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The family is thriving, both as institution and ideology. OR Motherhood is a social construction which fulfils women around the world - Essay Example

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An ongoing debate, centering on the relevance of family and motherhood as social institutions, has been ongoing since the sixties among academic circles. Some of the more sensationalist, less academic, aspects of this debate has spilled over onto casual conversations at the…
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The family is thriving, both as institution and ideology. OR Motherhood is a social construction which fulfils women around the world
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Extract of sample "The family is thriving, both as institution and ideology. OR Motherhood is a social construction which fulfils women around the world"

Download file to see previous pages Furthermore, motherhood, for the purposes of this discussion, is to encompass the fundamental activities of childbearing and childrearing. Thus, this inquiry will deal not on motherhood as a personal experience, but as social phenomenon that applies to women in general, in seeking to thresh out the issues that have ruled in the debate.
From as far back as history can remember, motherhood has been traditionally regarded as the primary, one may say overriding, role of women. From the farmer’s wife to the royal spouse, marriage between a man and a woman has always been presumed to serve the purpose of pro-creation. There has generally been no long-standing quarrel on the matter, until the sixties when the feminist movement took impetus and forwarded the thesis that family and motherhood are at the core of women’s oppression by a predominantly male world.
The social presumption that women were meant to bear children appeared to shift at about the sixties. In Australia, demographics show that after the post-World War II baby boom, a decline in births signified that young women delayed the start of their childbearing, while older women ended theirs sooner. Australian women took to the new contraceptive pill, at a rate that amounted to the world’s highest per capita use. The following diagram, shows the total fertility rate of Australia between the years 1924-1994. (Gilding, 1997 p. 206)
In general, feminist critiques of family policy highlighted weaknesses in the “white nuclear heterosexual family” (Dominelli, 1991). Some feminist ideas were born of oppressive treatment of women under a male-dominated society (Johnson, 1980). The feminist position encompassed two streams – the first, radical, stream posited that women’s biological make-up was the source of their oppression; and the second, liberal, stream questioned the acceptance of male values and achievements as the standard by which women were ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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