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Families, Gender Relations and Social Change in Brazil

Introduction

The concept of family and family life has evolved significantly from the traditionally hierarchical and patriarchal structure to innovative modern patterns.

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Theories and Methods Used

  • Feminism provides more plausible explanations and solutions to controversial issues.
  • Postmodernism to explain challenges facing the contemporary family in Brazil.
  • Scholars review existing literature on the topic to accomplish these objectives.

Key Points/Findings

  • The Brazilian family has evolved dramatically include new trends and family arrangements such as legalizing abortion, single-parent families, and other innovative structures.
  • The tension between radical and conservative fractions compromise efforts to translate current family notions into legislations and policies.

Social Ramifications of the Findings

  • The legal prohibition of abortion leads to severe inequalities in Brazilian society.
  • Legacy tensions inhibit the creation of a robust domestic violence strategy.

Lessons Learned from the Reading

  • Progress in social politics is closely linked to the social movements and collective feminist struggles.
  • Class and race issues remain a significant barrier to family-focused laws and policies.

Formal or Informal Implications of the Article

  • Domestic violence suspects should be accurately judged to minimize domestic violence problems.
  • Proposals for supporting the Maria da Penha law rules must be made.

Article Review

The Authors’ Thesis

Adelman and De Azevedo (2012) sought to briefly examine historical forces that are shaping family life and the concept of family in relation to Brazilian society and culture. The central argument of the brief is that the notions of family and family life have undergone significant transformations from the traditionally hierarchical and patriarchal structure to innovative modern patterns. The authors further assert that transforming these changes into laws and policies remains a serious challenge. They draw on the present tendencies and inconsistencies in the family arrangements revealed by the Brazilian family policy to support their thesis. The authors argue that families faced constant “family hardships” rounded off in the late twentieth-century social and cultural changes century in Brazil (Adelman and De Azevedo, 2012). The traditional Brazilian family has been replaced with new unique forms such as single parenthood, heterosexual unions, collaboration, and other configurations.

Theories and Methods Used

The authors examine Brazil’s historical vicissitudes as a form of representation and society. Adelman and De Azevedo (2012) approach this issue from a feminist theoretical perspective. They believe that this theory provides more plausible explanations and solutions to controversial issues such as abortion and new family arrangements such as gay and lesbian couples. Besides that, the authors draw on postmodernism to explain the challenges facing the contemporary family in Brazil. The scholars conduct a comprehensive review of existing literature on the topic to accomplish these objectives.

Main Points Used to Support the Thesis

The authors discuss three specific issues, the Maria da Penha Domestic Violence Law and legalizing abortion. They also discuss a new debate on a bill established to offer legal status to homosexual relations. Authors also provide testimonies to the tensions between mechanisms supporting restrictive family definitions, connected with the dominance of men and heterosexuality. One key point of the brief is that the Brazilian family has evolved dramatically include new trends and family arrangements such as legalizing abortion, single-parent families, and other innovative structures. The concept of heterogamy falls within these ‘innovative’ family arrangements. The term describes a marital relationship between two people who exhibit marked differences in a specific criterion. The couples may differ based on their racial or ethnic background, religion, gender, and sexual orientation, among other characteristics. Heterogamy is the complete opposite of homogamy, which refers to a union in which both partners are identical based on a specific criterion. Homosexual and lesbian couples are perhaps the best examples of heterogamy in contemporary Brazilian society, and other countries throughout the world are gay marriages.

Another finding is the tension between radical and conservative factions that hold conflicting opinions about controversial issues such as abortion and gay marriages. On the one hand, some government agencies work closely with several social movements in an effort to amend laws and policies decriminalize abortion and other radical ideas in modern Brazilian society. On the other hand, conservative groups that are often connected to organized religion strongly oppose such legal and policy changes and seek to maintain the status quo in relation to the notions of family structures and what men, women, and gender relations ought to be. These disagreements, whose roots can be traced to the 1980s, compromise efforts to translate current family notions into legislations and policies.

Social Ramifications of the Findings

Legal prohibition of abortion leads to physical and psychological problems and consists of severe societal, race-related, and economic inequalities, symbolizing today’s community and life in Brazil. Also, this prohibition invokes solidly fixed way of living concepts relating women to breeding and motherhood that all influence political conflicts around the issue. In Brazil, the Second Wave of Feminism was born from abroad and different social struggles, but it was marked by specific challenges coming out of the climate of suppression. The publication in 1974 of various periodicals dealing with feminist issues can be seen as the first apparent manifestations. Although needy and factory-laborer women frequently played a leading role in agrarian and non-rural confrontation to autocracy and social rights demands, the rise of feminist perspectives illuminated women’s requests under the basis of contemporaries.

A major problem in building a domestic violence strategy was the sex perspective of those who work in the legal system. Male and female prosecutors and lawyers face a naturalized view of the “need/wish for a husband” of women, which is also likely to place “marital failure” on the women’s side. Traditional family values and their sexual division of responsibilities and work have a solid legal basis. It is challenging to understand gender-based violence among families and often express themselves as judgmental, blaming women for exercising their rights.

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Maria da Penha law promoted the formation of specific criminal tribunals. However, this statute provided an alternative sanction model for crimes that were considered “less offensive” for conciliatory conflict resolution. The first reason was to create a special criminal court. These courts were the main complaints, especially in “minor aggression” cases and menaces,’ at special women’s stations (Adelman and De Azevedo, 2012). This is mainly because no specific legislation has been adopted about this form of offense. This, however, introduced means to deal with women’s violence that was contrary to the plan of feminists and the previous fights.

Social movements that have deliberately articulated egalitarian expectations in a “mediated” and globalized context, as well as cultural alterations and contradictions, helped to push Brazilian families’ forms into the global ‘post-modern’ direction of increasing heterogeneity. Scholars such as Vaitsman (1994) have questioned the role of gender in forming advanced means for how individuals develop links with family, children, and partners (as cited in Adelman and De Azevedo, 2012). The dissociation of procreation and gender has demonstrated this. The growth of different sexual desires and enactments that cover young and adult people at various life stages has become ever more openly recognized. Other trends include the growing unpredictability of heterosexual unions and other forms of conflict between individual aspirations. Although deeply affected by race, urban, and rural variances, plurality and flexibility are on the agenda.

The Critical Problems or Weaknesses of the Article

One of the article’s critical problems is that it discusses the legalization of abortion to support motherhood but does not address abortion complications. Also, the article does not address prevention measures of unwanted pregnancies but discusses how to handle them through abortion. Moreover, this article discusses how to handle domestic violence against women through legislation. However, it does not discuss how domestic violence can be dealt with from a religious perspective. Despite experience from other countries that domestic violence can be handled through conducting a couple of seminars and giving advice, the article sticks to legislation as the only way to handle domestic violence against women.

The widespread application of Law 9.099/1995 has also reduced the Women Special Stations activity, which no longer investigates the charges. Fines and alternative punishments have often been counter-productive and make it easier for aggressors to stop new crimes. 70% of all the Special Tribunal cases consisted of household violence, of which 50% were finished without criminal allegations being brought to justice (Adelman and De Azevedo, 2012). In short, this scenario advanced the culture of unpunishment and re-privatized household violence in addition to giving the victim no genuine assistance.

Lessons Learned from the Article

A critical takeaway from this article is that increased social, cultural, political, and legal disputes will continue to be the challenging terrain for gender and family issues in Brazil and other countries in the entire world. Progress in social politics is closely linked to the social movements and collective struggles aimed at redefining relations of gender and transforming thinking ways about people, women, bodies, sexuality, the family, and the links between people. Another salient insight from this reading is that class, and race-related issues remain a central part of the current disputes and debates about new notions of family life in Brazil. The Brazilian society and culture harbor a historical legacy that continues to define the country’s inequality.

Formal or Informal Implications of the Article

In formulating specific legislative reform proposals, the focus ought to be on the status of women who suffer domestic violence. Domestic violence suspects should be accurately judged to minimize domestic violence problems. In the context of systemic legal systems, proposals for supporting the Maria da Penha law rules must be made. Institutional practice and judicial decision regulation should remain essential to operate in the entire legislative system and all areas of the law.

The distinct corporate, economic, and lifestyle changes have unmistakably been the result of women taking part in the social and political movement, which took part in the transition from the army rule in the 1970s to the democracy of Brazil in the 1980s and the ongoing institutional processes and policymaking processes. We conceive of ongoing characters as the “fourth wave,” as described as a gendered procedure of democratic institutionalization and policymaking, and as a revitalization of a high-class women’s rights agenda under the effect of transnational women and globalization.

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Reference

Adelman, Miriam, and Mariana Corrêa De Azevedo. 2012. “Families, Gender Relations and Social Change in Brazil: Practices, Discourse, Policy.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 21 (1): 65-74. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Families, Gender Relations and Social Change in Brazil'. 23 July.

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