wage slaves. Women are indoctrinated to be servants of their husbands attending to their needs. This is done through satisfaction of the other half, through either physical, emotional or sexual needs. This demonstrates the exploitation of women of having predetermined gender norms set for them. This can then highlight the relationship between the capitalist society and women, arguing that women serve capitalisms through domestic labour. Feminist such as Fran Ansley (1972) argue that men come home to escape the capitalist society and women are the support system, this can also be where domestic violence becomes a part of family life, as the husband takes their frustration of working life out on their comforting wife. This highlights the dark side of the family, as Ansley argues that oppression and violence is a part of the everyday life. Benton and Ansley highlight the darker side to family life, as they discuss the gender inequality within the family unit. They argue how women are exploited by both men and the capitalist society for their own oppressive needs and discuss how women are not represented in a more positive light.
Table of Contents