WomenRights and Suffrage
WomenRights and Suffrage
Question:Apply the Three Sociological Theories (Structural Functionalism,Conflict theory, and Symbolic Interaction) to an issue found inGreenwich Village 1913 and compare to a similar issue found in theworld currently.
Therights of women have been an issue of wide debate within thepolitical, social, and religious domains for a long time. Only in thepast century has gender equality been recognized and women accordedsimilar amounts of rights as men. Traditionally, many societies andcommunities considered women inferior to men, and, therefore, menwere given more rights than women who were often considered second tomen. Before the nineteenth century and prior to the emergence ofwomen rights movements, the situation was no different among manyAmerican societies. majority of societies were male dominated andwomen had little to no rights when compared to males. One of the mainright that American women did not have is suffrage.Suffrage refers to the right to vote. The legal right of women tovote has been established over many decades until finally being madenational in 1920. The aim of this paper is to apply the issue ofwomen suffrage as presented in the book Greenwich Village 1913 to thethree major psychological theories.
Sociologicalperspectives on womensuffrage
Sociologistsuse different paradigms to analyze social phenomena at differentlevels and derive interpretations and generalizations. One of themain perspectives is the symbolic interactionalist perspective. Underthe symbolic interactionalism paradigm, the sociologists consider thesigns, details, and symbols of everyday life, analyze what they mean,and examine how people interact with each other considering thesesymbols (Rohal, Milkie, Lucas, & Lucas 2013). When it comes tohuman rights, symbolism can be seen on issues such as women loss oftheir first names whenever they get married, loss of citizenship whenwomen get married to foreign individuals, and their duties as homemakers. These are symbols that people see during their daily lives,derive meanings from them, and relate to them. For example, manypeople may interpret the above-mentioned symbols and conclude thatwomen hold a position in society that is secondary to men.Considering the interpretations of these symbols by society, themainstream public opinion in the 19thcentury was unanimous that women should not be given voting rights(Treacy, 2015).
Structuralfunctionalism is the second major perspective. This is a sociologicalframework that views society as a complex system that is made up ofinterrelated parts which work together to promote harmony, stability,and solidarity. The main assertion is that people’s lives aredirected by their social structures which are considered stablepatterns of social behavior in society (Rohal, Milkie, Lucas, &Lucas 2013). Therefore, per this perspective, the fabric of societyis maintained through social cohesion where each person works withothers to achieve what is best for the general society. Thus,functionalism often justifies the status quo and discouragesindividuals from actively participating in activities that willchange their social environment, even when the result of such achange would be such that it would benefit them. Treacy (2015) notesthat although it was declared during independence that all men areequal, women were not accorded the right to vote as they were assumedto be in a natural state of dependence. Therefore, for a while, womenwere not allowed to vote and they adhered to such principles as ameans of preserving societal cohesion by not changing their socialsituations.
Thethird major sociological perspective is the conflict perspective.This perspective contradicts the main sentiments of both thefunctionalist and the symbolic interactionist paradigms. The conflictperspective focuses on the conflicted, negative, an ever-changingnature of society (Rohal, Milkie, Lucas, & Lucas 2013). Conflictsociologists encourage social change and constantly challenge thestatus quo. In the book, Greenwich 1913, the author notes that by midnineteenth century, change was in the air and many emboldened womenstarted fighting for their rights. Despite many challenges andsetbacks, women challenge the status quos within their localities andcommunities, and were eventually granted the right to vote nationallywhen the ‘Susan. B. Anthony.’ Amendment was ratified in 1920.
Therefore,from a sociological point of view, functionalism and symbolinteractionism reinforced the notion of a male-dominated society anddenied women their rights to vote while the conflict perspectiveallowed women to rise and fight for their rights enabling them toeffect social change by acquire the legal right to vote.
Divorceand sociological perspectives
Oneof the main social issues today is divorce. It has become a normalsocial phenomenon in the modern society as almost half of all couplesend up getting divorced. Just like women suffrage, divorce can alsobe analyzed as a social issue using the three major sociologicalperspectives. Functionalists view divorce negatively as a failure ofsocial institutions. Functionalism is all about creating a cohesivebalance in society but divorce disrupts this uniformity. On symbolicinteractions, divorce will be examined from a micro-perspective as aconsequence of friends and family influence on two individuals. Theconflict perspective will analyze the accruing benefits. Therefore,since the government benefits from taxes while the couple will sufferfinancially, society is at fault for divorce by allowing people totake the easy way out.
Rohal,D. E., Milkie, A. M., Lucas, J., & Lucas, J. W. (2013). SocialPsychology: Sociological Perspectives.Pearson Education.
Treacy,J. M. (2015). GreenwichVillage, 1913: Suffrage, Labor, and the New Woman (Reacting to thePast) 1stedition.W. W. Norton & Company.