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women and religion: more buddhism November 17, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in religion, sexism.

(Also see “women and religion: buddhism“)

Buddhism, Eva K. Neumaier (Women in the Buddhist Traditions, “Women and Religious Traditions“) states, is one of the religions that begin with a historical founder and presents itself in the form of dialogue. Since the dialogue is within a cultural context it portrays itself as a contrast to the contemporary socio-religious framework of its day. Much of Siddhārtha Gautama’s responses towards women were counter-intuitive for the people of his day. An oft-used example is the general ascetic lifestyle. Ascetics in the Indic subcontinent were always male for females who wandered around would be considered shameful. As Gautama allowed women to follow him, they naturally took up this ascetic lifestyle, and furthermore was given allowance to do so by the Buddha. Neumaier points out, however, that despite this matter of respect in the new Buddhism that the women enjoyed dissipated in the later centuries. (more…)


women and religion: islam November 16, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in religion, sexism.

Lynda Clarke (Women in Islam, “Women and Religious Traditions“) points out that there is no cognizant group within Islam that is able to re-establish or re-investigate aspects of the religion in the perspective of women. She does not claim that Islamic women do not question or blindly follow, but instead they are restricted within the call of “correct practice”. This practice is strictly laid out in the Sunnah, which is authoritative in Islamic tradition. Thus, women are at a seeming impasse because of the stress on orthopraxy. Anything that is added or perceived as contrary to the authoritative text can automatically be viewed as illegimate and opposed to Islam. This is often seen with Islamic women’s issues because of the contrast struck between Islam and the West’s occupation with Christian values. Islamic traditionalists view feminism as a Christian or Western ideology and is consequently perceived as opposition to the Sunnah. However, Clarke is optimistic that Islamic women have the capacity to work within the Islamic faith in order to retain their own tradition without being isolated. Clarke is arguing here that by using the Koran they can legitimize their perspective an overcome the overwhelming patriarchal worldview that Islam has currently found itself. (more…)

women and religion: judaism November 15, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in religion, sexism.
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Jacoba Kuikman alludes to the idea that Jewish women within the private sphere have balanced the public role of men, which may as well have helped the survival of Jewish tradition. Since women were “delegated” to the private sphere, they were charged with the responsibility of raising the children. Children were raised generation after generation through the Jewish traditions of the mother. At times this even countered periods of times that Jews chose to assimilate rather than stand out, which had led them to serious persecution and death. Jewish tradition cannot rely on the rabbis and teachers alone since there was not always opportunities to openly teach Jewish traditions. The private role of women is then uplifted as the tool for a continuous strand of tradition throughout generations. (more…)

women and religion: hinduism November 14, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in religion, sexism.

Unlike other major world religions, Hinduism has a multitude of feminine deities. This, of course, is a result of the millions of celestial entities that comprise the cosmology within Hindu thought. The feminine deities of Hinduism often represent the traditional characteristics of femininity such as compassion and nurturing, although there are still many that symbolize much more traditionally masculine traits such as aggression and dominance.

Other world religions often use the lack of feminine deities to justify their positions against women. However, in Hinduism there are many feminine deities that men and women may recognize to be worthy of veneration. This should lead to a better status of women within the Hindu culture, yet it does not. (more…)

women and religion: christianity November 13, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in religion, sexism.
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There is a paradox in how women are treated in major religions. A woman’s body, as child-bearer garners respect and admiration. Yet a woman’s body, especially as a sexual being, is surrounded by fear-driven taboos. This paradox should be incompatible with the core teachings of many of the major religions. Yet doctrine, subsequent writings, and cultural values have continued to treat women’s bodies with a distorted dualism. The Christian religion itself has witnessed conflicting dualism between spirit and flesh, which has in turn only aggravated the paradoxical dualism within females. (more…)

women and religion: buddhism November 12, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in religion, sexism.

The founder of Buddhism, as in other world religions, did not explicitly condone the subordination of woman from what we understand. On the contrary, Siddhartha Gautama was quite revolutionary for his time in his acceptance of women among his followers. However, by the 2nd century BCE Buddhism became increasingly institutionalized by the Mauryan king, Ashoka the Great, which women within Buddhism found themselves struggling to have any significant roles. By the time that Buddhism had left the Indian subcontinent and spread over the rest of Asia in the 5th century CE, women were completely left out of any historical records. (more…)

are feminists failing the youth? September 20, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in politics, sexism.

Males writing about feminism should be a study in itself. Those males critical of the feminist movement generally lack credibility and often resort to traditional patriarchal arguments. I, however, criticize the feminist movement for its misguided targeting. Generally speaking, who are the feminists? Without getting into generalizations, one cannot disagree that most feminists are females. Whether the feminist movement is being eclipsed by the shallowness of mass consumerism aimed at teenage girls or not could be debated. Studies (sorry, I cannot find my sources for this at the moment) have shown that it is accepted in the marketing industry that the most important target to hit is teenagers, especially girls.

My own personal opinion is that the feminist movement is failing. One only has to walk down the halls of a local high school, which at times can look more like brothels than centers of education. (more…)