Feminist Movement and Religion Analyzing Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Tinker's analysis brings into fore the issue of women subjugation in Catholicism in general, regardless of the cultural context in which Catholicism is applied. Unlike Robert's case, Tinker's presented the other side of the coin, a case in point that explains why there are feminist constructions around the relationship between gender and religion, specifically of Catholicism and its female followers. From the last case, a feminist reading is negotiated, wherein the author questioned the roles imposed upon women by Catholicism. Robert's case further intensified the need to answer Tinker's question, for there actually exists cultures wherein women are not subjugated, but instead, assumed significant roles and functions in their communities. This contrast between two cases under the same religion, Catholicism, illustrated that there is a special need for women whose roles remained relegated to being subordinate to males and still subjected to the rules of patriarchy.

A feminist reading of Tinker's case would benefit women, whose special need is to be recognized and elevated to their rightful status, which is to considered as men's equal. However, one of the primary problems experienced by the feminist ideology was the lack of awareness and perceived relevance that the women sector itself felt that they could actually aspire for a higher status and privilege in their lives through the feminist discourse.

Pears (2006) affirmed that the problem with feminist discourse is that it lacked the relevance that it should show the women sector, which would then prompt them to understand and take action to fight for their special needs and rightful status in the society. Elaborating on this argument, Pears asserted that t]he guiding factor to the engagement and validity of feminisms, feminist and womanist theologies is contextual needs. Radically contextual theology as a response to injustice might engage feminisms as a tool of critical disclosure and move towards justice...Perhaps feminisms should be seen as something much less stable and as open to multiple definitions and developments, as a movement towards critical interrogation and analysis

This passage elucidated on the relevance that the feminist ideology should have on the lives of women, especially those who are governed by their religious faith. This is a vital component in allowing feminism to be the ruling ideology of women, and to achieve their rights and status as equally privileged members of the society. Without this much needed relevance, feminism would cease to be an important system of thinking for women, and may only result to prejudice or lack of receptiveness on the very sector that feminism aims to influence -- the women sector.

Vaggione (2005) furthered Pears's analysis by recommending that sexuality movements such as feminism should take the place of secularism, wherein religion will now be analyzed and developed through a critical discourse of feminism. By this, the author meant that feminist movements have the potential influence to 'enforce and promote the liberation of gender and sexuality,' specifically from under the strict and highly-structured religious institutions that are not receptive to movements that question the gender roles and relations between males and females in its practices and rituals.

This analysis of the relationship between feminism and religion (specifically Catholicism/Christianity) remains a gray area for sociologists and researchers alike, for religions, as political and social forces in the society, can be interpreted as one or the other, or maybe both (as a social and political force). These distinctions would have an impact on the manner in which religion and its practices are interpreted vis-a-vis the feminist framework and discourse. The discussion and analysis provided here, in effect, offers a consolidated analysis of the extant views about the state of feminism as far as its goals towards religion is concerned. The two cases presented showed that though feminism has achieved its goal in some societies, wherein women play significant roles in their religious communities, there are societies that remain fixed and cling to the patriarchal order originally prescribed by the Western branch of Christianity (Catholicism).


Pears, a. (2006). "The problematization of feminisms and feminist informed theologies in the twenty-first century." Political Theology, Volume 7.

Robert, D. (2006). "World Christianity as a Women's Movement." International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Vol. 30, No. 4.

Tinker, T. (2006). "Response to Roundtable Discussion: Native/First Nation Theology." Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.

Vaggione, J. (2005). "Reactive politicization and religious dissidence: the political mutations of the religious." Social Theory…

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