Unit 3: Feminist Perspective on Religion

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  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 03-03-13 16:38

Feminism is similar to Marxism: Religion is an instrument of domination and oppression and it perpetuates and legitimizes the status quo. 

They believe that religion props up 'patriarchy.' (this view is shared by both feminists and non-feminist sociologists).

According to Giddens: 'The Christian religion is a resolutely male affair in its symbolism as well as its hierarchy.'

- Women are made in the shadow of men and are therefore secondary: Eve tempted Adam- women have been paying for this sin ever since.

- Feminists believe that Christianity is inherently patriarchal with men made in the image and glory of God and women made in the glory of man.

- New Testament: "Wives be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the Church"

- There are few female biblical characters and occupy a more peripheral space.

- Femalesa in the Bible are defined by their sexuality: "Virgin/ Whore" dichotomy: Mary = Purity, Eve = Sexual manipulation

Armstrong: 'None of the major religious has been particularly good to women'

- They are excluded from key roles

Holm: women play a subservient role and she provides some examples for this:

- Japanese folk religion: Women = responsible for organizing public rituals but only men can participate in public performances.

- Chinese popular religion: Women = associated with Yin and men with Yang <- there are more important and powerful.

- Buddhism: Men = monks and women = nuns- monks are seen as superior.

- Orthodox Judaism: Only males are allowed to take a full part in ceremonies.

- Islam: Men = all religious and legal rulings. In some regions, women are not allowed to enter mosques…


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