Feminist Approaches to Religion

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Feminist Approaches to Religion
Most women focus on the way in which many existing religions are patriarchal.
Writers like de Beauvoir (1953) and El Saadawi (1980) see religion and religious
ideologies as playing a part in maintaining the male domination over women which
is found in many aspects of today's society.
Religious ideas can seek to control women's sexuality and emphasize their once
traditional roles as partners of men, mothers and carers in the family.
There are different types of feminists who have different attitudes and beliefs about
1. Liberal feminists
These are likely to aim for more equality for women within existing religions.
They seek to remove obstacles that prevent them from achieving authority roles
in society i.e. priests and religious teachers
2. Radical feminists
These tend to see most religions as existing for the benefit of men and attempt
to challenge religion altogether or to reshape it
3. Marxist feminists
These tend to emphasise the Marxist view that religion acts as the `opium of the
people', focussing on the way religion acts as a means of compensating
women, particularly working class, for their double exploitation through their
status as being both working class and women.


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