Feminists describe religion as patriarchal and a way of legitimising female subordination.
Feminists believe that religion oppresses women and that religion is also a way of justifying female subordination by giving better promises of greater rewards later in a sexless life . However, functionalists argue that its function is not to oppress women but to keep society stable.and Marxists believe that religion oppresses the working class and serves capitalism not women
Feminists argue that women’s oppression is shown in almost every religion and criticise the religious organisations,places of worship,sacred texts and religious laws and customs of all religions. They argue that women put most efforts into religious organisations yet it is quite male dominated .Armstrong uses Judaism and Catholicism as good examples of where women are forbidden from priesthood . Places of worship today still remain segregated between both men and women and e.g. in Islam , women tend to pray behind men in prayers while women cannot preach or lead prayers while men are present,in Islam menstruation is considered as “unclean” and are not allowed to touch the Quaran during menstruation. sacred texts are also quite male dominated as they mostly feature male gods and are usually red and interpreted by men most of the time. In most religion laws and customs women did not have as many male rights e.g. in divorce and the way to dress.
All these teachings of religions make it clear that women are inferior to men in society today and it seems that religion justifies patriarchy and stops them from rebelling.
However, Woodhead criticises feminist explanations of patriarchy and oppression of women and believes not all traditional religions are patriarchal. She argues that women cam use religion for more freedom and respect. She uses the hijab and the veil worn by Muslim women while western feminist see it is oppression. Woodhead believes that Muslim women choose to wear the...