n Mousaion - Die feministiese uitbeelding van die gesin in Marita van der Vyver se boeke vir jong volwassenes

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



The functionalist perspective of the family as a stable and universal institution composed of parents and children living together in relative harmony dominated the sociology of the family in the 1950s and 1960s. The family in Western societies was mainly a patriarchal institution based on traditional gender roles. Over the past decades, the "ideology" of the family as a nucleus has been challenged and opposed in sociological studies by various groups, including feminist sociologists. Traditionally the Afrikaner community has been strongly patriarchal, with the father being regarded as the head of the household, the mother forming the support base and the children being submissive. This patriarchal family formed the foundation of the Afrikaner community. For many years - since the first book was published in Afrikaans - this structure were reflected in Afrikaans books for children and young adults. Only recently alternative family patterns have begun to be reflected in these books. In this article, we focus on the portrayal of the family in books for young adults by the Afrikaans author, Marita van der Vyver, and specifically on how the feminist approach to the family as institution is depicted. In these books there is a marked fragmentation of forms of family life that have previously been taken for granted. The families portrayed here are mostly dysfunctional, restructured families or single-parent families. Van der Vyver's female characters are not trapped in patriarchial relationships and freely make their own choices. There are a greater diversity of gender roles and more fragmentation than have been seen before in Afrikaans literature for young adults.

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