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Social control of women

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Introduction

Fully evaluate the extent to which religion acts as an agent of social control over women (40 Marks) In religion women can be seen as subordinate to men. Simon de Beaviour saw religion in a similar way to Marx, however instead of oppressing the working class, it causes inequality between men and women. She argued religion can be used by men to control women, and it serves in compensating women for their second class status and gives women false hope, that they will be repaid fro their suffering on earth. By keeping women in a state of false consciousness religion helps to maintain social order and makes women passive victims of a male domination. However, not all religions are oppressive to women. For example Catholicism, becoming a nun can be viewed as wither oppressive or highly liberating. Nuns are stereotypically viewed as being sexually repressed women who transfer their sexual libidos into their religious beliefs. ...read more.

Middle

Women's sexuality plays a major role in religion. Female bodies and sexuality are felt to be dangerous by many religions because they believe a woman's presence may distract men from the important rituals. Bird points out that sexuality is important in most major religions. Also, some religions believe women pollute religious rituals because they menstruate and give birth. Whilst Roman Catholics are expected to be celibate, and Christianity and Islam are opposed to homosexuality. Patriarchal attitudes to religion means women from different religions have been barred from serving as a priest until recently. In 1992 women have been allowed to become priests in the church of England, and have been allowed to be Rabbi's since 1972. There has been a breakdown in gender associated jobs, this shows religion is a progressive force causing social change. However some Islamic groups, orthodox Judaism and in the Roman Catholic church continue to exclude women from their religious hierarchy. ...read more.

Conclusion

for example women are more likely to become nurses, whilst men are likely to become doctors. Those who experience economic deprivation are more likely to join sects. Glock and Stark identify a number of different types of deprivation that women are more likely to suffer than men. Therefore they join sects in search of salvation and enlightenment. In conclusion there is evidence to suggest that religion can act as an agent of social control over women. For example in Orthodox Judaism women are strictly banned from religious ceremonies and aren't allowed to read from the Torah scowl and the acceptance of women is a blasphemous deviation from the biblical truth. On the other hand religion can be seen as salvation for women. Watson researched the meaning of veiling, according to the Qur'an women should exercise religious modesty because their seductiveness can lead men astray. The hijab can be seen by some as a patriarchal motive to control women, whilst others believe it is highly liberating and is a form of protection from prejudice attitudes. Rebecca Jones ...read more.

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