‘Enlisting in the struggle to be free’: A feminist wrestle with gender and religion

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Kochurani Abraham

Resumo

This paper looks at the gendered underpinnings of religion using a feminist lens. It names the violence embedded in the gendered notions of religious ideology and praxis and shows how religion can be “injurious” to women’s growth because of the following factors: the hierarchical dualism that alienates them from the Spirit and identifies them with the body while marginalizing them through their positioning on the lower rungs of the hierarchical ladder; the exclusive male imagery of God and its mediation by an all male priestly class and the scriptural injunctions which are inscribed by patriarchal thought and deployed to keep women in defined roles and spaces. Catholic teachings and practices are taken as a case of analysis to unearth the political dynamics by which religion reinforces ‘gendering –women’s exclusion from theological knowledge making spaces and the gendered religious indoctrination which become hegemonic codes that shape women’s consciousness and keep them without grievance  in their  subjugated status.  It shows further how female body and sexuality are major sites of religious gender politics through the strict controls on women’s dress-codes  and the sexual servicing expected of them in marriage. Finally, the paper advocates critical thought as a tool for exploding the hardened rock of gendered religious foundations and shows how overcoming the contradictory consciousness and waking up to a critical consciousness becomes imperative for women  to be freed of the gender dictates of religion.

 

Key words: gender, religion, theological knowledge-making, sexuality, critical consciusness

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Como Citar
ABRAHAM, K. ‘Enlisting in the struggle to be free’: A feminist wrestle with gender and religion. HORIZONTE - Revista de Estudos de Teologia e Ciências da Religião, v. 13, n. 39, p. 1296-1314, 30 set. 2015.
Seção
Artigos/Articles: Dossiê/Dossier
Biografia do Autor

Kochurani Abraham, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala (India)

Dr Kochurani Abraham  is an Indian feminist theologian,  researcher and writer on issues related to gender. She has a Licentiate in Systematic Theology from the University of Comillas, Madrid, and a PhD in Christian Studies from the University of Madras with a special focus on feminist theology. She is  affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala for a project on Gender Education. She is at present the Coordinator of Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA) an association of feminist theologians at the Asian level, and an active member of the Indian Theological Association, Indian Women Theologian’s Forum, Indian Association of Women’s Studies, and  the World Forum of Theology and Liberation.