Material Girls #4 – The Family

On this episode of Material Girls, we take a look at the nuclear family from an anti capitalist feminist perspective.

So many of us grow up in nuclear families, and raise our own children in them, that it’s easy to think that we always organised our lives this way. In reality, the origins of the family are closely tied to the development of capitalism – the nuclear family is an efficient unit for producing and reproducing the workforce. This unit requires a high degree of social control and oppression to function. As a result, women are far more likely to be raped or abused by members of their own family than by a stranger. On a day to day basis, women take on a disproportionate amount of the domestic labour involved in family-making. It’s no surprise, then, that marriage improves mens’ life expectancy, and diminishes womens’.

We want a world with more love, more care, and more bonds, where we don’t have to stay with a partner because we can’t afford to live alone or with friends. In that case, what options do we have? We discuss ways we could extend the idea of ‘kin’ to people outside of the couple, and how this might allow us to live beyond the family to the benefit of all of us.

We’re looking for guests who’d like to join in the discussion or be interviewed. We’d particularly love to hear from women of colour, black women and trans women, who are not represented by our regular hosts. You can also let us know if you’re doing some feminist organising that you’d like us to plug, especially if it’s happening outside of London. Email us at

Links to recommended reading –

The Anti-Social Family

Full Surrogacy Now

Welcoming The Newcomers

The Occupied Times Sylvia Federici interview

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