Thought Paper: Joey’s Problem

How did this article relate to a specific topic we have covered in a class or a specific topic you have read about in the text book?

In the given article from the book Second Shift, sociologist Arlie Hochschild examined a wide range of problems from the family life.

An excerpt from the book examines the clash of gender ideologies. There is also a problem with the child’s relationship with both parents as well as the problem of the distribution of household chores, which also grows out of this gender conflict. After analyzing the article, it can be concluded that the problems with household and child upbringing are interconnected.

Gender role is a behavior in accordance with the set of certain social conditions, which are addressed by society to people depending on their gender. This is manifested in the “appropriate” male or female appearance, behavior, speech, mannerisms, gestures, and other spheres of activity. Scientists claim that gender determines the role of women to be caring, emotional, and sensitive to the interests and concerns of others. Such role can be explained by the biological and psychological characteristics of traditional femininity. Masculine gender role requires activity, aggressiveness, dominance, and ambition.

Scientists claim that in general, women’s career is quite different from the men’s career because of gender stereotypes. In today’s family and professional structures promotion of women prevents the need for childcare. For women with children, it is extremely difficult to build their career. Age of 25-35 years is critical for a professional career. Nevertheless, this is the age when a woman faces a large number of risks to lose her work if she wants to give birth to a child and raise it. Women with children do not always have the opportunity to gain the necessary skills and promotion.

In this case, we see the clearest example when a woman tries to combine work, home, and upbringing of the child. As one can see from the book, a woman often has to give up a career. Therefore, Nancy refused full-working day, though she was very fond of her social worker position. We can see that it is very strongly influenced by the position of her husband. Men traditionally consider themselves getters; which means that wife should keep the family hearth, and husband may refuse to work at home. In the beginning, we realize most of the care for the child becomes his mother’s responsibility. She spends more time with the boy than his father does. The author says that Nancy behaves as a single mother, completely dragging on herself obligation to raise her son and run the household. As the boy spends a lot of time exclusively with his mother, then there is nothing strange that he sometimes does not want to notice his father and refuses to go home with Evan. At some point, it seems that the woman deliberately starts dominating in the family and taking advantage of it. For example, when Evan wants to spend time alone with his son at the zoo, Nancy goes with them. However, with a deeper analysis of the situation, it becomes clear that the father plays with kid only when desired. That is, he does not have a special desire to establish contact with his son. Moreover, he ignores all family duties. Evan is well-organized and energetic at his work, but not at home. Husband agrees that he is lazy, and he likes to do what he wants to do in his spare time. Nancy is not so lazy; she is responsible and very well organized. Nancy is a feminist. She wanted to make a career and at the same time be a good mother and mistress. Nancy tried to agree on the fact that her husband helped her. Evan, in turn, refused to follow the rules. As a result, they agreed that Evan is engaged in a garage and a dog, and Nancy is engaged in all other household duties. As the author says, Evan is not much better or much worse than other men.
Thus, in my opinion, the abovementioned situation is the usual situation in modern family, repeatedly described in textbooks. Interests of men and women are in conflict. Modern women defend their right for a career as well as for a rest after a working day. However, as a rule, a woman is inferior to a man.

How did this article enhance or change your prior understanding of the topic?

The concept of the gender ideology usually ranges from conservative or anti-feminist to egalitarian, liberal or feminist one. Traditional gender ideology emphasizes the value of the different roles of women and men. According to traditional gender ideology, for example, husbands fulfill their family roles through the maintenance of the family, and wives carry out their educational, housekeeping, and parental duties.

Nowadays, more and more women are trying to defend the right to self-determination and self-realization in other areas, in addition to family life. Having received a lot of rights in the society, women gained significantly greater responsibilities. Combining family, household, and professional roles, modern woman is extremely busy. Traditional family and domestic roles are supplemented with the new ones: the budget manager, the organizer, the therapist, and the main caregiver. The reports about share of responsibilities between husband and wife show that the total women’s charge is almost twice more than men’s. For Nancy Holt, it would be easier to do what some other women did: indignantly cling to the purpose of exchange in the second shift. Otherwise, she could cynically abandon all forms of feminism as misleading to smooth her troubled relationship with Evan. Furthermore, like her mother, she could have sunk into depression, expressed in excessive drinking and overeating. She did not do any of these things. She tried to find a compromise.

Previously examining the issue of the relationship of feminists in the family, I did not pay attention to the factor of the child in the family.

However, having read the article, I understood that there was a question about Joey. An excerpt from the book is not for nothing named after this guy. After all, the child suffers from the quarrels in the family. Due to the article, I learned that the child is in stress if gender ideologies clash occurs in the family. Joey still does not understand what is happening, but the guy at the subconscious level recognizes the mother as a leader. It is clear that Nancy is the head of the family. Therefore, I can say that she realized her potential feminist at some level.

Before reading the article, I considered that the distribution of roles in the family is a normal thing – a man should do man’s chores such as repair, but he also can help wife in cleaning or cooking. A woman is engaged in cooking, washing, cleaning, but she should help her man if they have decided to make repairs. It was extremely interesting for me to observe the changes in identity of the characters. Having actually lost the war for the right to privacy, Nancy , immersed in the household chores and began to use the pronoun “my” in relation to kitchen utensils and all other facilities. Evan, on the contrary, erased identity in terms of family life – he always says “we.” Also, it was very interesting to learn that the household duties, which men take over, become for them a kind of fetish. Evan, for example, entirely devoted himself to the dog; the other men immersed themselves in cooking fish or pies. On the one hand, it brings pleasure, but on the other hand, makes them possible to be justified by their wives and by themselves.

In addition, it was interesting to discover the changes in the sexual sphere. It is known that male dominance implies that women’s sexuality is “owned” by men. I believed that women should give men sexual and domestic services in exchange for financial support from them. Within this structure, the double sexual standard dominated that provided men, but not women, with the right to a considerable sexual freedom. As we can see in this example, Nancy was trying to use sexual contact as a mean of manipulation for her husband. She felt no desire to have intimate relationship with him because of fatigue, irritation, and resentment. The woman said that the great act of love is not so much sex, but much help around the house.

Thus, this article makes it possible to consider the gender conflict more carefully in the real situation when a family has a child. It enhanced understanding of the gender conflicts, examining changes in social and sexual sphere of the couple’s life.