Feminists: Holm- inequality in major religions
- In Christianity/ Catholicism God is portrayed as a male, Jesus' apostles were male and Eve was even portrayed as being created by one of Adams spare ribs. This shows that women are dependant one men
- In Islam: the prophetor Mohammed is male and only men are allowed to make legal judgments because they are seen as more important
- In Hinduism men are the only ones that are allowed to take the more sacred, important and higher titles such as the Brahmin priests
- In Chinese folk men are associated with YONG SPIRITS which means that they are seen as almighty and powerful whereas women are associated with YANG SPIRITS (less powerful)
- In Orthodox Judaism only men can become rabbis and play a full part in religious cereminies.
AO2: Radical Feminists SUPPORT view that women are OPPRESSED
Liberal Feminists argue that women's position in religious org is IMPROVING i.e. Quakerism and Sikhism are religions that have always had EQUALITY.
In Reform Judaism women can become RABBIS since 1972 and the Church of England has allowed the ordination of women and they can become BISHOPS
Simone de Beavoir
He also found that there are gender inequalities and women are more likely to be disadvantaged in religious organisations compared to men. For example, he argues that......
- Men are CENTRAL to religious organisations compared to women. Women can only become central if they remain PASSIVE and they acccept their position in society without trying to change it
- He adopts a view PARALLEL to MARXISTS. He claims that women are kept in a state of false consciousness where they are exploited by men in religion but they are unaware of this because they are promised a better afterlife that will compensate for their suffering. This encouraged women to contrinue believing in religion because they believe life will get better
- He argues that women are DECEIVED into thinking that they are equal to men when this is not the case; they are seen as the SECOND SEX
This shows that women have LESS POWER in religious org's
AO2: However, religion can give women power. In Evangelical groups, women strongly believe that men should respect women. Therefore, they practise what they preach and within the private sphere they try to refrain men from using patriarchal power towards them- empowering
Another way religion is empowring is women joining BIBLE STUDY GROUPS- share experiences with others in similar situations which make them STRONGER
Saadawi is an Eqyption feminist that was concerned with the levels of oppression in Islamic States and the Arab world. She found many scenarious where women were seriously oppressed and she herself has experienced femlae circumcision where parts of her ******** were amputated.
She argued that this was not as a result of Islam itself but as a result of males misinterpretations of the Qur'an, where true beliefs were distorted to legitimate women's exploitation. This shows that women are exploited and treated unfairly
AO2: However, Armstrong argues that religion was NOT ALWAYS PATRIARCHAL. He found that in EARLY HISTORY, many archaelogists have found that women were centre to spirituality and there were numerous symbols of the Great Mother Goddess whereas in comparison, there were FEWER MALE SYMBOLS OF GOD. This shows that women were once centre to religion and there was eqaulity
There is more evidence of gender inequality within religion....
- Women had less rights when it came to how many spouces they were allowed to marry
- They had less rights when it came to dress codes i.e. Muslim women had to wear the hijab and Birchall described this as a 'mobile prison' were it oppressed women
- Jean Paul also argued that muslims saw women as polluting, esc preganant women so they were not allowed to enter sacred places such as mosques
AO2: However, others criticise this and argue that this has been over-exaggerated.
Woodhead criticises feminist views and argues that the hijab is NOT a sign of oppresion but a SYMBOL OF LIBERATION i.e. it allows women to enter the public sphere such as school and work
Watson also claims that women are not oppressed. The hijab is seen as a a way of PROTECTING WOMEN FROM THE MALE GAZE in patriarchal societies
However-based around 3 women only- small sample- lacks external validity and cannot generalise to assume that all women felt that way
Other critisisms of feminists
- Functionalists: they argue that religion BENEFITS EVERYONE EQUALLY
Can inclide Durkheims example of the australian aborgines which unite and benefit the whole tribe
- Marxists: BENEFIT CAPITALISM ie. Marx's concept of false consciousness
Example of The HAlf Caste System in India
- Social change NOT concervative force: Weber's example of the Calvinists