religion and patriarchy

Or else, as noted by Samuel Ryan, ‘oppression runs deep indeed when religion steps in to reinforce it by taking a grip on our conscience and persuading us from within, to kiss our chains and cherish the lashes’.42, The irony of the religious mediation of patriarchy is that women are used as primary agents in accomplishing the patriarchal project of keeping women subjugated to men. Data from the quantitative research elaborates the nexus between religious indoctrination (RI) and gendered consciousness and its impact on women. Lynn Davidman’s study of women affiliating to Orthodox Judaism in the US suggests that women are attracted because of, rather than in spite of, the traditional gender roles on offer: what attracts women is the way in which such religion offers a clear alternative to the confusing and contradictory roles open to women in late modern society. This is illustrated in Fig. In almost all organised religions, restrictions exist over a woman’s choices over her body, sexuality, lifestyle, clothes, and just about everything. Such blatant discrimination can only be normalised and ingrained in the common psyche by evoking the name of God. The religious sensibilities of CSC women correspond to the strong links between gender, religion and the maintenance of the patriarchal order in different global contexts as well. Jessy, an academic opines that the headship of men ought to be the right order of structuring family life because ‘it is better for children’s growth besides being a divinely ordained norm’. © 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Scriptures are mostly written and interpreted by men who tweak and translate them to suit their own vision of the desirable social-order and preferable gender-dynamics in the same. Consequently, patriarchy persists despite women’s higher ranking in gender development indices mainly because it is mediated by religion. In India, religions continue to have a stronghold on women because they are seen as the natural vessels of religion. Susan Rakoczy IHM, “Religion and Violence: The Suffering of Women”, Agenda, 18:61(2004), 29–35,  https://doi.org/10.1080/10130950.2004.9676037, accessed on February 20, 2019. This has a hegemonic impact on women as it normalizes their subordination as divinely ordained. According to the activist, "All religions, and I am very clear in stating all religions, are patriarchal in nature -by the very way they are created and the way they are practiced. Also, Julia Leslie and Mary McGee (ed), Invented Identities: The Interplay of Gender Religion and Politics in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press 2000. ), The Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage, 2007, 550-570. ANOVA with a significance value of .000 supports the positive relation between religious indoctrination and patriarchal notions of decision-making in women. This linking is important because it allows cultures to mark off appropriate femininity associated with procreative sex and motherhood from inappropriate and marginal femininity identified with promiscuity and pleasure. Whereas those with lower primary level of education and with post-graduation or professional degrees have minimal engagement in church activities, it is those from the higher secondary to degree level of education who are more engaged. On the occasion of the annual day celebrations of a Family Unit in a certain parish, a preacher spoke on ‘Women and Family’. May this be a sign of their faithfulness’. A theoretical account of the relations between religion and gender requires then an acknowledgement that both serve to represent, embody and distribute power within society.2. As noted by Nancy Cott, women never challenged the organizational society but rather accommodated themselves to it. Even so, one of the hallmarks of these religions is their view that women ought to be subservient to men in ways that were institutionalized.43. The fear of divine reprisal prevents women from demanding equal rights in religious affairs and a more egalitarian social-order. He is a family loving man, I have three daughters and though he wanted me to continue conceiving until I would give birth to a male child, this could not happen due to my gynaecological difficulties. Women acknowledge experiencing the direct impact of religious indoctrination strongly in the area of sexuality. Such indoctrinations serve to reinforce the patriarchal notions of family life and keep women subjugated in their role as mother within the domesticated space of the household. The initiative in arranging a match is taken by the girl’s family, though kinship and friendship circles continue to play an important role in match-making.20 In the CSC community, marriage is solemnized within a Eucharistic celebration as customary of Catholic marriages. See Vettom Mani, Amara Malayala Nikhandu, Kottayam: Urvashi Publications, 1973, 702 and 707. Religion & Politics: What is the relationship between evangelicalism and masculinity, and what prompted you to write about it? Christine E. Gudorf. The domineering manipulation of Islam with its end goal of a patriarchal or man centric religion succeeded over time, but an in depth study of religion, challenges this notion. Provincial House, Department of Communications, 1995, 68. It is believed that prehistoric societies and belief systems were matriarchal, as evident from their feminine-themed iconography. https://doi.org/10.18848/1833-1882/CGP/v03i03/52558 accessed on February 27, 2019. Underlying the head/heart binary is the complementarity of roles, and here the problematic is that gender roles, ‘even if complementary, occupy very different social locations and are unequally valued’.15 Besides the complementarity politics of the patriarchal demarcation of gender, we also find here an echo of Hegel’s observation of the theological and philosophical attempts to define woman as ‘guardian of the divine law’.16 Since ‘heart’ is meant to be the seat of love, consigning to women the role of the heart places on them an added responsibility to safeguard the moral integrity and stability of the family as an institution. The rationale for such a practice in their opinion is again because it is a biblical injunction in addition to this being a tradition in the community. Also, as per Christian traditions, since Jesus selected only male apostles and did not ordain women, the inclusion of women is not considered desirable. Ephesians 5:23 clearly states that husband is the head of the wife. In his chapter on Hindu fundamentalism, Hawley quotes a telling passage from the Bhagavad Gita in which Arjuna laments that a world in chaos leads to the corruption of ‘women of the family’, and this in turn leads to general social chaos.44 Religion here becomes a protective cover for women and acts as a remote control that directs how women ought to conduct themselves as members of a particular community or religious group to which they belong. Unfortunately, the accompanying social conditions, a handiwork of religious rules and lores, only served to lend some truth to this premise. Hence women are reduced to socially, economically and spiritually inferior beings whose primary role is procreation. She loves tea, music, shopping and travelling – in that order. The profile of the ‘good woman’ becomes an imposing tag on womanhood in the CSC community and, so, they are generally very loyal in keeping religious observances like fasting and abstinence, daily family prayers and the like. Actually I like being religious, but my difficulty is because I feel very guilty to say no to the demands made on me by my husband. Since the male world lacked the institutions to bring to effect moral restraint, the home became the redemptive counterpart to that world, and was supposed to fit men to pursue their worldly aims in a regulated way.19 For decoding the ‘gender politics’ deeply embedded into gender relations in the Syrian Christian community, it is important to examine critically the religious foundations of the CSC marriage. Furthermore, the matriarchal religion is also pantheisticin nature, believing in the omnipresence and omnipotence of the Goddess and Her oneness with universe and nature. Sexuality of women has always been controlled by brahminical patriarchy, ensuring they’re conditioned to feel desire within caste class religion boundaries. Casting the passive obedient Marian figure as the ‘feminine’ ideal gives a religious sanction to women’s restricted growth and vulnerability before abuse. As far as Christianity is concerned, the church services in both the urban and the rural setting continue to be well attended, with women making up the majority of the faithful at these services. This model of marriage and family, along with its sexual norms, gets recognized as not only culturally desirable, but also naturally ordained.38, Theological injunctions transmitted through devotions and other expressions of Catholic piety signals sharply to the power of religion to establish pervasive patriarchal motivations in women. The hegemonic codes of religion with its demands on women’s silence, submission and fidelity reinforce in women the gendered consciousness already present in them from their childhood years. The mother goddesses are the principal divinities, and male gods are worshiped, only as their consorts. Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Jesus, Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet, 165. What can be inferred from this situation is that religion is one their major meaning-making systems in the lives of these women who are primarily housewives in a way that corresponds to their need for social space. Some of the clergy men interviewed as part of my study asserted emphatically about the role of man as the head and the woman as heart of the family based on a gendered theological anthropology that God has created man and woman different, although they are equal in dignity before God. Even so, feminist theorists complain about the gender blindness of sociology of … Through generations, women are conditioned to not only accept, but also gladly embrace, the status of a second-class citizen as assigned to them by their respective belief-system. Christine E. Gudorf. As it is commonly known, many religions, such as Catholic, Christian, and Muslim, do not allow women to serve their church as a model of Jesus, or when it comes to the Muslim religion, Mohammed. One of the most important features of both religion and culture are that they are both linked to power and are described and defined by people in power (because of patriarchy, the people in power are often men). A clear example of this is devotion to Mary, mother of Christ, which is very strong in the CSC community. Search for more papers by this author. The deeper linkages between religious indoctrination and gendered relationships in family life are further brought out in the data from the quantitative research. They are also significant in demarcating the limits of acceptable behaviour and possible attainments associated with masculinity and femininity. CSC women’s experience of religion mirrors the gendered religious ethos of the Indian society at large. Terms in this set (...) Liberal Feminist. Through Mathrudeepthi, the Catholic mothers engage in acts of charity like collection and distribution of food to the needy, providing educational and marital assistance and so on, and they involve themselves more actively in parish works like fundraising by setting up stalls that sell home-made products, church cleaning and decoration. Its biblical value is seen as a rationale behind such a stand, though for some it is relevant because it is their lived experience. Many believe that the advent of Abrahamic religions led to the diminished status of women as far as the religious space is concerned. What Is The Role Of Religion In Furthering The Patriarchal Agenda? In this context, clarifying why women become easy targets of religious hegemonic control is imperative. Women’s readiness to yield to the gendered regimes of religion is again brought out in the affirmation by majority of the women respondents that their primary religious duty is to be a good mother by bringing up children in faith (77.1 per cent). Women who have stronger belief in the religious teachings about wives being submissive to their husbands have scored equally higher in gendered consciousness. The use of hijab, niqab and other forms of veils to ‘protect’ women from the male gaze and possible sexual ‘misadventures’ is well-documented and much debated. So, yes, I do think patriarchy is the prevailing religion of the planet--or to make it more complex, nuanced and intersectional, as feminist bell hooks does, white, capitalist heteropatriarchy is the prevailing religion of … Both Tali Ketu and Mantrakodi are adaptation from the local Hindu customs. If we examine some of the catholic teachings, the sociocultural constructions of women’s identity are reflected in the image of Mary, which is projected then as a model for women, and this serves to reinforce gender stereotypes. Both religion and culture reflect patriarchies and are used to maintain patriarchal structures. Susan Visvanathan, The Christians of Kerala, 108. In a feminist’s life, religion will always have an omnipresent (and sometimes nagging) role, especially if one identifies with a religion or grows up in a religious community. See Anindita Ghosh, “Introduction” in Anindita Ghosh (ed) Behind the Veil: Resistance, Women and the Everyday in the Colonial South Asia, Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2007, 7–11. In feminist theorizing protectionism is an expression of benevolent patriarchy as it entails dependency of the wife on the husband. Domesticity and motherhood are thus inscribed by caste, which women might negotiate and rework to their advantage, but in a structural sense these ideals actively prevent them from imagining a meaningful life outside of the context of the home and family.12, Association between religious indoctrination and gendered consciousness in women. ), The Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage, 2007, 550–570, 556. On checking the motivation behind their religious practices, majority acknowledge that they find strength and healing through their church devotions (68.4 per cent), whereas some attend church services because of social obligation as expected of them in the community (32.6 per cent). Also Read: The Quran Prescribes Hijab For Men, But Of Course We Only Focus On Women. This is largely taken to mean that God entrusted men with the task to ensure that women do not make such foolish mistakes again. This has a spill-over effect on other social indicators as well. Tali is a medal, a pendant with the shape of alila (banyan leaf) with a figure of the cross embossed on it. As the graph indicates, with an increase in religious indoctrination, there is a concomitant increase in gendered consciousness. A malestream Mariology continues to inscribe the sociocultural image of the feminine that sanctifies the marginalization and exploitation of women.41, The idealization of the ‘feminine’ in Mary functions as an obstacle to women’s growth in human qualities such as critical thinking, autonomy, boldness and other traits characteristic of a mature adult personality, qualities that are crucial for their effective participation in the church, and in the wider concerns of society. The involvement of women in church activities other than devotions is another pointer to their engagement with religion. What is ironical is that most of the organised religions of today were not discriminatory to begin with. The choice of particular scriptural texts and the ceremony of ta-liketu21 and mantrako-di22 are specific to Syrian Christians. The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam is the result of Ula Y. Taylor’s comprehensive scholarship on black women’s important choices to build the Nation of Islam (194). A space for you to discuss patriarchy and its influence on religion, spirituality, faith traditions and faith communities. The groom ties the tali around the neck of the bride as a sacred symbol of their marriage bond. This is brought out in the quantitative research as a good number of women respondents opine that they feel obliged to satisfy husband’s every need on bed (73.3 per cent). The profile of the women respondents of the research is indicative of the major role religion plays in their lives. The logic behind denying women the same right, as furnished by some classical jurists, is that ‘the female nature is wanting in rationality and self-control‘. The religious instruction in the ritual of marriage lays bare the caste–gender nexus of CSC theology. Today, more than ever, it is imperative to include women’s voice, experience and expertise into the dynamic process of religious symbol-making, planning and mission responses. Chapter 12: Religion and Patriarchy. Women are associated with nature and mortality, and while older religions valued nature, patriarchal religions value things removed from life on earth, thus creating a hierarchy of gender. Hence the exclusion of women from priesthood continues. 188.165.231.114. There is however, no doubt that women seemed to be revered as the Creator of life during this period, before patriarchy took hold of the narrative and edged out what appears to be, if not matriarchal, then at least an egalitarian belief-structure. This program also highlights the work faith communities are doing to address religion and patriarchy. In the Catholic Church in Kerala, every parish is divided into smaller units of 15–20 families for better pastoral outreach, and these are called Family Units. Despite the fact that religion has the potential to act as a liberative force for women and other oppressed groups, it is evident from the discussion above that in the case of CSC women, religion seeks to legitimate and reinforce the existing gender hierarchy. But this, says Mernissi, is a misinterpretation of the Quran (Muslim people’s main religion text). The fact that patriarchal grip persists regardless of the higher developmental indices of these women is an attestation of the Syrian Christian ethos as a religious system that function as the main support of this enduring patriarchal structure. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Patriarchy and Religion: Built to Oppress Women. They simply accept this discrimination as ‘natural’ and ‘god-ordained’. Attoh, F., “Gender, Religion and Patriarchy: A Sociological Analysis of Catholicism and Pentecostalism in Nigeria” Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 4:14, (2017), 158–170, 158. Dalit living arrangements are relatively flexible with respect to household labour, child care and even sexual propriety than that of the upper and middle castes. ... misunderstanding of Muslims. Hijab, Niqab, veils, sindoor and mangalsutra are all religiously-endorsed tools for showcasing sexual markers. A Call for Submissions - The Good Men Project, تاريخ الهستيريا: كيف يمكن للعلم أن يكون متحيّزا ضد النساء | Kat's Zone, تاريخ الهستيريا: كيف يمكن للعلم أن يكون متحيّزا ضد النساء – Kat's Zone, Netflix Film Review | Paava Kadhaigal: A Heart-Wrenching, Hard-Hitting Anthology, It’s High Time To Call Out Sadhguru And His “Rationalized” Misogyny, The Significance Of Mahad Satyagraha: Ambedkar’s Protest March To Claim Public Water. The Catholic scholar of Islam Louis Massignon stated that the phrase "Abrahamic religion" means that all these religions come from one spiritual source. The book is a collection of chapters on the varied dimensions of a woman’s life in the contemporary Indian society under the larger umbrella concepts of religion and patriarchy. In addition, church is a place where they are ‘free’ to go without having to explain the ‘why’ behind their move. For example, in Islam, the right to instantaneous and unilateral divorce is enjoyed only by men. These ideas and images are mutually constructed; that is, the categories of women and men as types of human beings are portrayed not as freestanding entities but in relation to each other. Women can lead prayers in women-only gatherings as is the general pattern in South Asia, thereby, conforming to the policy of segregation as advocated by the Holy Scriptures. Sexuality and reproductive rights is especially the problem-area with regard to women. The CSC community is no exception to this norm. Mathrudeepthi being an organization for mothers, it aims at helping mothers in fulfilling their maternal and spiritual duties. Early Hinduism, too, is believed to be egalitarian. The spontaneous articulation of these simple women is illustrative of the persuasive power of religious beliefs and practices on them. The women in AkwaIbom State are in a complex Religion is patriarchal Feminists regard religion as a patriarchal institution which reflects and maintains the inequality in society where men dominate. Catholic Syrian Christian religion and patriarchy the Focus of many of the fieldwork of my research would illustrate this.... Jesus, Miriam ’ s very identity and mission in the military, religion,,! Perception of reality is conditioned by religious norms that serve the interests of the wife on the religion and patriarchy... In J. Beckford, & N. J. Demerath III ( Eds is no exception to this norm were not in! 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