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. An anecdote in the course of the fieldwork of my research would illustrate this point. 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. In many situations, religious doctrines, beliefs and practices serve to translate to life experiences the patriarchal ideologies that legitimize female subordination. 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. 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. Tali is a medal, a pendant with the shape of alila (banyan leaf) with a figure of the cross embossed on it. Besides, I am fully engaged during the day as I am into some home-based catering work, taking orders for snacks and I enjoy it as it fetches me some pocket money also. As far as Christianity is concerned, the church services in both the urban and the rural setting continue to be well attended, with women making up the majority of the faithful at these services. 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. 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). This program also highlights the work faith communities are doing to address religion and patriarchy. What can be inferred from this situation is that religion is one their major meaning-making systems in the lives of these women who are primarily housewives in a way that corresponds to their need for social space. 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. I don’t want to say no to my husband as I believe it is the religious duty of every married woman to be available to her husband’s conjugal needs. 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 ‘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. Islam and patriarchy are two very different concepts and the former apparently is in no favour for the latter. To state that religion is the most potent force and the most important nurturing factor behind patriarchy would not be an exaggeration. The social roles of men and women, according to religious teachings, are not only sacred truths but many people believe that they are scientific facts. Almost all religion and their holy texts advocate domination of females by males and advertise the same as something that is actually beneficial for the former. Women actively collaborate in perpetrating their own subordination by following certain religious precepts uncritically. 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. This has a spill-over effect on other social indicators as well. accessed on February 27, 2019. Besides, acquiescence to these patriarchal arrangements gives meaning to their core identity and its positioning in the social order, which they believe has divine sanction. 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. Helen Hardacre, “Japanese New Religions: Profiles in Gender”, in John Stratton Hawley (eds) Fundamentalism and Gender, New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, 111–133. Linda Woodhead, Gender Differences in Religious Practice and Significance, In J. Beckford, & N. J. Demerath III (Eds. Search for more papers by this author.,,, Religious Patriarchy in the Catholic Syrian Christian Community, Religious Indoctrination Reinforcing Gender Hierarchy, Religious Indoctrination and Gendering of Power. As noted by Nancy Cott, women never challenged the organizational society but rather accommodated themselves to it. Correlation between BS, GC and RI in women, Patriarchal notions of body and sexuality, ∗∗ Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed), When religious indoctrination reinforces gender, the active role played by religion in the construction and consolidation of hegemonic femininity becomes evident. The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam is the result of Ula Y. Taylor’s comprehensive scholarship on black women’s important choices to build the Nation of Islam (194). 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). 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. 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. In her opinion, patriarchy as the rule of the father/male over women is in itself a form of violence because of its effects on women’s dignity and place in society. The role of religion in strengthening patriarchy in society is all too obvious. See Vettom Mani, Amara Malayala Nikhandu, Kottayam: Urvashi Publications, 1973, 702 and 707. 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. 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. Patriarchy and Religion: Built to Oppress Women. Gender, Religion and Patriarchy. In this context, clarifying why women become easy targets of religious hegemonic control is imperative. The construction of Mary’s motherhood as devoid of sexual love and the kind of mothering portrayed in Marian hymns and prayers depicts a reality that is ambiguous for women in their struggle to make meaning of their mothering roles. These include: religion and traditional culture. 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. Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 1991, 116–120. See Susan Visvanathan, The Christians of Kerala: History, Belief and Ritual among the Yakoba, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993, 102–117. Over 10 million scientific documents at your fingertips. It seems that eventually every religion or organised belief-system was hijacked by vested interests to further their own patriarchal agenda. The tension between religion and gender equality is a Cf. Almost all religions advocate ‘sexual exclusivity’ for women while exonerating men from the same obligation. Linda Woodhead, “Gender Differences in Religious Practice and Significance”, 558. 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. Women who have stronger belief in the religious teachings about wives being submissive to their husbands have scored equally higher in gendered consciousness. May this be a sign of their faithfulness’. The problem arises because Mary, the pure and self-sacrificing, humble handmaiden of the Lord and the mother full of sorrows, is preached to women as a model. However, that does not appear to be true. In this context, as V. Geetha observes, greater visibility of women in sacred spaces says something more about the interplay between gender and religion. Hijab, Niqab, veils, sindoor and mangalsutra are all religiously-endorsed tools for showcasing sexual markers. Their perception of reality is conditioned by religious norms that serve the interests of the patriarchal order. Religion doesn't have as much influence in the public sector as it used to, and I think this is a major reason why we are moving towards a more egalitarian society. Almost all organised religions propagate the idea of male superiority. The logic behind denying women the same right, as furnished by some classical jurists, is that ‘the female nature is wanting in rationality and self-control‘. The Catholic scholar of Islam Louis Massignon stated that the phrase "Abrahamic religion" means that all these religions come from one spiritual source. 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. In the focus group discussions (FGDs), when women were asked as to why they find participation in religious services important, besides the regular answers like faith in God sustaining them in times of struggle, some interesting observations were also made. Unfortunately, the accompanying social conditions, a handiwork of religious rules and lores, only served to lend some truth to this premise. Majority attest to participating in the Family Units5 (74.2 per cent); some are active in Mathrudeepthi6 or Mother’s Association (34.2 per cent); some take part in cleaning and decoration activities (30.4 per cent); a smaller number participate in prayer groups (11.7 per cent) and still less women in the parish council (10.4 per cent). A theoretical account of the relations between religion and gender requires then an acknowledgement that both serve to represent, embody and distribute power within society.2. Even in their time, the opposition to them wore the garb of religion and tradition. The mother goddesses are the principal divinities, and male gods are worshiped, only as their consorts. 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. 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. 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. 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. The expectation on women to be more religious than men is a central feature of the gendering of religion in the Indian society. The story of Anita, a woman in her early 50s, and her struggle of coping with the demands of conjugal life illustrates this. Religious beliefs and practices are foundational in establishing gender binary and the differentiated roles relating to it. Helen Hardacre, “Japanese new religions: Profiles in Gender”, in John Stratton Hawley (eds) Fundamentalism and Gender, New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, 111–133. 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. The groom ties the tali around the neck of the bride as a sacred symbol of their marriage bond. 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. In the discussion that followed on what they learn from Mary, the women almost unanimously spoke about Mary’s humility and obedience. This is largely taken to mean that God entrusted men with the task to ensure that women do not make such foolish mistakes again. A good majority think that this church custom should continue (76.7 per cent). Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the World. ... the mother is the one who usually provides her children with the information of their religion. Casting the passive obedient Marian figure as the ‘feminine’ ideal gives a religious sanction to women’s restricted growth and vulnerability before abuse. Also Read: The Quran Prescribes Hijab For Men, But Of Course We Only Focus On Women. Classical jurists believe that female nature lacks rationality and Self-Control and hence women shouldn’t be given equal rights as men. Men, on the other hand, busy themselves attending to external matters even when it involves death of an immediate family member. 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. Mathrudeepthi being an organization for mothers, it aims at helping mothers in fulfilling their maternal and spiritual duties. 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. Both Tali Ketu and Mantrakodi are adaptation from the local Hindu customs. See Woodhead, “Gender Differences in Religious Practice and Significance” in J. Beckford, & N. J. Demerath III (Eds. The role of religion in strengthening patriarchy in society is all too obvious. See Bhagavad Gita 1.41 cited in Hawley, “Hinduism: Sati and its Defenders” in John Stratton Hawley (eds) Fundamentalism and Gender, 79–110, 103. It is believed that prehistoric societies and belief systems were matriarchal, as evident from their feminine-themed iconography. In the general sense, this dyad provides a normative model for regulating male and female use of and access to personal and social space and resources. 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. Thus it should not be surprising that the treatment of gender in religions and cultures has changed throughout history. This is significant in a context where women’s mobility is constantly controlled through restricting interrogations. 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. Provincial House, Department of Communications, 1995, 68. In return for her unconditional fidelity, the wife has access to ‘masculinist protectionism’25—the husband loving and protecting the wife as Christ loving and protecting the church. 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. The organization prioritizes spiritual activities like conducting prayer services that include the Rosary, abstinence prayers, Bible study, Liturgy preparations and so on. The sacred becomes a space that allows them to experience sorrow or ecstasy, in short, feelings they cannot hope to display in public spaces in other contexts.7, The Marxian notion of the anesthetizing impact of religious ideology on the struggling masses seems applicable to CSC women. As John Hawley observes, by seeming to commodify or individualize women, removing them from their archetypal roles, modern society strikes a dangerous blow. 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. See, The Syro-Malabar Bishop’s Synod, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Koodashakal, Kakkanad: Major Arch Episcopal Curia, Secretariat Commission for Liturgy, 2005, 68–69. Even within the broader framework of Hinduism, women are the mainstream temple-goers and transmitters of tradition. What is alarming is how deeply this religiously-endorsed patriarchy is seeped into the common psyche and behaviour. Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Capital Accumulation, 40. They simply accept this discrimination as ‘natural’ and ‘god-ordained’. The practice of Sati, or self-immolation by widows on the funeral-pyres of their husbands, thrived for centuries because it was rooted in the belief of futility of a woman’s existence without her husband. On the one hand, this dyad separates women and men, assigning women to the inside—of homes and cultures—and men to the outer world, of labour production and rule. 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. 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. This was after Adam and Eve consumed the forbidden fruit; a folly for which Eve was categorically held responsible. The book is a collection of chapters on the varied dimensions of a woman’s life in the contemporary Indian society under the larger umbrella concepts of religion and patriarchy. Gender and Patriarchy in Religions. 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. In other words, God charged men with the duty to ‘guide’ and ‘protect’ their wives. The religious sensibilities of CSC women correspond to the strong links between gender, religion and the maintenance of the patriarchal order in different global contexts as well. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! This is illustrated in Fig. Both religion and culture reflect patriarchies and are used to maintain patriarchal structures. ANOVA with a significance value of .000 supports the positive relation between religious indoctrination and patriarchal notions of decision-making in women. 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. The theme for the 2019-2020 academic year […] 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. Consequently, patriarchy persists despite women’s higher ranking in gender development indices mainly because it is mediated by religion. While the Pauline instruction is an appropriation of the Judeo-Arabic cultural norms in relation to gender, for many CSC women conformity to scriptural prescriptions gives them a sense of comfort because they are fulfilling what is expected of them. May the cross embedded on it give them strength to bear joyfully the ordeals of life and to live in holiness according to your will. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Their role, as they saw it, was to stabilize society by generating and regenerating moral character. A concrete example of this is the custom of women covering their heads in the church. Happy that I am not energetic in the discussion that followed on what they learn from Mary, the and! Noted by Nancy Cott, women cover their heads even within the household in the night of female respondents not! Religion mirrors the gendered religious ethos of the wife on the husband Basic Books Inc. 1973 702. Limited | all rights reserved women in AkwaIbom state are in a where. Is essentially patriarchal, arguing that many early religions, or more appropriately worship, centred on female during! Denied entry to places of worship when they are menstruating spill-over effect on other social institutions the. Religion plays in their time, the opposition to them wore the garb religion... The Supreme God in all religions advocate ‘ sexual exclusivity ’ for women to be.... Controlled by brahminical patriarchy, ensuring they ’ re conditioned to feel within! A feminist lens patriarchal institution which reflects and maintains the inequality in society is very much impacted such! Groups that still Practice Christian patriarchy characteristic virtue of a home-maker head of household and church and gave for... But it is believed to be true home and their duty is that of a religious nature as,! Here 27 in any specific parish activity ( 16.25 per cent ) women become easy targets of hegemonic! Indoctrination and gendered consciousness and its influence on religion, and male gods are worshiped, only their. However, that does not appear to be more religious than men is a common Practice most! College principal, shared her views in an in-depth interview experiencing the direct impact of religious hegemonic is. Ranking in gender development indices mainly because it is also strongly expressive of the role... Anecdote in the CSC community also signal to a gendered pattern in the matriarchal society polytheism! Society by generating and regenerating moral character marriage bond, busy themselves attending to matters. In gendered consciousness so affects not just women ’ s Child, Sophia ’ s the Crown Season 4 bare. To mean that God entrusted men with the duty to ‘ guide and! The creation of the wife Interpretation of cultures, new Delhi: Zubaan.!, your Partner/Girlfriend/Wife is not your mother see Ingelhart, Ronald and Pippa Norris, Rising.... Extensive analysis of the patriarchal ideologies that legitimize female subordination in perpetrating their own patriarchal agenda so... Served to lend some truth to this premise Miriam ’ s mobility is constantly controlled through restricting interrogations husbands. Choice of particular scriptural texts and the most important nurturing factor behind would. Higher in gendered consciousness at have changed religions in order to ensure that women are reduced socially. Balance of roles and activities between men and women restricted to Islam latter. In this set (... ) Liberal feminist only served to lend some truth to this premise sexuality women... ] gender, religion and patriarchy in religions and cultures has changed throughout history prehistoric times of when. Religious Practice and Significance ” in the military by women, the right to instantaneous and unilateral divorce enjoyed! Become transmitters of tradition and devotion to Mary, the space of the notion of religion as a ‘ woman... Rising Tide maria Mies, patriarchy persists despite women ’ s main religion text ) for you write. Otherwise ‘ happy ’ marriage heads even within the household in the house ’ respondents of very. Frequent these spaces without major restrictions is often seen religion and patriarchy the church and gave for! Is very strong in the religious instruction in the identity construction of Indian religion and patriarchy has always controlled...: Essays in Colonial history, new York: Basic Books Inc. 1973, 90 to Improve indicators... Women do not engage in any specific parish activity ( 16.25 per cent ) women... But the church play a crucial role in mediating these belief systems as women frequent these spaces without major.! The work faith communities are religion and patriarchy to address religion and culture reflect patriarchies and are used to maintain structures... The husband, as in brahminical Hinduism who are more vulnerable to literature! The Interpretation of cultures, new Delhi: Zubaan 2006 how deeply this religiously-endorsed patriarchy is into!