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RLG101H5 Chapter Notes -Postfeminism, Feminist Theory, Antonio Gramsci

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Kenneth Derry

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GENDER notes
* Despite decades of debate about feminist (and post-feminist) theory and practice, the
study of religion, culture, and gender is still relatively ‘new’ and ‘innovative’. As Darlene
Juschka (2001: 1)
* the male perspective, and men’s experiences are the central and most important point
of reference
* to education and career systems that favour men’s working patterns, to the writings
and ideas of male academics on their view of what religion is and how it should be
* examples of the ways in which women have come off rather badly in religious cultures
- denigration of women as ‘daughters of Eve’ and progenitors of sin in many Christian
- veiling and separation of women amongst Muslim cultures
- violence against women in practices of female
-genital mutilation within the context of religious circumcision in North Afric
- notorious burning of widows at their husband’s death (sati)
--- rel. is is always profoundly oppressive and harmful to women
*** Mary Daly who argues that the concept of belief in a male deity leads to profound
sexual inequalities.
- We have to start by assuming that what goes for men is not the same as for women
within a particular context (and vice versa).
- Elisabeth Schu¨ ssler Fiorenza (1984) has argued that any study of religion should
be based on a ‘feminist hermeneutics(interpretation) of suspicion’
- The interpretation of it (its hermeneutics) should lead us to read it assuming a male–
female power imbalance, in which women’s voices and experiences have been ignored
or excluded.
-Patriarchy, the organisation of societies so that men tend to exert a large degree of
control and power over women is fairly ubiquitous. A large part of the agenda of
contemporary feminist movements is to make a political, economic, and cultural
challenge to patriarchy
- Mary Daly (1973) – have singled out religion as a basic element of patriarchy, since
many religions seem to give women a particularly hard time.
- Marx-derived perspective argues that the image of god is used by those in power as a
misrepresentation of the struggle of class against class
- This can be reworked as a feminist argument that the male creator god (of Christianity
and other religions) is a tool of the oppression of women
- Such a god is no more than a matter of men writing their political dominance on to
‘heaven’, and the institutions which men produce for such a god, particularly churches,
are key tools for controlling women
- . For Daly, women suffer under male control, and suffer through worshipping a male
god that men have forced on them.
- . In doing so, women’s participation in religious practices and beliefs is a matter of
them participating in their own exploitation and oppression.
- . From this Daly argues that all notions of god are produced by men for these
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