Sexual role of the family in America

As already noted, the fact that women work firefighters, foresters, corporate vice president, etc., largely refutes our traditional notions of sexual roles.In this section we consider the features of the formation of sex roles in the United States.

SOURCES modern view

Historians say that the early colonists of America have provided women a higher status than they had in England.One reason for the break with the English custom was the importance of women's work at the time.Virtually every family had itself to produce everything you need for yourself, so the work of both men and women was vital.Nevertheless, the division of labor took place in accordance with the floor.Men engaged mainly in agriculture, and women perform daily homework and at the same time producing some products that can be sold or traded on the market: candles, soaps, tissues, milk etc.

Women also worked on an equal basis with men outside the home.They were blacksmiths, silversmiths, sailboats, dressmakers, artists and shopkeeper."If

the shopkeeper became a widow, she often took on full responsibility for the business, it has created with her husband."Horace Bushnell was the following description of the activities of one of the women of the time: "It provided, and raised six children, sewed clothes made of linen and knitted woolen garments for the whole family ... She had to work on the site, to milk a cow, to cook on a farm laborerand 5-6 months of the year and also the employees belonging to it store homespun clothes. "

In 1813 the first weaving mill in New England was established.For several decades, the main labor force in these factories were women.Most of the workers were adolescents or young girl of about twenty years;they are usually dismissed when married.As more and more products made in factories, but not at home, women have found that they are less time engaged in the manufacture of basic necessities and all spend more time shopping: they become consumers rather than producers.

In the XIX century.women from the middle class did not work outside the home.The economic and political affairs are the responsibility of men;Homework was the lot of women.The family was a kind of refuge from the stresses of everyday life and stress;good wife has created an atmosphere of peace, love and warmth.Childcare was not just one of many concerns, and "sacred duty" and foremost the responsibility of women.

The role of women was determined based on the following beliefs:

1) women have a special ability to raise their children (because they are characterized by tenderness and high moral character);

2) attached to the house to protect women from the evils of the outside world, to which it is difficult to adapt, because they are too vulnerable and noble;

3) due to maternity, embodied in the upbringing of children, they can improve society.In fact, the only way the women's impact on society.

Barbara Welther called it a new definition of the role of women "cult of true femininity."This "cult" is maintained in magazines for women and religious pamphlets in the period from 1820 to 1860 Welther wrote:

«Among the distinctive features of True Womanhood on which women evaluate themselves, and her husband, neighbors and society estimated it couldto highlight four main virtues: piety, generosity, humility and affection for the family.Their combination embodied the ideal of the true women - mothers, daughters, sisters, wives.Without them, the glory, achievements and wealth meant nothing.Only on the basis of a woman could hope to find happiness and strength. "

In the middle of the XIX century.migration to the West, the struggle for the abolition of the slave trade and social reforms, civil war, missionary efforts, as well as industrialization dispelled the cult of true femininity and facilitated the involvement of women in activities outside the home.However, despite the refusal of many women carry the burden of family care, still has a profound influence rooted in the XIX century to our ideals and views on gender roles.the belief that a "real" man should be the breadwinner of the family, and a woman - the mistress of the house, creating a family atmosphere.Bread Winner must be an active, strong, reliable and discreet - these qualities are inherent in individuals, "type A".It is assumed at the same time that the lady of the house caring, has a fine intuition, gentle and emotional - all these qualities are characteristic of persons "type B".

reduce stereotypes

As Americans characterize men and women?Students of the course "Sociology of sexual roles" were asked to list the words and phrases, which, in their opinion, most Americans consume in characterizing men and women.Their answers were classified in such a way that it was possible to compare the characteristics of men and women.

Due to another study it was found that, according to conventional wisdom, the man should be "sexually active", "prone to sports", "independent" and "masculine", while the exemplary woman peculiar "sexual shyness", "socialconcern "," fear and avoidance of problematic situations. "It is clear that these descriptions are stereotypes.How many people you know for sure they match?

At the moment - although these stereotypes still stable - under the influence of several factors, the tendency to weaken them.Psychological studies have shown that there is no "pure" for men and "pure" female identity.All of us - both men and women - are inherent autonomy and dependence, active and passive.

Table 1 Typical "male" and "female" traits

Any person is a complex combination of these qualities.Another factor contributing to the weakening of sexual roles stereotypes, was the realization that "masculinity" and "femininity" at least partially formed over many years under the influence of family, school, peer groups, and other agents of socialization.It is widely recognized that stereotypes do not represent something "natural", and society are likely.

Finally, the women's movement had a political and social impact on society.Some states have abolished discriminatory laws;judicially women have justice in the payment of their labor, promotion and compensation in relation to discrimination in the workplace.The requirement for "equal pay for equal work" has firmly entered the lexicon of Americans.For all these reasons, many men and women are reconsidering their views, and some of them deny the sexual roles that limit the possibilities of man.