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Bennet looks at feminism in the traditional marriages where the role of a woman in the relationship was child rearing and taking care of household duties. The man on the other hand provided for the financial needs in the family. According to Bennet for a woman to give up on her career ambitions for the motherhood is a feminine mistake. Bennet explains that economic dependency is a bound to hurt or destroy the relationship (Bennet132). Bennet explains that relationships suffer immeasurably in the event of a divorce, a spouse’s retrenchment, illness, or widowhood especially when one party was dependent on another. It is evident that there is an evolving social phenomenon of masculine and feminine roles in relationships. The transformation disregards the traditional concepts of gender roles and adopts an egalitarian structure to explain masculine and feminine roles in modern relationships.
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Thornton, Axin and Xie observe that young prefer cohabitation to marriage. According to Thornton, Axin, and Xie children tend to marry early if their parents married early. It is evident that children cohabit if their parents at some point did cohabit ( Thornton, Axinn and Xie 55). These observations point out the transformation of the western marriage. The rise in divorce cases, acceptance sexual minority group all point to the transformation in the society that explain the change in masculine and feminine roles in relationships. For example, the divorce cases result to the rise of single parent family structures where we have a single mother who takes up the feminine as well as the masculine role in the family. The woman becomes a caregiver, decision make and financial provider in the family. On the other hand, if we have the father making up the full custody of the children the father then takes up a feminine role of being the caregiver, nurturer and at the same time, he retains his masculine role.
Cultural models in the 21st century are transforming and homosexuality has gained acceptance in different societies. The gay, Lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups have societal support as well as federal protection that protects them from any form of harm. Desjardins considers same-sex marriage in the United States. According to Desjardins, the acceptance of same-sex marriage in the United States is evident from the wide support the issue has received from the public and politic figures. Desjardin states that there are states, for example, Maine where sex marriage is constitutionally accepted (Desjardins “Snowe supports same-sex marriage”). Lippa explains that the traditionally the feminine role in relationships involves the nurturing activities. Lippa considers masculine and feminine roles in homosexual relationships. According to Lippa, research shows that gay men exhibit feminine characteristics than heterosexual men. On the other hand, it is evident that lesbian women show masculine characteristics when compared to heterosexual women ( Lippa 41). According to Lippa, parents and the society are responsible for teaching children on gender roles and behaviours. However, the acceptance of same sex relationships redefines masculine and feminine roles.
Goldberg, Smith and Maureen state that same-sex marriages tend to shift the perception of masculine and feminine roles in relationships. In some cases, men take up feminine roles and women take up masculine roles. In same sex marriages, adopting children to raise a family is a way of experiencing a normal life (Golberg, Smith and Maureen 814). Research studies that gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual parents adopt children to experience normal relationships like heterosexual families. Studies also show the same sex parents, for example, gay fathers’ exhibit better nurturing qualities that heterosexual fathers. The same sex marriages provide good example of egalitarian family structures. Goldberg, Smith and Perry-Jenkins explains that same sex parents’ value equality and both parents work together, share responsibilities for the benefit of the family (Goldberg, Smith and Perry-Jenkins 815).
Lippa explains research shows that there are women who take up masculine roles in modern relationships, for example, the case of single mothers, widowed women, lesbian and transgender relationships. In other cases, involving heterosexuals, lesbians, gay, transgender, and bisexuals’ egalitarianism plays a significant role in the definition of the masculine and feminine roles in the relationship. In such an arrangement, there is an equitable division of roles involving house chores, child rearing and income generation. Children learn marriage, social, and education values from their parents. Thorton, Axinn and Xie explain that studies confirm children learn and adopt values from the family, school and society. According to Thorton, Axinn and Xie children whose parents marry at a tender age tend to do the same (Thornton, Axinn, and Xie105). Children who grow up in a family where parents adopt egalitarianism as a means of raising their families will end up raising their families in the same structure.
Bennet explains that children who have both their parents working benefit from having a secured future in terms of finance and career ( Bennet 98). Bennet criticises the decision of professional women to give up their careers for their traditional roles as nurturers, home keepers. According to Bennet, women who give up their careers for the family end up suffering. On the other hand making a career come back is a greater challenge they face later in their lives (Bennet 102). Traditional marriage set-ups required women to submit to their husbands wishes. However, this has changed with the empowerment of women society now produces women who have a better education, women who compete with men for top paying positions, and women participating in influential activities such as politics. Feminine roles change when women decide to pursue their career. Studies show that women who pursue careers have less time for relationships and families. Those who manage to raise families struggle to balance their careers and being there for the family (Bennet 125). Although the family benefits from financial security, the mother faces health complications resulting from stress especially if her husband is unsupportive in the provision of primary care giving.
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Research shows that women who take up masculine roles like providing for their families influence their family structures. Women who dedicate their time to build on their careers influence the size of their families. Bennet states that it is impossible for a woman to take care of a large family and at the same time pursue a successful career. According to Bennet, women opt to sacrifice their careers to raise a family (Bennet 32). On the other hand, the role of fathers in the modern families has changed. The masculine role of aggressiveness has evolved to a compassionate and nurturing role. This is evident especially in same sex marriages involving gay adopting parents. In modern families set ups fathers desire to spend more time with their families. There is the evidence where fathers alter their work schedules to make them flexible in order to create time for their families. Another example of a change in masculine role is depicted in the media where we get examples of male resistance to job relocations this is to avoid separation of fathers from their families. It is common to families where the mother is the breadwinner and the father takes up the role of taking care of the home and rearing the children.
When women take up their positions in the work force, the children’s suffer. The masculine and feminine role of imparting social qualities upon their children is interrupted. It is important for women to perform their role of providing continuous affection and nurturing children at their early stage of development (Lippa 124). However, the women’s fight for equality has rather reversed this role. Children in modern families tend to be left in the care of baby sitters. Lippa explains that parental rearing is an important for children to understand socialisation and the differences regarding masculinity and femininity (Lippa 124). The absence of parents during the initial stages of socialisation the children can suffer from mental distress.
Since 2010, there has been a rise of men’s right movements in regions around Europe and the United States. The movements that seek to advocate for the rights of fathers, and support the changing masculine roles in relationships. According to research studies, the women have outnumbered men in high paying jobs; it is evident that in the modern family set ups a large number of men are taking up the caregiver role. Women in modern relationships have become assertive and a significant number of men exhibit feminine characteristics. Goldberg, Smith and Maureen mention cases of transgender who struggle to express their identity. Transgender male or female who get into marital relationships without confirming their identity suffer from the stress of struggling to lead a normal life in their secretive life. Disclosing ones identity enables once to take up the roles that conform to their identity (820).
It is impossible to ignore the societal transformations that play a big role in transforming families. The modern family set ups provides a perfect example of the changing masculine and feminine roles. However, it is important to note that the masculine and feminine roles both play a significant role in the growth and development of children. Therefore, even with the changing roles it is important for families to maintain their roles as role models for their children. This prevents cases of mental instability that may arise when parents priorities their careers instead of their children’s needs. Goldberg, Smith and Maureen mention some positive parenting qualities that GLTB exhibit society can embrace this and learn on how to merge their masculine and feminine roles to benefit the family.
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