Does feminism and Religion Mix?

One BIG question we face in religion is ‘Can we be a feminist and be religious?’
Each religion has a set of ‘rules’ that go against what feminists stand for, whether each woman view it as sexist is open to her interpretation. Let’s look at some:

images (1) For many years, feminists question Christianity in regards to women. Ephesians 5:21-24 states that women ought to submit to their husbands. Now what exactly ‘submit’ means? Basically to yield to a superior person and his/her will.
Does this mean that women have to accept whatever their husbands decide? If No, is it because of free will or because Christianity says so?
It obviously depends on how you interpret the Bible, but what about those who take the bible literally?

Scriptural text involved, from Majid Fakhry’s literal-minded English translation (New York University Press), approved by Sunni Islam’s chief seat of learning, the venerable Al-Azhar University:
“Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made some of them excel the others, and because they spend some of their wealth. Hence righteous women are obedient, guarding the unseen which Allah has guarded. And those of them that you fear might rebel, admonish them and abandon them in their beds and beat them. Should they obey you, do not seek a way of harming them, for Allah is Sublime and Great!” (4:34).
This does not imply that feminists can’t be practice Islam, but can they decide whether or not they want to follow this teaching?

download In Genesis 3, Eve is told: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”. Notice that the word used here is “rule” —“not “oppress”, “beat into submission”, or “boss around”.  Does it mean her husband gets the better deal? As with all scriptures, this too is open to interpretation. Many claim ‘rule’ is interpreted as ‘lead’, ‘direct’, etc. A feminist would view this differently. Women should have the equal say in any relationship, right?

So, does feminism and religion mix? Can a feminist be religious without switching the interpretation of their scriptures to be more ‘feminist’?



1 Comment

  1. I’m a muslim in Indonesia, and I wear hijab. I don’t face any specific problem about being feminist so far, though some people can’t accept it well. Good to know your blog!


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