Comparing and contrasting Surviving Sexual Violence by Liz Kelly and The Sociology of Housework by Anne Oakley Essay

This essay will be based on comparing and contrasting the methodologies of the two core texts Surviving Sexual Violence by Liz Kelly and The Sociology of Housework by Anne Oakley. The Sociology of Housework by Anne Oakley is based on the individual identity of a housewife and her social role. It establishes the women and their feelings towards being a housewife. The text attains the real situation of women working as housewives and not being paid for what they do. The research done by Anne Oakley shows the attitudes of tasks done by the women and the number of hours they work.The feeling of repetitiveness and disintegration that many of the women experience is illustrated between their satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

The differences in class and upbringing is discussed as well as the capability of the women being able to balance out their upbringing in motherhood, coping with their husbands and the wife role with being a housewife. Surviving Sexual Violence by Liz Kelly is based on women being interviewed about the topic of a whole range of forms of sexual violence. Sexual violence is a very powerful issue and could be very disturbing.The opportunity to develop and validate the different forms of sexual violence as diversity on concentrating on how women classify their experiences and how they develop strategies to resist, cope with and survive sexual violence was researched and established by Liz Kelly. The focus on the research was to recognise the events of sexual violence and show that the women are survivors not victims of abuse. Feminism has become a worldwide establishment to encourage women to come forth and speak openly about their experiences.

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The topic of feminism and the whole situation of women on the whole was the main aim towards the comparison of Surviving Sexual Violence by Liz Kelly with The Sociology of Housework by Anne Oakley. Both texts discuss the topic of women in general which establishes the atmosphere of the women and the image they are given by the male population. The texts convey the feelings and the voices of the women being heard to end the oppression in all aspects of women. The methods of each text will be specified and stated.The comparison of both will be recognised through the differences and similarities between them showing the advantages and disadvantages of the texts. Anne Oakley “Who really gives a damn about reading studies, particularly feminist studies, about women, their dilemmas, their problems, their attempts at solution? ” (Oakley).

The subject of The Sociology of Housework publicised for many years but has recently been shown that the populated gender, ‘had hitherto allowed housework more or less entirely to escape their professional gaze’ (Oakley).The main aspect of this book is based on a ‘research study of women’s attitudes to housework’ (Oakley). It has become a well known topic discussed by sociologist and attained that ‘women and work’ is likely to retain its problematic status well into the future’ (Oakley). The research done for this text was ‘undertaken for a doctoral dissertation at the University of London’ (Oakley). The methodological aspects of the housework study that is specified in the text involve ‘two areas: (1) methods of selecting the forty housewives interviewed; and (2) procedures used to asses ‘satisfaction’ and other areas of women’s responses’ (Oakley).Between January and March 1971, ten pilot interviews were carried out by the knocking on doors in a working class area and a middle class area. This interview was based a few weeks before the main survey interviews were held. When orchestrating the interviews 40 women were picked by alphabetic order, two names were selected by each letter.

‘These criteria were used in order to obtain a relatively homogenous sample of young housewife-mothers’ (Oakley). The procedures of the interviews were done over the phone using a doctor’s name as an introduction. The women were asked what they thought about housework.The main criteria used to divide the middle class women and working class women were the occupations of their husbands.

The interviews were completed in one session using a tape recorder and lasted for around two hours. Levels of assessment to do with the standards and routines of a housewife role were rated. The ratings were to ‘ask respondents themselves to make the assessments’ (Oakley). In view of the tendency of the women being interviewed they were asked the basic question of: ‘Are you satisfied/ dissatisfied with work/ marriage/ child-care? ‘ (Oakley).

Other methods of questioning were used, but a number of women where answering with general statements not fulfilling the required answers. So this question was put down to state the whole purpose of the research and to get the required finding. An interview schedule of a questionnaire was done to answer questions with multiple choice questions made easy to answer. Problems sort were there wasn’t a fundamental strategy given between the women and their answers to the questions. ‘The housewife’s situation is not fundamentally different in other modern industrialized societies’ (Oakley).A problem found to asses was ‘that of how to obtain enough material in the course of one interview to cover this assessment, as well as those related to housework, child-care and employment work’ (Oakley). Liz Kelly “The prevalence and impact sexual violence in women’s lives is still not publicly acknowledged” (Kelly). This book records the findings of women’s experiences in their resistance strength and coping with and surviving abuse.

The purpose of this book is to substantiate that information and make some it comprehensible to those without. Surviving Sexual Violence is based on a feminist sociological research project and has two basic aims: to present the ‘findings’ of the study; and validate and give voice to women’s experience and understanding” (Kelly). The research that Kelly had done started by using three main aims: “to talk to a wide range of women about all the forms of sexual violence they had experienced; to explore how the various forms of violence were connected; and to investigate the long-term impact of sexual violence on women” (Kelly).

The feminist discipline that undertook the research done had appeared to be a form of individual recognition. ‘Feminist research had been defined in terms of interviewing women and that it is only our experiences or the experiences of other women, which will be reflected in research’. The first part of the ‘project involved the construction of an interview guide and four major pilot interviews’.

The pilot interviews were done using friends of Kelly, interviewing them, then a second time to discuss the interview style and content.After this the redraft of the interview was discussed with friends and academic colleagues. This gave an emphasis of inclusion on which focuses on the future and not the past. ‘This mean that potentially distressing interviews could end on a positive, forward-looking note’ (Kelly). Questions about diversity of possible experiences of sexual violence were situated in structure of women’s lives. One of the main issues to discover was whether women had made their experiences public, as of this, it was required that a year gap was left between the incidence of the assault and interview.

It was part of the potential interest of the women being interviewed that the women choose to participate; this gave the women the essence of trustworthiness between them and the interviewer. ‘Sociologists have stressed the importance of establishing and maintaining trust in sociological research’ (Kelly). The majority of the volunteers came from talks Kelly had made. Before conducting any of the interviews the volunteers interested in the research being done, were all sent out a letter explaining the aims of the project and participation they would be involved in.A replying letter was attached to arrange an interview or reasons why they were unable to participate with support service information sheets. A method of steps taken before the interviews were to divide the women in four groups of 15 women; 15 women of self-declared experiences of rape, 15 incest, 15 domestic violence and 15 women who did not have experience of sexual violence.

The aim of this was to investigate the range of experiences and absences of experience.A problem became aware of after conducting the first set of interviews was that some ‘women may not necessarily define incidents of sexual violence as rape, incest or domestic violence’ (Kelly). This then meant the way of the interviews had to be changed to whether the women had volunteered on behave of having had experienced rape, incest or domestic violence. 60 women were interviewed and they were taped interviews, from this it resulted to160 hours of tape. Follow up interviews were done to find the reactions and thoughts to the transcript of the original interviews.Between the original interview and the follow up several participants commented and added to the transcripts. ‘The return of the transcripts meant that the women who participated controlled the content of their interview’ (Kelly).

It took 6 months for the write up of the book and findings of the interviews done. Figures and tables were used to present the relevant findings of the data and it presents the detailed findings of the 60 women interviewed of the occurrence of sexual violence.As the interviews were on tape it was difficult to express the reactions and how difficult it was ‘to directly transpose the spoken to the written word’ (Kelly). As of this Kelly used transcription coding to express the way the women would be distressed. Problems that Kelly encountered were ‘possession of knowledge and skills in order to minimize differences between women’ (Kelly). Other problematic distresses occurred as the women wanted for the interviewer ‘to interoperate their experiences to them’.

One source which ‘have been limited to discussions of how to change interviewing techniques’ (Kelly).Liz Kelly used feminist research to establish the findings of her own research. The three core themes of this book are that most women have experienced sexual violence in their lives, there is a range of abusive behaviour from males that women experience and that sexual violence occurs in the contexts of men’s power and women’s resistance. The basic hypothesis of the aim for The Sociology of Housework by Anne Oakley of the study was to conceptualize the housework as work, rather than simply as an aspect of the feminine role in marriage.One of the major findings was the dissatisfaction with housework which from the whole predominated 70% of the women interviewed said that were dissatisfied. The majority of the women interviewed with the assessment of feelings towards being a housewife were dissatisfied. Reason given for the dissatisfaction were the ‘lack of connection appears to be fragmented work’ (Oakley), they are not made dissatisfied by their own predictions.

Some of the women found that loneliness was something that came as a major complaint and that they perceive a ‘low level of social interaction with others’ (Oakley).This shows that the interaction of people in any job is a satisfactory thing in many ways. The fact that they are ‘being one’s own boss’ (Oakley) has come to be a satisfaction to the women.

The one other factor was the low status of the housewife’s role and long working hours they had to put in, ‘housework is the most disliked aspect of ‘being a housewife” (Oakley). From the book Surviving Sexual Violence by Liz Kelly it being impossible for the words and reactions to be described as doing the research only the positive interaction of the women was sustained.The completion of the project showed the interest in trust and support in general participation shown.

‘Moving between the interviews and my own experiences and reactions was an integral point of the research methodology’ (Kelly). Sexual violence is a major factor limiting words, options and choices. ‘Heterosexual relationships and encounters are the site where many will experience patriarchal oppression most directly and intensively’ (Kelly).

From conducting their research and methods used both Anne Oakley and Liz Kelly had set aims before commencing to conduct any research through the women.Oakley chose to interview 40 women and Kelly chose to interview 60 women. Pilot interviews were done for both Oakley and Kelly before the main interviews were conducted. Oakley had chosen ten people for the pilot interviews by ‘simply knocking on doors’ (Oakley). Kelly had carried out her pilot interviews using ‘both academic colleagues and friends’ (Kelly). Oakley’s women were ‘selected form the practice lists of two general practitioners’ (Oakley) and Kelly’s women were volunteers dues to the talks she made, ‘volunteers came as a result of the talks I gave’ (Kelly).

Oakley had conducted phone interviews using medical records and doctors name to introduce main aim of the project whom where picked out by alphabetical order. Kelly had letters sent out to the volunteers to explain procedures before interviews were held. Oakley had divided her women in to two sets of group’s working class and middle class. Kelly had divided her women into three sets of abuse rape, incest and domestic violence. Oakley and Kelly both conducted interviews using tape recorders. Oakley had taped interviews for 2 hours and Kelly had taped interviews for 160 hours.Both Oakley and Kelly had come to terms that the women would complete and be apart of most of the interviews and questions asked.

‘Ask respondents themselves to make the assessments’ (Oakley). ‘Women who participated controlled the content to their interview’ (Kelly). Oakley and Kelly have had similar methods of using their techniques of interviewing but from another aspect it was shown that as well as the interviews done Oakley had conducted multiple choice questionnaires which would be easier for the women, regarding the opinions and attitudes of the housework in general.Kelly had also done a different source by using figures and tables with coding of the distress shown in interviews by the women. Both Oakley and Kelly gained insight into the deep feelings and experiences of the women and found trust with them. Oakley found the nature of the housework through the interviews over the phone with the women and she took much less time to gain important insights into how women feel about housework.

The regimented alteration of sexism in our society is an operation which has to proceed on many different levels concurrently.But beyond these kinds of actions it remains true that one major limit to the possibility of change is the capacity to imagine it. Kelly sort to find that sexual violence is a characteristic feature of all women’s lives and that most research on sexual violence has desertion, or indeed at times misinterpreted the acts of resistance and challenge that women and girls take which display power and strength of mind they have. Seeing the purpose of their research has increased the understanding in order that more appropriate responses can be developed, and wanting in the lives of women.


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