Feminism and Religion

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how is religion used to control and oppress women?

Withing religious organisations

places of worshop

sacred texts

religious laws and customs

regarding sexuality

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Religious organisations?

Mainly male dominated, even though women participate more in religion than men, orthodox judaism and catholicism forbid women to become priests.

Karen armstrong- sees the exclusion of women from priesthood as evidence of their marginalisation.

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Places of worship?

segregation and marginalisation of women in places of worship, women are seated behind screens whilst men occupy the central more sacred spaced.

women participation may be restricted, they arent allowed to preach of read from the sacred texts.

there are taboos surrounding menstration, pregnancy and child birth, they are seen as polluting.

Holm- describes this as the devaluation of women.

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Sacred Texts?

Largely feautre the doings of male gods, prophets- usually written and interpreted by men.

stroies often relfect anti-female stereotypes and reinforced perceptions of womens character

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Religious laws and customs?

women tend to have fewer rights than men i.e in divorce- acess to it. how many times they can get married, and their dres codes etc.

religion also has influence on cultural norms that lead to unequal treatment, i.e genital multilation and punishments for adultery.

many religons legitimate and regulat womens traditions domestic and reproductive role i.e catholic church bans abortion Woodhead- the exclusion of women from priesthood is evidence of the catholic church unease about the emancipation of women generally.

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Who syas religion is patriarchle?

DALEY- christianity is a patriarchle myth. it eliminates other goddess religions. christianity is rooted in male 'sado rituals' with its 'torture cross' symbol. it emobides women hating.

SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR- religion is oppresive to women, used by men to control women. religion compensates women for their second cass status. they get a false belief that they will be rewarded in heaven and gain equallity there.

EL SADAWI- religion isnt oppressive itself, its the male domination of religion that is the problem, this is due to the rise of monotheistic religions which are male dominated and where scriptures are interpreted /written by men

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Religion is not always patriarchle.

WOODHEAD- there are forms of religious feminism where women use religion to gain freedom and respect. it can be a symbol against oppression, it is far from the mobile prison that burchill says. being an evangelical christian can be empowering.

WATSON- interviewed three women about what the veil meant to them, different views but generally positive.

WOODHEAD- respect for roles in the home, can be empowering. men have to respect women and women have the power to influence men.

gener neutral language has been introduced in prayers.

women play significant roles in sects

no longer have to obey in wedding service

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