Faith and feminism

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Choccy's picture
Joined: 9-12-04
Apr 17 2005 19:31
Faith and feminism

Was wondering if any of youse could help me out. Have a presentation on Tuesday for my module in women's studies "Religion, Gender and Power in Irish Society". In a class of 13 there's only 2 fellas and I've been received well when I've criticised liberal and radical feminism which I maybe haven't articulated well enough although I did put it pretty simply and didn't overstate anything.

The class so far mostly seems to accept a very crude analysis of gender inequalities - ie all men oppress all women. (Not the lecturer though she's dead-on and more receptive to different ideas.) But even when I've contested this it has been brushed aside without actually addressing it. Some of the class are middle-aged catholic housewives who have shown themselves to be reactionary conservative bigots unwilling to accept challenges to the most basic assumptions their faith has taught them, for example scapegoating single mothers "sure they get everything" and making weak apologies for some of the more revolting policies of JohnPaul II and the catholic church -= not much solidarity among them sisters.

Not the whole class is like this though although out of a class of 12/13 there's only one other confirmed atheist, the rest are all taigs and there's one fella who's lapsed Church Of Ireland, he might be agnostic.

That's a bit of background...

My presentation is "Faith and Feminism" - basically I discuss whether they're irreconcilable. I don't have to talk too much about strands of feminism, just show an awareness of the complexities within both feminism and religious denominations. I'm not even having to talk about any one religion although I can use examples.

The question is more about the philosophical aspects from the very basic definitions, not about Religion in ireland or catholicism etc just about faith - ie' belief without proof, and feminism - ie equality of the sexes.

Well as usual I've left it really fucking late to prepare this shit and haven't done half the reading - just wondering if anyone can point me in the direction of quotes/articles/chapter dealing specifically with this argument.

I'll be focusing on faith undermining material struggles to change existing conditions, with belief in the immaterial as antithetical to political struggle as a liberated woman (or any individual) is one that has total self-determination whereas religion/faith places power and responsibility in an abstract immaterial realm.

I'll talk about shite like immaterialism as politically disempowering in that it's a kop-out from the kind of responsibility that feminism, or any real-world politics demands.

The only thing I have at the moment is a chapter in Naomi Wolf's "Beauty Myth" - haven't read the rest of the book and probably won't but I'm told the chapter on religion deals with this type of argument from a materialist perspective so might come in handy but I'll need more than one thing to quote from so hopefully someone can point in the direction of similar arguments.

Also if I've missed anything or could do with mentioning something else I'd be grateful. I just don't wanna get up for 8/9 mins and look like a tube...although I undoubtebly will sad

I know this isn't the place for homework but any help would be appreciated.