Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that women are no longer oppressed by religion (18 Marks)
Feminists see society as being patriarchal, therefore dominated by men. Functionalism interprets each part of society in terms of how it contributes to the stability of society as a whole. Societies are thought to function like organisms, with various social institutions working together to maintain and reproduce societies. According to functionalist theories, institutions come about and persist because they play a function in society, promoting stability and integration.
Marxist Feminists state that capitalism gains greatly from the subordination of its women as it allows the men to work longer hours due to the fact that the women are free labour to provide the home. Religion is seen as its functions ensuring that these ways are maintained throughout society.
Feminists such as Armstrong argue that in early religion women were not oppressed by men but in fact viewed very highly in society. Her work shows that around 6000 years ago female priests were found in the Middle East, long before a capitalist society took over. She thinks that it was the rise of monotheistic religions such as Christianity that saw an omnipotent male God being established.
Mary Daly goes as far as stating the Christianity can be seen as a ‘patriarchal myth’ that has eliminated ‘goddess’ from religion all together. Armstrong can however be challenged by the functionalist Malinowski who studied the Trobriand Islanders. Here males and females where treated equally and were seen as having the same rights and were both and important part of their society in which they created.
Someone who agrees with Armstrong is El Saadawi she argues that religion is not the cause of a patriarchal society but in fact the result of one, that the patriarchal society began to shape religion ti enrich male dominance and therefore instil the female oppression and Christian feminists would...