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Women in Religions of Power

Essay by   •  July 24, 2012  •  Essay  •  561 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,324 Views

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Since ancient times, women have been seen as the nurturer, preparing food, bearing and raising children, and serving the head of the family, or tribe, the male. Even in the sacred texts of the three ancient religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the woman is referred to as "the helper" to the man, and not much else. Although in Islam, they give leadership of the household to the women, and many see them as the backbone of the society. Ironically, in mosques, women are separated from the men usually by means of a physical barrier so that they don't "distract" the men from their prayer, also, the leader giving the prayer, who is male, is most always on the male side. This denotes that males are the dominant sex in Islam, and religion to them is more significant than religion is to women. However this is not by a woman's choice but rather by tradition. Therefore, it is easy to see why the woman is left out of the leadership positions in many religions even today, and any woman that doesn't fit the mold is essentially cast as "manly" or "not feminine".

The defenses of all male religious leadership overall are weak, biased, and tradition-based defenses without real substance. These defenses are mostly the general opinions of male dominated religions and most are sexist, but they judge women on the basis of her traditional role as the nurturer versus her modern role as the independent equal to the male. The first defense which states that God is a male, is contradictory of the definition of God, which is a transcendent source without a gender, although the descriptions of God in many religions are masculine, it clearly states in many of the texts that God does not have a gender. Second, because males have primarily dominated in religion and passed on leadership positions to other males doesn't necessarily provide a good reason for women to refrain from religious leadership. Although I agree that women are better suited for care giving, again, it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't suited for leadership positions. On the contrary, women who are very familiar with controlling rowdy children, keeping the attention of others, and creating a comfortable environment, have qualities that very well suit leadership positions in religion. Lastly, simply because a certain word has a masculine denotation, doesn't exactly validate who can become leaders in a religion. In Spanish, the word for knife is masculine, yet we do not categorize our silverware by sex, and we certainly do not reserve the use of knives strictly to males, so why should we do the same for religion? This defense is a fallacy and should be disregarded.

Overall however, I do not believe there will be a female chief rabbi in Jerusalem, or a female pope in Rome, simply because the general worldview of a woman is care giver. Though, I don't think there should be ones either, because women in positions

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