What Are the Goals of the Feminist Movement Toward Religion? Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1475 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

Feminist Movement and Religion

Analyzing the Relationship between Religion and the Feminist Movement: Cases from the Christian experience

Religion as an important institution in the society has been idealized as apolitical by nature. However, the influence that it wields to society makes it a very important element that creates change and increases the dynamics within society politically. Because of this, it becomes inevitable that religious components in the society interacts and becomes interdependent with society's political components. The relationship between politics and religion, then, has been considered a fixture in the structure of societies for many years.

This nature of relationship between religion and politics is never more evident when discussing the issue of feminism as applied in the context of religion. Feminism, as a political movement that seek to equalize women's rights with that of men, and to provide venue for women to address their special needs in the society. As early as the 19th century, feminism gradually became a popular ideology that influenced and affected the lives of women until the present time. The pursuit for gender equality in the society has been the primary thrust of feminism through its years of development.

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Putting religion in the context of feminism creates an immediate conflict because of the seemingly inherent patriarchal nature of some of the world's dominant religions. Primary of these religions are Christianity and Islam, whose dominance in the Western and Eastern societies, respectively, has created concern for the feminist movement because its practices and beliefs promote the subordinate role and subjugation of women to men. It becomes inevitable, then, that feminism should look critically at these old world religions.

TOPIC: Term Paper on What Are the Goals of the Feminist Movement Toward Religion? Assignment

For the purpose of this research, focus will be on Christianity as an example of a religion that promoted the subordinate roles of women in the society and encouraged the persistence of patriarchy as the dominant social system in the society. Through two cases of how Christianity has affected female sexuality's role in society, a further analysis is developed in this research. The discussion and analysis posit that feminist interpretation of religion, particularly Christianity, has always been criticized for being too radical and irrelevant in the lives of women followers. Unless feminism attains a certain level of relevance to women, it will continue to affect only a small degree of change in the way religious practices recognize gender equality and the special needs of the religion's women followers.

Robert's (2006) case study of Catholic women in Asia and Latin America demonstrated their active participation in the rituals and practices of Catholicism in their country. More specifically, a feminist construction of Catholicism among women in Latin America showed that women played a central role not only in Catholic practices and rituals, but in their communities in general. In illustrating this scenario, the author remarked (181):

Women in popular Catholicism appear to be most active in communal devotions designed to ensure the well-being and health of their families...women dominate several sodalities...In addition to localized prayer groups and rituals, major Catholic pilgrimage sites document female majorities, especially in relation to prayers for family healing and communal well-being.

This experience of Catholicism among women in Latin America provided an overview of the influence and regard that society has for Catholic women in the region. This case offered an alternative picture of the way religions such as Catholicism (or Christianity in general) has created a venue for women to practice their faith in an egalitarian manner as their male counterparts. Similarly, cases in Asia, according to Robert, showed a larger presence and membership among women than men, another case in point that highlighted the fact that women have primarily roles to play in Catholicism as a dominant religion and a strong force in the society.

An opposite case from the experiences of Catholic women in Asia and Latin America was the situation presented by Tinker (2006), wherein the author presented a general view of how Christianity in the Western context has led to the detriment of the women sector in societies that Westerners have colonized, such as the native Indians. Christian missions have promoted the segregation of males from females in terms of their roles and status, wherein Tinker cited that "Victorian gender and class structures" were imposed. Among these gender and class structures include the teaching of women "to be subservient to men generally and White women...to buy in to the sexist structures that had already long insured… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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What Are the Goals of the Feminist Movement Toward Religion?.  (2007, February 25).  Retrieved October 17, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/goals-feminist-movement-toward-religion/527981

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"What Are the Goals of the Feminist Movement Toward Religion?."  Essaytown.com.  February 25, 2007.  Accessed October 17, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/goals-feminist-movement-toward-religion/527981.