AQA SCLY3 Beliefs in Society - Feminist theories of religion

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  • Feminist theories of religion
    • Armstrong
      • Religion has not always been patriatchal.
      • Early history shows women as central to spirituality.
      • The increase of monotheistic (Judaism, Islam) replaced polytheistic religions which portrayed God as male.
      • Sees women's exclusion from the priesthoods of most religions as evidence of their marginalisation.
    • Holms
      • Sacred texts reflect anti-female stereotypes eg. Eve, and usually feature the doings of male gods.
    • Simone de Beauvior
      • Men usually control religious organisations and claim that their authority comes from God.
      • Religion gives them false consciousness - suffering will be rewarded in heaven - to keep them in place.
      • Deceives women into thinking they are equal to men =, when they are lesser.
    • El Saadawi
      • Women are sometimes seriously oppressed in Islamic states - she experienced female circumcision.
      • Such practices are not the result of Islam but the male misinterpretation of the Qu'ran that distort the truth beliefs to justify the exploitation of women.
    • Daley
      • Religion is infused with patriarchal ideology e.g. provides specific rules for females to follow.
    • Criticisms
      • Woodhead
        • it's a sign of liberation that allows them to enter the public sphere without losing their culture and history.
        • 'Religious forms of feminism' to gain greater freedom of respect eg. the hijab - western feminists see this as oppression but for the wearer it symbolises resistance to oppression.
        • WOmen use religion to gain status and respect for the roles within the pr=ivate sphere of the home and family eg. belonging to an evangelical group can be empowering for some women.
        • Women can use religion to increase their power and influence.
        • Women's postition has changed within some religions eg. CofE has permitted woomen's ordination into priesthood
    • Religious organisations are mainly male-dominated despite that women participate more than men.
    • Places of worship segregate the sexes and marginalise women.
    • Religious laws and customs may give women fewer rights than men.


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