Theory of differentiation of sexual roles in America


class "boys" and "girls", "men" and "women's" work, purely "male" and purely "feminine" behavior.Suggested various explanations of sexual role differentiation.

theory of functionalism

Proponents of the theory of functionalism Talcott Parsons and Robert Beyls suggested a positive function of sexual differentiation of roles.According to their view, in this way made the socialization of children and the regulation of sexual relations.They believe that in the modern family the couple must perform two different roles.

instrumental role is to liaise between the family and the outside world - it mostly work and ensuring the family money;expressive role involves primarily the regulation of relations within the family, such as child care and the settlement of disputes.

How on the basis of these two roles there is segregation of duties between the spouses?Parsons and Beyls believe that the ability of the wife to childbirth and childcare determine its expressive role;a husband who can not meet these biol

ogical functions, becomes instrumental partner.In American society instrumental role associated with the financial support of the family.As the father of her husband was not at home during working hours, women try to take the brunt of child care, creating a home atmosphere of love and mutual support.

Some sociologists argue that this theory oversimplifies the complexity of sex roles in our time.They believe that it only confirmed the correctness of legacy systems and the tender ideals of gender roles, which (as we have seen on the example of the tribes of New Guinea, Mead studied) in essence are not at all "inevitable."

Theory conflict

Opinion Parsons and Beyls about gender roles is based on the belief that family members should perform a different job.Randall Collins expressed the opposite view.He believes that gender inequality is caused by a conflict between the dominant (male) and the dependent groups (women).

According to Collins, the original basis of the domination of men over women was that men, being bigger and stronger than women, forcibly subjugated them for the sake of sexual gratification.To legitimize the access of men to women and to strengthen its domination over them, the stronger sex were entitled to a "sexual property".There may be different ways of disposal of this property.When the device marriages sexual access of men to women is associated with the distribution of land and wealth among family members and necessarily involves sharing of these resources.For example, in a primitive society, a woman could be exchanged for two cows.According to Collins, there is a kind of "sex market" in which men and women are traded between them, trying to choose the most suitable sexual partner.

Collins basic idea is that the measure of dependence of women on men is determined by two factors:

1) material dependence;

2) the value of women as property to be exchanged.

Does the wealthy father of a woman who provides her dowry, or her poor widow?Can she give birth to children, or she is too poor health?In more advanced societies (like ours) women allowed to own wealth;they are allowed to study and work outside the home, it slightly increases the cost in exchange.Collins wrote: "The trend to an increase in women's economic independence from men is that sexual relations can be at least associated with marriage;during courtship between men and women may be the short-term agreement, with men and women can benefit thanks to its charm and the ability to entertain a partner;in exchange for that they get sexual satisfaction.Women has its own material resources, can apply for the selection of a more attractive partner. "

neo-Marxist theory

Some neo-Marxist theorists share the view of Collins that the basic relations between the sexes are associated with the dominance of men and the subordination of women.But, in their opinion, the roots of inequality - in the structure of capitalism, which excludes the freedom of sexual choice.Hartmann considers the complex relationship between capitalism, patriarchy (male domination over women, took the form of a solid social system) and economic structure.He argues as follows.

1. Providing women lower wages than men, the society supports the domination of men.When women are paid less for the same job, they find it harder to pay "their part" for a treat when they met with men or invite them somewhere along fun.

2. Low earnings encourages women to marry.Everyone wants to get more out of life is good, and if a woman is not able itself to provide the suitable lifestyle, logically, it should find a husband who can do it.

3. Married women working for their husbands, doing household chores.Services "ordinary housewife" - cleaning, cooking, hearth furnace, child care, laundry, shopping, reception, sewing, washing dishes, etc. -. Would cost many thousands of dollars in the labor market.Wives, housewives do not pay directly for their work;to a significant extent recalling slaves prior to the Civil War, they receive for their work with food, clothing and shelter, though the lot of most women in materially better than that of slaves.

4. Home duty put women at a disadvantage in the labor market.Despite the use of devices that facilitate homework (such as microwave ovens and vacuum cleaners), maintaining order in the building only it requires a lot of time.Therefore, many women do not tend to work full-time.

In a similar theory proposed by Barron and Norrie-KGS (1976), states that the subordination of women is a way of achieving market flexibility in the conditions of capitalism.They divide the labor market into primary and secondary sectors.For the primary sector are relatively well-paid and stable positions;secondary sector includes the comparatively low-paying jobs, characterized by high staff turnover.Low-paid jobs (eg, nurses, secretaries and hairdressers) operate mainly women;they are in the minority in positions within the primary sector, for example, the head of association, senator or business owner.

Barron and Norris claim that there are three main reasons why the capitalists are able to use women in this way.First, women are less reliable workers than men, because they can always "leave" for family reasons.Although it seems a myth, but the survey shows that most women are forced to work in order to maintain the financial solvency of the family;This trend has continued in spite of the statistics.Secondly, women are less cherished work;in addition, they constantly leave from work due to pregnancy.In-trёtih, women perform low-paid work in offices or the service sector, lack of organizational skills of men from the United Auto Workers and the aviation industry or union truck drivers.(In this connection it is interesting to note that almost all the leaders of the International Women's Trade Union garment industry workers -. Men) Although, creating a number of trade unions, trying to combine the clerical office workers or to protect the interests of the middle management and clerical workers for the common good, women are usually not achieved muchsuccess in the formation of new collective organizations.

Neopsihoanaliticheskaya theory

We have already mentioned the view Chodorovoy that gender differences may be the result of the identification of specimens that have been learned in childhood.Chodorova elaborated on its position, arguing that this approach is more consistent with reality than explanations based on biological sex differences or analyzing samples conscious socialization.She begins his argument, stressing the fact that "women tend to take primary care of the child in infancy, and in the future have a major impact on the socialization of girls."As a child, both boys and girls in more or less identify themselves only with their mothers, it is the result of unconscious processes.However, boys are increasingly experiencing difficulties associated with the formation of the male identity separate from their mothers;initial identification of girls with their mothers almost not disturbed throughout childhood and even their lives.

Boys experiencing challenges in the process of adaptation to life, because it violates their primary identification with the mother, but the girls are faced with their own problems in the assimilation of sexual roles.Chodorova calls the experience acquired by the girls in the school, "psevdovospitaniem".Although in many ways the girls are treated the same as boys, there is a certain undercurrent that metabolize girl: despite the fact that good grades and playing sports for girls are encouraged, it is understood that these achievements should not prevent them from being "feminine"and in the future to become wives and mothers.

Each of these theories have some merit, but none of them provide an exhaustive explanation of all kinds of sexual role differentiation.Perhaps sociologists who study the problem of the relation of sexual roles and inequalities, it would be advisable to define the types of companies and situations, which best explains each of these competing theories, and then identify the factors contributing to the formation of the system of values ​​of each society.

sexual equality perspective

status of men and women in society is constantly changing, and probably this trend will continue.The need for change in the economic, legislative and household level suggests that this process will continue for 80 years.An increasing number of women, questioning the basic principles of differentiation of sexual roles, and such a soul-searching becomes meaningful.

Despite the significant improvement in the status of women, we have learned that there are many sources of resistance to further progress.Firstly, this resistance is due to active discrimination against women by men who are trying to maintain their privileges, power and wealth.Second, inequality between men and women is deeply rooted in most of our social structures.For further progress in this direction requires some "concessions" on different levels.Among them we should mention the following measures:

1) changes in socialization patterns that predispose women to reconcile with their subordinate position;

2) a change in attitude of fathers, husbands to their household duties, increase their participation in the education of children;

3) increase the flexibility of training programs and work schedules in institutions, enabling parents to combine study at college or work with urgent family matters;

4) the creation of new opportunities for professional help with childcare from families of different classes;

5) complete abolition of laws and regulations that allow direct or indirect discrimination against women.

Like many phenomena, sexual inequality is part of a wider system of social organization ^ To this phenomenon has changed significantly, and is expected to change the system itself.


1. Sociologists explore the differences between men and women from the four components of sexual identity:

a) biological sex, or primary and secondary physical traits that define a person belonging to the male or female;

b) gender identity, or awareness of their sex;

c) tender ideals or cultural behaviors of men and women;

g) sexual roles or division of labor, rights and obligations in accordance with the floor.

Although it is assumed in society, if these four components are harmonically related to each other, they often are in conflict with each other.

2. biologically based sex differences begin to appear in the embryo on the second month of pregnancy, when there is formation of primary sex characteristics.These include eggs, which are formed in the embryo, programmed to be a man, and the ovaries are typical of a female embryo.Furthermore, in this period, the embryos begin to secrete various hormones, through which secondary sexual characteristics are formed in adolescence mammary glands and hair in women;a rough voice, facial hair and body hair of men.

3. It is difficult to determine whether there is a biological predisposition to certain behavior in men and women, because from the moment of birth to the children of different sexes are different.After examining hermaphrodites John Mani concluded that biological factors may only affect the propensity of men and women to certain types of behavior.

4. According to Maccoby and Jacklin, the development of gender identity involves three processes: a) modeling, simulation or adult behavior;b) reinforcement, or encouraging behavior that conforms to the child's gender, as well as the judgment of inappropriate behavior, c) samosotsializatsiya or work patterns of behavior that cause the greatest approval from others.

5. Studies of sex roles, typical for the representatives of the three tribes of New Guinea (conducted by Margaret Mead), clearly showed the failure of the belief that one sex is better adapted to perform a specific role than the other.The tribe Arapesh both men and women learn the roles associated with childcare.On the contrary, men and women of the tribe Mundugumor equally hostile to each other and to others.The tribe tchambuli roles of men and women are quite different, but they are opposite roles, common in our society.

6. During the colonial period, when the family itself is actually produced everything you need for yourself, women's work inside and outside the home was no less important than the work of men.Initially, the women factories were the main workforce.In the XIX century.women from the middle class did not work outside the home;the man was the breadwinner of the family, and the wife - housewife.

7. stereotypes of sexual roles have become less stable under the influence of studies have established that all human beings are a combination of the so-called male and female traits.In addition, women's movement contributed to the weakening of discrimination in their work.

8. In our time more than half of all married women work outside the home;the number of women who want to have children and work full-time has increased significantly.Also increased the number of women enrolled in graduate school, although many of them still choose purely "female" fields of science, such as library science and education of children.According to Horner, one of the reasons for the reluctance of women to work in fields dominated by men is probably a kind of "fear of success" or a feeling that if successful will be considered "unfeminine."

9. The majority of working women held low-paid 'feminine' positions and perform mainly clerical work.Women in fields dominated by men, are often faced with difficulties, forcing them to move to a more "feminine" work within the industry, such as medicine women prefer career pediatrician.

10. functionalism explains the differentiation of sex roles in the modern family in such a way, one of the spouses must perform an instrumental role in providing family relationship with the outside world;the other takes on the expressive role, regulating relationships within the family.As the advocates of this theory, the ability of the wife to give birth determines its expressive role, as the husband carries out an instrumental role.

11. Collins believes that the main cause of gender inequality is a conflict between the dominant group (men) and a subordinate group (women).