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May 1, 2018 / C H Thompson

Feminism and religion

  • Women are also portrayed as morally polluting and sexual predators
  • Women’s bodies, menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth are all seen as taboos
  • Women’s bodies are a source of sin or temptation and must be controlled or covered
  • Sexual pleasure for women is also disapproved of in many religions
  • Women sexuality is seen as being something that should be only linked to reproduction and in the Catholic Church, Muslim and conservative Jews, non-reproductive sexual acts are forbidden
  • Women are seen as only to be the property of their husband – in some versions of Islam, men are allowed up to 4 wives (seen as degrading to women), whereas women who commit adultery are stoned to death.
  • Holm describes the above as the devaluation of women in religion
  • However, Holm (adopting a liberal perspective that aims for equality in existing religions) argues that the position of women has improved in some religions and is on the way to improvement in others
  • She argues women are normally the dominant ones in religious families and do most of the religious works as well as promoting it to their offspring
  • Also the case of being stoned to death may have more to do with the culture than the religious beliefs of those societies


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