In The Past, Gender Roles Specialization As So Pronounced

1425 WordsFeb 9, 20176 Pages
In the past, gender roles specialization as so pronounced that females and males had very different roles and responsibilities assigned to them. In most of the cultures, men were the breadwinners while women were house managers and assuming the roles of caregivers. However, in the contemporary world, material foundations linked to gender role specialization have weakened with the caretaking work that was used to define females disappearing. Nevertheless, studying gender role specialization from a sociological viewpoint, it is evident that gender norms are still in existence. This can be explained using the study by Parsons and Bales on the contribution of the family structure in socio-economic context. According to Parsons and Bales,…show more content…
As a result of industrialization and modernization, the American society is shaped with changes evidenced in the family unit. For instance, today’s families are nuclear and thus separated from their extended kin. Today’s typical American family consists of a husband, a wife, and the dependent children (Schulte 17). Based on the explanation given by Parsons and Bales, a nuclear family as a functioning system depends and requires successful performance of roles and equilibrium. This is extended further by Hochschild who argues that the major roles in today’s nuclear family are provision of income, creating and maintaining relationships with family and friends, caring for the children, socializing children, cleaning the house, disciplining the children, and preparing food (91). However, while Parsons and Bales divide gender roles into instrumental and expressive ones, this difference is not noted in the current society in which any of the gender can perform any role to ensure equilibrium and sustainability of the current nuclear family unit. In the traditional gender role division explained by Parsons and Bales, the roles by men and women in the family are separated. Using the classical sociological view, even though men perform caregiving roles, these are instrumental and managerial in nature. In order to care for their families, the role of men is instrumental as they work in their careers to
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