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religion and patriarchy

Their participation, too, was resented by those who preferred to uphold the barriers of patriarchy … Classical jurists believe that female nature lacks rationality and Self-Control and hence women shouldn’t be given equal rights as men. Patriarchal religions revolve around a male god, and “superior beings” are created through the union of “a divine male and a mortal female”. Both Tali Ketu and Mantrakodi are adaptation from the local Hindu customs. 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. As noted by Nancy Cott, women never challenged the organizational society but rather accommodated themselves to it. Taliketu is a common practice among most of the Indian communities, but putting the mantrakodi is something unique to the Syrian Christian community. 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. As is clear from the graph, there is a direct relation between religious teaching on wives’ submission and gendered consciousness, and ANOVA with a significance value of .000 supports this inference. A concrete example of this is the custom of women covering their heads in the church. 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). Do Policies For Women To Improve Social Indicators Empower Them? What we can infer from this pattern of reading and viewing of channels is that in accessing religious media, both women and men allow religion to play a formative role in shaping their consciousness, which in turn serve to reinforce their conformity to its gendered prescriptions in a manner that informs their social choices and actions. Many believe that the advent of Abrahamic religions led to the diminished status of women as far as the religious space is concerned. In some communities of India, within a caste inscribed patriarchal framework, women are expected to cover their heads as a sign of their respect for men, mainly for the elders of the 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. Islam and Patriarchy - and why it's important to understand Understanding cultural and religious differences is an important step in making a better world. Chapter 12: Religion and Patriarchy. I have the difficulty of a lowering uterus, a condition that gives me physical discomfort. 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. that two factors have sustained patriarchy and encouraged female subjugation and intimidation. As Linda Woodhead argues, a group which has a great deal of social power may call on sacred power to enhance, extend, legitimate and normalize that power. Religion being one of the greatest identity markers of communities across the globe, it plays a decisive role along with other social factors such as caste, class and ethnicity in the construction of gender identity.3 The interplay of gender and religion is a key factor in the politics of social definition, in the ascription of social space and in the shaping of women’s consciousness. 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. Patriarchy and Religion: Built to Oppress Women. The latter get special rights and privileges on account of being ‘naturally’ superior to their female counterparts. As brought out in the data, majority of women respondents engage in reading popular religious literature like evangelical magazines and books (57.9 per cent), whereas only a lesser number read spiritual literature of a meditative nature (29.6 per cent) and engage in theological reading (27.1 per cent). It was probably before men moulded the religion to suit their patriarchal leanings. These include: religion and traditional culture. In such communities, women cover their heads even within the household in the presence of men. 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. From the data, it is evident that women are vulnerable to religious indoctrination than men as they are expected to participate in religious services like the Eucharist, prayer meetings and retreats. The association between gendered consciousness (GC), religious indoctrination (RI) and patriarchal notions of body and sexuality (BS) is further explained using Correlation. The Catholic scholar of Islam Louis Massignon stated that the phrase "Abrahamic religion" means that all these religions come from one spiritual source. STUDY. © FII Media Private Limited | All rights reserved. Davidman’s data suggests that women are attracted by the whole package of nuclear familial domesticity which is advocated by contemporary forms of Orthodox Judaism, including the idea of a husband who will be a companionate protector-provider and protect women from the dangers posed by family breakdown. God is depicted as a man. In this context, clarifying why women become easy targets of religious hegemonic control is imperative. This is done by reading the experiences of Catholic Syrian Christian women using a feminist lens. Religious institutions such as the church play a crucial role in mediating these belief systems as women frequent these spaces without major restrictions. In a context like India, the intersectionality of religion, caste and gender buttress the prevalent gender order as brought out in the life experiences of CSC women. 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. The reading habits of women and men with regard to religious literature in the CSC community also signal to a gendered outlook. The data from quantitative research, which points to 60 per cent of the men considering that the good woman is always obedient, is an indication of the internalized religious injunction of men having the right to ‘rule over’ women. For example, with the advent of Islam, women came to enjoy a kind of autonomy that was unheard of in the pre-Islamic Arab. The graph is indicative of the influence of religious indoctrination to position women within a gendered framework,35 and this has direct implications on their conjugal life. A space for you to discuss patriarchy and its influence on religion, spirituality, faith traditions and faith communities. It seems that eventually every religion or organised belief-system was hijacked by vested interests to further their own patriarchal agenda. This shows how gender stereotyping has acquired a normative value in women’s lives thanks to the Syrian Christian religious indoctrination which affirms man’s position as the ‘head’ of the family and, consequently, idealizes and glorifies vidheyathvam (respectful submissiveness) as the characteristic mark of ‘womanliness’. This has a spill-over effect on other social indicators as well. ), The Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage, 2007, 550-570. Susan Visvanathan, The Christians of Kerala, 108. Their natural realm is the home and their duty is that of a home-maker. Incidentally, the Supreme God in all religions is always envisioned as a male. See Woodhead, “Gender Differences in Religious Practice and Significance” in J. Beckford, & N. J. Demerath III (Eds. The problematic with such practices is that women continue religious practices in a naive manner, being oblivious about its consequences on their personhood and transmit traditions that reinforce their subjugation. The messages and structures of culture and religion are then reinterpreted to meet the new conditions. This is also the reason why women are denied entry to places of worship when they are menstruating. andee … Even so, feminist theorists complain about the gender blindness of sociology of … Sadhguru uses all kinds of stereotypes to prove that the world requires a balance of roles and activities between men and women. This tendency of ‘patronising’ and ‘guiding’ is not restricted to Islam. The nuptial symbolism of Christ and the church is highlighted here, the bridegroom representing Christ and the bride representing the church,23 which is clearly a mediation of the patriarchal ideology of marriage. Even though ta-li is supposed to be a symbol of unity in marriage, the fact that it is a one-sided symbol—the bridegroom tying it on the bride—makes it a patriarchal symbol. The role of religion in strengthening patriarchy in society is all too obvious. Columnist Katha Politt has suggested in ‘Free Inquiry‘, a publication of the Council for Secular Humanism, that religion is the ‘original‘ rule book of patriarchy. Tali is a medal, a pendant with the shape of alila (banyan leaf) with a figure of the cross embossed on it. Indeed, if patriarchy is the social normal, it is largely because it derives its legitimacy from religion, the most important rule book pertaining to societal do’s-and-don’ts in any community. The organization prioritizes spiritual activities like conducting prayer services that include the Rosary, abstinence prayers, Bible study, Liturgy preparations and so on. Both religion and culture reflect patriarchies and are used to maintain patriarchal structures. This ‘comforting valorization of motherhood’10 could be linked to a ‘naturalness’ attributed to procreative sex, and this in turn serves to reinforce patriarchal notions of what is appropriate femininity. Association between the religious teaching on wives’ submission to husbands with gendered consciousness. Religion is often seen as institutionalizing and perpetuating patriarchy, thus frustrating many advocates for women’s rights and equality. On the occasion of marriage, both husbands and wives are reminded: ‘Therefore as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be submissive to their husbands in everything. They paint women as physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually inferior to men. However, on asking women if they are happy with this ‘divinely ordained’ arrangement of relationships between the sexes, many respond negatively. On the other hand, this division keeps together men and women of particular groups and thereby reinforces caste, community and even national divisions.18. 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 … Part of Springer Nature. The Christ-church nuptial symbolism emphasized in the ritual alludes indirectly to the ‘pati dev’ (the husband taking the place of God in a woman’s life) ideology of caste Hinduism, which also implies the pativrata ideology, as women are expected to be submissive wives. Nancy F. Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman’s Sphere” in New England, 1780–1835, New Haven, and London: Yale University Press, 1977, 67–69, 97–98. Karen Armstrong in her book Islam: A short History has pointed out that ‘the women of the first Ummah in Medina took full part in the public life’. Gender theorists observe that religion matters for concerns such as the ratio of females to males in educational enrolment, the female adult literacy rate, the use of contraception and the UNDP Gender-Related Development Index, as well as for opportunities for women in the paid workforce and in parliamentary representation. This was after Adam and Eve consumed the forbidden fruit; a folly for which Eve was categorically held responsible. Christine E. Gudorf. For instance, Dalit and ‘lower’-caste women are sometimes prone to refer to procreative sex and motherhood as burdens that have to be borne, as onerous responsibilities that they sometimes resent, that is, they do not celebrate these experiences, or appear to consider them as particularly valuable. Ours was a very religious family, we girls studied in convent schools and from childhood we were constantly reminded to be very God fearing and faithful to our religious duties. However, that does not appear to be true. Lk 15: 11–32. The problematic of the nexus between religious indoctrination and gendered consciousness is that women tend to take male supremacy as a ‘natural order’ primarily because it is legitimized through religious mediation. Over 10 million scientific documents at your fingertips. The CSC community is no exception to this norm. Thus it should not be surprising that the treatment of gender in religions and cultures has changed throughout history. Consequently, obedience becomes the characteristic virtue of a ‘good woman’.33. 2. See Bhagavad Gita 1.41 cited in Hawley, “Hinduism: Sati and its Defenders” in John Stratton Hawley (eds) Fundamentalism and Gender, 79–110, 103. Gender, religion and patriarchy are seen as foundational social constructs operating at the basis of social organization of society.1 Religion is generally seen as a constitutive part of the ‘gender order’ in any given society, as it plays a decisive role in shaping women’s lives and in legitimizing their social subordination. In India, religions continue to have a stronghold on women because they are seen as the natural vessels of religion. ANOVA with a significance value of .000 supports the positive relation between religious indoctrination and patriarchal notions of decision-making in women. 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. 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. 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. Why, otherwise, in an institution having two people as partners, would only one partner be expected to ‘showcase’ their marital status and, hence, sexual exclusivity. As John Hawley observes, by seeming to commodify or individualize women, removing them from their archetypal roles, modern society strikes a dangerous blow. Search for more papers by this author. This is significant in a context where women’s mobility is constantly controlled through restricting interrogations. This has a hegemonic impact on women as it serves to normalize and justify their subordination as something divinely ordained and hence cannot be questioned. In Islam, women cannot lead prayers as ‘imams’ in mosques and in mixed gatherings. Mathrudeepthi is a well-organized network at the parish and diocesan level that serves to contain women in the gendered mould of the glorified feminine. The theological significance of this parable in the scriptural setting is to show the unconditional love of God as a father who welcomes the repentant sinner wholeheartedly like the father of the prodigal son.17 But this is conveniently misinterpreted to drive home a patriarchally biased message to women that their primary responsibility is to be at the service of the well-being of the family. Down through the ages, women have been socialized to believe that they are the guardians of morality and faith and it is their divinely ordained responsibility to transmit religio-cultural traditions in all its purity. Women tend to believe that the suffering that is intrinsic to their gendered condition is virtuous and divinely ordained. Gender, Religion and Patriarchy. Interrogating the rationale behind this ‘special’ role allotted to women as ‘heart’ of the family in the CSC Christian framework is of critical import for clarifying the politics of gender complementarity. The women in AkwaIbom State are in a complex The tension between religion and gender equality is a See M. Mundadan, The Syro-Malabar Church, Kalamasserry: S.H. What is expected of the wife is the stridharma—marked by feminine loyalty, availability and devotion to the husband, as in brahminical Hinduism. Going to church everyday was a practice begun at home and this has continued even after marriage as my husband’s family is also very religious. In a similar vein, CSC women uncritically endorse anti-woman religious practices because that is the custom. Most religion is patriarchal at its core. In the matriarchal society, polytheism, meaning the worship of several deities, is widely practiced. Hence, to view religion simply as a benign ‘sacred canopy’ over society is to ignore the ways in which religion (s) can and do play active roles in: reinforcing and legitimating dominant power interests; generating resistance to dominant power; resourcing groups with little social power; resourcing reconfigurations of power.31 Since patriarchal ideology is founded on a basic principle that men have the right to ‘rule over’ women, when this is legitimized through scriptural backing, it has a binding effect on women’s psyche, particularly on their autonomy. Provincial House, Department of Communications, 1995, 68. An anecdote in the course of the fieldwork of my research would illustrate this point. https://doi.org/10.18848/1833-1882/CGP/v03i03/52558 accessed on February 27, 2019. Ukpong observed that: religion is the strongest element in the society and exerts probably the strongest influence upon the thinking and life of the people [6]. Unfortunately, the accompanying social conditions, a handiwork of religious rules and lores, only served to lend some truth to this premise. When women began joining the freedom movement, the chains of patriarchy started loosening further. Further, it is noted that religion matters not only for cultural attitudes but for the opportunities and constraints on women’s lives.4 This is more so because women who are religious tend to assimilate and observe dogmatically the gendered prescriptions of religious traditions, beliefs and practices in an uncritical manner without being conscious of its detrimental effects on their growth as persons. 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). Mathrudeepthi being an organization for mothers, it aims at helping mothers in fulfilling their maternal and spiritual duties. What is alarming is how deeply this religiously-endorsed patriarchy is seeped into the common psyche and behaviour. Having imbibed the sociocultural patterns of thought that subjugate them, they become transmitters of the very norms that infantilize them. Christine E. Gudorf. The spontaneous articulation of these simple women is illustrative of the persuasive power of religious beliefs and practices on them. Having internalized vidheyathvam, the Syrian Christian women collaborate actively in the maintenance the domination-dependency paradigm as a pattern for man-woman relationships in the family. Whether visiting a temple or being part of local practices of worship, or attending Sunday masses regularly, women display a zealousness and faith that render the temple and church intimate spaces in which they feel at home. Not affiliated Only a minority of female respondents do not engage in any specific parish activity (16.25 per cent). My husband is bent on having sex regularly, but on moving into my fifties, I am finding it difficult to satisfy him to his liking. According to Genesis 3:16, God told Eve that ‘…the husband will rule over you‘. Also, Julia Leslie and Mary McGee (ed), Invented Identities: The Interplay of Gender Religion and Politics in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press 2000. Women are considered the original sinners and it has been taught that women are deceptive temptresses and not much else. PLAY. That is because all religions are reflections of the societies which invent them, and most societies are still deeply patriarchal in their power structures. Church involvement being a gendered activity in the CSC community becomes apparent from this data as Pothu Yogams are platforms where important matters concerning the parish are discussed and decided and it is not considered important that women participate in these meetings. The role modelling of parents also has a decisive impact on them. Sexuality and reproductive rights is especially the problem-area with regard to women. © 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. What Is The Role Of Religion In Furthering The Patriarchal Agenda? In the case of men, 25 per cent of the male respondents reported not having any specific church involvement, whereas 55 per cent participate in Pothu Yogam (public assembly) of the parish. Though having no direct reference or endorsement in the Hindu scriptures, Sati was largely practised among certain Hindu communities because it conformed to the general idea of an ‘ideal’ wife as epitomised by Goddess Sati who immolated herself because she was unable to bear the humiliation heaped on her husband, Lord Shiva, by her father. Patriarchy continues to be observed, reproduced, and resisted in other social institutions including the military, religion, and the media. Even so, feminist theorists complain about the gender blindness of sociology of religion as a discipline. ), The Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage, 2007, 550–570, 556. Cite as. While frequenting church services is apparently a desired engagement for CSC women, their involvement in church activities like cleaning and decoration, participation in family unit prayers and Mathrudeepthi meetings shows an interesting correlation with the level of their education. 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. 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. Religious practices then become culturally patterned attempts to access ‘higher powers’ in order to prevent crises and to cope with them when they have occurred.8. Program events reflect themes decided on by a diverse committee of staff, students and faculty. Such blatant discrimination can only be normalised and ingrained in the common psyche by evoking the name of God. 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. Nishat is a probationary deputy collector by profession, an avid reader by choice and a writer by default. This is a source of constant conflict in our otherwise ‘happy’ marriage. In the religious sanctioning of the home as the ideal space for women, we see also the inside/outside dyad that informs life practices in the most fundamental ways. 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And possible attainments associated with masculinity and femininity fulfilling their maternal and spiritual duties a minority of female do... This tendency of ‘ patronising ’ and ‘ god-ordained ’ consumed the forbidden fruit ; a folly which! Roles relating to it I have the difficulty of a lowering uterus a! Patriarchal agenda community also signal to a gendered outlook Read: the Quran Prescribes hijab for men but! Feminist theorizing protectionism is an expression of sexuality gendered consciousness patriarchy and Capital Accumulation, 40 may this be sign!, tradition in a context where women ’ s very identity and mission in the early of... Teaches that men are the principal divinities, and the media elaborates nexus... And male gods are worshiped, only as their privilege very strong in the identity of... Twenty one, on the husband and women gender hierarchy existence, the Syro-Malabar church, Kalamasserry:.. 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Jul 20, 2014 Originally posted at PopularResistance.org and gave himself for it ’.24 central feature of the remain...

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