Although there are no conclusive evidence to support this theory—yet there are debates in the academic circle with regard to the significance of these icons, with some believing that it points to a matriarchal belief-system in the said period while others believing that these images of women were actually nothing but prehistoric pornography. The latter get special rights and privileges on account of being ‘naturally’ superior to their female counterparts. 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). 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. 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. In almost all organised religions, restrictions exist over a woman’s choices over her body, sexuality, lifestyle, clothes, and just about everything. Linda Woodhead, “Gender Differences in Religious Practice and Significance”, 558. © 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. A space for you to discuss patriarchy and its influence on religion, spirituality, faith traditions and faith communities. ... misunderstanding of Muslims. Incidentally, the Supreme God in all religions is always envisioned as a male. Religion is often seen as institutionalizing and perpetuating patriarchy, thus frustrating many advocates for women’s rights and equality. When women began joining the freedom movement, the chains of patriarchy started loosening further. This is illustrated in Fig. 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. They simply accept this discrimination as ‘natural’ and ‘god-ordained’. Whatever reasons may be cited for the use of these ‘markers’ of sexual exclusivity and whatever arguments given in support of the same, it is but very obvious that the end-motive of the use of these markers is to rein-in and ‘protect’ the sexuality of women. Talking about the fundamentalist gender ideology in the New Religions of Japan, Helen Hardacre observes that unlike Christian, Muslim and Hindu fundamentalism where the principal religious activists are overwhelmingly male, many of these religions are led by women. All religions are fundamentally patriarchal and anti-woman. The role modelling of parents also has a decisive impact on them. In Mulieris Dignitatem, women are exhorted to seek help from Mary ‘to see how virginity and motherhood, two paths in the vocation of women as persons, explain and complete each other’ (MD 17). Many believe that the advent of Abrahamic religions led to the diminished status of women as far as the religious space is concerned. Since women are socialized from childhood days to pay heed to religious injunctions, these play a very formative role in shaping women’s outlook about life at large. See Woodhead, “Gender Differences in Religious Practice and Significance” in J. Beckford, & N. J. Demerath III (Eds. 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. Within the CSC framework, gender conformity is not just expected of women, but it is also rewarded. However, that does not appear to be true. Religious organisations, spiritual and temporal, are dominated by men and are largely off-limits for women though it is commonly acknowledged that the latter tend to be more religiously and morally inclined and possess the qualities needed for the discharge of duties that these organisations entail. This text (Eph 5: 20–23) from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is read at all Syrian Christian marriages. Lk 15: 11–32. The role of religion in strengthening patriarchy in society is all too obvious. 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. 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. However, there are definitely still fundamentalist and evangelical Christian groups that still practice Christian patriarchy. The tension between religion and gender equality is a The mother goddesses are the principal divinities, and male gods are worshiped, only as their consorts. Paava Kadhaigal is a scathing social drama, with brilliant performances, meticulously crafted from scripting to music and editing. This is also the reason why women are denied entry to places of worship when they are menstruating. This has a spill-over effect on other social indicators as well. Given the natural uncertainty that haunts their existence, the space of the home is seldom romanticized and nor does home appear a haven. 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. Data from the quantitative research elaborates the nexus between religious indoctrination (RI) and gendered consciousness and its impact on women. 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. In order to drive home the point that the well-being of the family is in women’s hands, he reinterpreted the biblical parable of the ‘Prodigal Son’ as a telling example of a ‘significant absence’ in the family. Kuttikat, Miriam, “Religious Patriarchy and the Subjugation of Women in India” The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review, 3. Sadhguru uses all kinds of stereotypes to prove that the world requires a balance of roles and activities between men and women. Cf. 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. Data from the research indicate that among CSC women, those who are more vulnerable to religious indoctrination have a higher gendered consciousness. In addition, church is a place where they are ‘free’ to go without having to explain the ‘why’ behind their move. The gender-class-caste nexus in the identity construction of Indian women has been the focus of many feminist enquiries. The following prayer is recited by the celebrant while blessing the tali: ‘Lord who took the church to be your bride through your death on the cross, bless this tali which will unite the bride and bridegroom in faith and love. While men are expected to participate in Pothu Yogams in their capacity as head of the families, it is optional for women; they may participate in their role as members of the Parish Council if they wish. Their role, as they saw it, was to stabilize society by generating and regenerating moral character. As John Hawley observes, by seeming to commodify or individualize women, removing them from their archetypal roles, modern society strikes a dangerous blow. The patriarchal religion is monotheistic(worship of only one God or entity), or what can be called “modified monotheistic“in nature… This condition is indicative of a contradictory consciousness in women, a state in which they uphold the hierarchical ordering of relationships for the religious value attributed to them, even when it works to their disadvantage. So my prayer now is that God gives me more strength to cope with all the demands made on me. 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). Thus it should not be surprising that the treatment of gender in religions and cultures has changed throughout history. 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. This parable is in the Gospel of Luke, and it tells the story of a father with two sons; the younger son goes astray, but when he returns home, he is welcomed wholeheartedly by his father. Given that religion is a defining factor in the life of CSC women, it would be interesting to examine its persuasion on other aspects of their lives such as their gendered consciousness (GC) and their notions of body and sexuality (BS). But this, says Mernissi, is a misinterpretation of the Quran (Muslim people’s main religion text). The messages and structures of culture and religion are then reinterpreted to meet the new conditions. The paper interrogates the nexus between gender, religion and patriarchy in a context where the marginalization of the female gender is continuous in spite of the strides in female education. The system of patriarchy gets acknowledged as divinely ordained through biblical texts like ‘the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband’ (1 Cor 11:3), which often finds a place in the religious services related to CSC marriage. Thus it should not be surprising that the treatment of gender in religions and cultures has changed throughout history. 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. Hence the exclusion of women from priesthood continues. 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’. In Islam, women cannot lead prayers as ‘imams’ in mosques and in mixed gatherings. 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. To state that religion is the most potent force and the most important nurturing factor behind patriarchy would not be an exaggeration. that two factors have sustained patriarchy and encouraged female subjugation and intimidation. The association between gendered consciousness (GC), religious indoctrination (RI) and patriarchal notions of body and sexuality (BS) is further explained using Correlation. However, this is not just an Indian story. 2. Yet, I like to do things that give me a sense of self-worth like creatively developing my skills and generating income from them. However, on asking women if they are happy with this ‘divinely ordained’ arrangement of relationships between the sexes, many respond negatively. andee … Davidman, Lynn, Tradition in a Rootless World. On cross-tabulating the respondents education with church involvement, it is interesting to note that church activity in men increases with their level of education especially in Parish Councils and Pothu Yogams which are important consultative bodies for policymaking in the church, whereas in the case of women, it decreases with education. 19, Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd, 1984. In her words: I was married rather young, at the age of twenty one, on finishing my graduation. Engaging with gender issues is seen as an essential corrective to the gender blindness that has restricted the vision of the discipline, sociology of religion. Scripture teaches that men are the head of household and church and that women are servants. Women priests in Hindu temples are extremely rare because women are ‘biologically’ unfit for the job as menstruating women are deemed impure and unfit for ‘sacred’ duties pertaining to God. Women who have stronger belief in the religious teachings about wives being submissive to their husbands have scored equally higher in gendered consciousness. The mantrako-di is a symbol of the responsibility on the part of the husband to protect his wife. See Bhagavad Gita 1.41 cited in Hawley, “Hinduism: Sati and its Defenders” in John Stratton Hawley (eds) Fundamentalism and Gender, 79–110, 103. Clifford Geertz “Religion as a Cultural System” in The Interpretation of Cultures, New York: Basic Books Inc. 1973, 90. See, The Syro-Malabar Bishop’s Synod, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Koodashakal, Kakkanad: Major Arch Episcopal Curia, Secretariat Commission for Liturgy, 2005, 68–69. 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. Not logged in 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. Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 1991, 116–120. This tendency of ‘patronising’ and ‘guiding’ is not restricted to Islam. Ephesians 5:23 clearly states that husband is the head of the wife. 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. Aim for more equality for women within existing religions, by seeking to remove obstacles that prevent the from taking on positions of authority, such as those of priests, religious teachers and leaders. 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. For some, walking to the church itself was an energizing activity because it provided an occasion for a daily outing with a small group of friends from the neighbourhood, which provided them some time and space for themselves without the everyday concerns of family life. Hijab, Niqab, veils, sindoor and mangalsutra are all religiously-endorsed tools for showcasing sexual markers. 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). She loves tea, music, shopping and travelling – in that order. The encyclical Redemptoris Mater reminds that in Mary women are expected to see mirrored the highest virtues they are called to imitate, namely ‘the self-offering totality of love, the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows, limitless fidelity and the tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement’ (RM no.46). In India, religions continue to have a stronghold on women because they are seen as the natural vessels of religion. In the opinion of Syrian Church historian Mathias Mundadan, these are ‘instances of how the Christian community founded by St. Thomas grew in India assimilating its culture’. They are also significant in demarcating the limits of acceptable behaviour and possible attainments associated with masculinity and femininity. Instead they argue that patriarchal societies have changed religions in order to ensure they reflected and reinforced patriarchal values. Sexuality and reproductive rights is especially the problem-area with regard to women. Association between the religious teaching on wives’ submission to husbands with gendered consciousness. 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. It seems that eventually every religion or organised belief-system was hijacked by vested interests to further their own patriarchal agenda. 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. 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. 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. Unfortunately, the accompanying social conditions, a handiwork of religious rules and lores, only served to lend some truth to this premise. Susan Visvanathan has done an extensive analysis of the customs related to marriage among the Syrian Christians. 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. Its biblical value is seen as a rationale behind such a stand, though for some it is relevant because it is their lived experience. Even so, feminist theorists complain about the gender blindness of sociology of religion as a discipline. 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. 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. While there is the in-your-face “love jihad” along with “honour killing”, patriarchy is sneaky in the way it conditions us to find partners within our social boundaries. Gendered consciousness acquires a normative value in the lives of women and men through religious indoctrination which affirms man’s position as the ‘head’ of the family, and consequently idealizes and glorifies submission as the characteristic mark of ‘womanliness’. According to Genesis 3:16, God told Eve that ‘…the husband will rule over you‘. In pre-Islamic Arab women were viewed as objects and were constantly humiliated. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for it’.24. What is ironical is that most of the organised religions of today were not discriminatory to begin with. © FII Media Private Limited | All rights reserved. Religious beliefs and practices are foundational in establishing gender binary and the differentiated roles relating to it. Autonomy can be explained as ‘freedom from coercion’,32 but this goes contrary to the internalized hegemonic codes of religion which demand women’s submission to their husbands in everything. STUDY. It is believed that early religions, or more appropriately worship, centred on female Goddesses during prehistoric times. Over 10 million scientific documents at your fingertips. Religion, being one of the greatest identity markers of human beings along with other social factors such as caste, class and ethnicity, its role in the construction of gender identity is critically examined in this chapter. Casting the passive obedient Marian figure as the ‘feminine’ ideal gives a religious sanction to women’s restricted growth and vulnerability before abuse. 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 . It is against this backdrop that I situate the religious beliefs and practices of the Catholic Syrian Christians in order to assess the impact of religious patriarchy on them. Also, Julia Leslie and Mary McGee (ed), Invented Identities: The Interplay of Gender Religion and Politics in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press 2000. We see a gendered pattern in the viewing of television channels of a religious nature as well, between women and men. Having imbibed the sociocultural patterns of thought that subjugate them, they become transmitters of the very norms that infantilize them. As a practising Catholic, she believes that acknowledging man as head of the family is important because that is the way God has designed marriage and respecting that order facilitates family relationships without major conflicts.13. The founders and early leaders of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Chinese philosophywere all men, and their influence has dominated both belief and practice. The messages and structures of culture and religion are then reinterpreted to meet the new conditions. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Nishat is a probationary deputy collector by profession, an avid reader by choice and a writer by default. Classical jurists believe that female nature lacks rationality and Self-Control and hence women shouldn’t be given equal rights as men. God is depicted as a man. 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. May this tali, a symbol of unity, bind them in undivided love and total trust. Both religion and culture reflect patriarchies and are used to maintain patriarchal structures. While majority of women respondents watch prayer channels (65 per cent), majority of male respondents watch religious channels that relay reflective talks (60 per cent). On 20th March 1927, Ambedkar led a procession of 2,500 “untouchables” through main streets of Mahad to drink from the public Chevdar tank. Mathrudeepthi being an organization for mothers, it aims at helping mothers in fulfilling their maternal and spiritual duties. Paradoxically, vidheyathvam also serves as a mask for these women as they negotiate the borders of gendered spaces in view of conflict avoidance and need fulfilment. Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the World. This is a source of constant conflict in our otherwise ‘happy’ marriage. In this context, clarifying why women become easy targets of religious hegemonic control is imperative. Haunts their existence, the women in AkwaIbom state are in a the! By feminine loyalty, availability and devotion to Mary, mother of Christ, which is very strong in CSC! Be normalised and ingrained in the night Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd, 1984 the reading habits of.. Other social indicators as well latter get special rights and privileges on account of ‘... Policies for women while exonerating men from the local Hindu customs all organised propagate! 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