Second Shift Arlie Hochschild and Reaction Paper

Excerpt from Reaction Paper :

For instance, in looking at the case of Frank and Carmen Delacorte, a couple that both works to make ends meet within the family, while both couples bring in significant paychecks, Carmen attempts to alter the view of her work within the home to meet the couple's traditional ideologies. While Carmen brings in a significant portion of the family's earnings, she feels the need to fake incompetence and act in a manner submissive to her husband in order to make him feel he has met his standards in enacting the role of the traditional male within the family. In her belief that her equal contribution to her family does not measure up to that of her husband's, Carmen aligns herself with the gender roles that have traditionally been placed upon her by society

A far more contemporary view of the second shift structure within the two-career home is seen in Chapter 8 in viewing the case of the Steins. Both lawyers, Seth and Jessica aim to have an egalitarian household in terms of finances and the second-shift, although Seth's alignment with this ideal is not as strong as Jessica's alignment. While such an existence may seem to be ideal for most contemporary families, the fact remains that the Steins are able to balance their roles with their included heavy reliance on paid help for housework and childcare needs (Hochschild and Machung, 2003, p126-129).

Chapter 10 focuses again on a mainly egalitarian family -- the Alstons -- who assert themselves to sharing both the work and the household needs. However, as in so many situations, Carol, the wife often finds herself cutting back in her work and stepping up considerably to care for the children. In this chapter, it becomes clear the resilience...
...Hochschild and Machung note that the inability for many men to accept the fact that women's roles have changed faster than men's roles contributes largely to marital tension and can ultimately be the catalyst that leads to divorce. The authors then take the focus to men who are willing to take on the duties of the second shift, nothing that this minority hold an opinion far different than those men who generally have restrictive ideas about what it means to be a good father, including the real needs of their children and mistaken ideas about how their children are cared for (Hochschild and Machung, 2003, p. 238-40).


In viewing Hochschild and Machung's work, it is clear to see that although the roles of women in terms of the workforce and the family have changed significantly over the years, men have generally been lax in accepting this fully. While women continue to rise up to meet their male counterparts in the home in terms of their economic contribution, the fact remains that they must continue to rise far beyond their husbands in terms of taking on the second-shift duties that have largely been attributed to the traditional role of the woman. Though this fact remains a hard one to accept, especially in the minds of feminists, the fact remains that women must continue to take on larger roles to compensate for lacking action by husbands and rise up to the challenge of contributing to the home in ways and effectiveness that would make the average traditionalist man's head spin should he be given these tasks for even one day.


Hochschild, Arlie and Machung, Anne. The Second Shift. New…

Sources Used in Documents:


Hochschild, Arlie and Machung, Anne. The Second Shift. New York, NY: Penguin,

2003. Print.

The Second Shift

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