Evaluate Feminist Views On The Role Of Religion In Society Today. (33 Marks)

1382 words - 6 pages

Evaluate feminist views on the role of religion in society today. (33 marks)

Feminists argue that in religion there is evidence of an oppression against women. Feminists highlight four main ways in which religion oppresses and subordinates’ women, these are: Sacred texts (feature predominantly male gods and profits as well as being written and interpreted by men. Women in sacred texts are presented in a negative light.); Places of worship (There are often rules preventing women from participating fully, for example, in Islam, women are not able to touch the Qur’an); Religious organization and hierarchy (male dominated- Orthodox Judaism and Catholicism forbid women to become priests); ...view middle of the document...

Marginalisation is the process in which individuals or entire communities of people are systematically blocked from (or denied full access to) various rights, opportunities and resources that are normally available to members of a different group. In this case, how women experience social exclusion from men. However, the feminist movement has shed light to these inequalities and society is changing accordingly. The church of England allowed women vicars back in 1944 and more recently in 2014 Libby Lane was their first women bishop. Although not all religions are as open minded it does show that social change is happening and gender equality is being dealt with. Feminist views of religion are still very useful, until all religions deal with gender inequality the feminist movement is needed to uncover the issues and suggest ways to liberate women and not to oppress them.

On the other hand, not all feminists believe that religion oppresses women. Difference feminists argue that this view is dominated by the white middle class and is therefore ethnocentric. For example, many feminists and the Western media often portray the hijab as a symbol of oppression and slavery of women. This sexist angle of viewing the hijab reflects the influence of Western feminists who are subconsciously reacting to the Judea-Christian concept of veil –– “the symbol of woman’s subjection to her husband”, however Islamic/ Muslim women believe it is a form of liberation. Many young women today are choosing to wear the Niqab without pressurising by any male or female family members. They believe that it gives them a voice and people have to judge them for who they are and not what they look like. The concern about women wearing the Niqab is no longer due to oppression by men but now it is a target of racial abuse. Many western cultures find it threatening and assault women wearing it. This therefore shows that feminism needs to acknowledge all cultures and respect that not all women feel oppressed by their religion. The new focus has to be on how society views and treats religion to remove racism from society. However, it must be noted that although Muslim women may choose to wear the veil and feel liberated for doing so, oppression in religion cannot be ignored. In Islam, women are considered dangerous both sexually and in other ways. Therefore, they believe that women should not be allowed to have any authority in society other than in their roles as wives and mothers; Islam’s prophet says: “There is no salvation for a man or a nation who allows women to rule over them”. This means that women’s freedom must be restricted, and some say one way this is shown is through the use of the Niqab, in order for men not to be wrongfully tempted.

Additionally, Feminist views on religion are important as they illustrate the gendered expectations that religion teaches. In the majority of the world’s major religions, women are deemed to be inferior to men. Women are seen as...

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