Tuesday, 6 January 2009

From Rasa Devotee Green Tara, findings on family

Hi, Rasa!

First, thank you for inspiring me to look for the references to patriarchy
in my textbook. I have a test over this stuff, coming up next Saturday, so
in looking up these references, I am also reviewing what I need to be
looking at anyway. What I am trying to say is that helping you helps me.

Here is the first reference I came across, in a chapter titled Gender,
Culture, and Ethnicity Factors in Family Functioning.

"In the case of gender, both the feminist movement and, more recently, the
emergence of men's studies have drawn attention to the limiting and in some
cases pernicious effects of sexist attitudes and patriarchal behavior on
family functioning; gender inequities have begun to be addressed regarding
sex-based role assignments within family groups as well as the wider culture
that defines what relationships are possible within families and who is
available to participate in those relationships (McGoldrick, Anderson, &
Walsh, 1989)."

The reference for this information is: McGoldrick, M., Anderson, C.M., &
Walsh, F. (1989). Women in families and in family therapy. In M. McGoldrick,
C.M. Anderson, & F. Walsh (Eds.), Women in families: A Framework for family
therapy. New York; Norton.

This is Tara talking again: I am only going to focus on passages that
directly mention patriarchy, although the idea is brought into discussion
throughout this chapter. Here, I am going to share an entire paragraph
because it puts the sentence referencing patriarchy into better perspective.

"The family therapy field has been relatively slow in recognizing just how
important the gender-role messages all of us experience during our lifetimes
typically are in our current family life (Enns, 1997). As McGoldrick,
Anderson, & Walsh (1989) point out, many early family therapists operated in
a gender-free fashion, as if family members were interchangable units of a
system with equal power* and control (and thus equal responsibility) over
the outcome of interactions occurring within the family. The larger social,
historical, economic, and political context of family life in a patriarchal
society generally was overlooked; therapists by and large felt comfortable
taking a neutral stance regarding a family's gender arrangement, thus
running the risk of tacitly approving traditional values oppressive to
women. The overall result, typically, was for family therapists to
perpetuate a myth of equality between men and women within a family seeking
their help, ignoring political (that is, power related) differences between
men and women in most relationships (Hare-Mustin & Maracek, 1990)."

[Please note, Rasa, I emphasized "in most relationships" (this is not
emphasized in the textbook) to show its importance and relevance to what is
happening today, in most (not just a few, or even many) male/female

*Footnote: "Power within a family typically is gained in a variety of ways:
by gender, age, earning power, respect, or fear. In society at large, power
is unequally distributed based on such factors as gender, class, race,
ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, profession, and degree of physical
ability (Fontes & Thomas, 1996)."

Here are the reference details for the works cited in this paragraph:

Enns, C.Z. (1997). Feminist theories and feminist psychotherapies: Origins,
themes and variations. New York: Haworth.

Hare-Mustin, R.T., & Maracek, J. (Eds.). (1990). Making a Difference:
Psychology and the construction of gender. New Haven, CT: Yale University

Fontes, L.A., & Thomas, V. (1996). Cultural issues in family therapy. In
F.P. Piercy, D.H. Sprenkle, J.L. Wetchler, & Associates (Eds.), Family
therapy sourcebook (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

This is just a start, my dearest beloved Rasa. As I come across other
references, I will share with you. All of this is from the book, Family
Therapy: An Overview (6th edition), by Irene and Herbert Goldenberg. Here is
a link to it at amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/yj399b

As you know, if you use any of this in a book, permission to reprint will be
needed, of course. It is encouraging to me to know that part of counselor
training is awareness of how patriarchy affects people.


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