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Feminism

I am a feminist and a Christian. I just began reading your book, Manifesta, and I am beginning to think that this isn't a very easy combination. So many ideas conflict. I would like to know your views on this, and if there is a large population of people like me out there.

- Ashley

 

Dear Ashley,

Unfortunately, we don't devote too much space in Manifesta to religion and I actually think this is a shortcoming of the book as religion --or the combining, rather than compromising, of feminism and different religions-- is really a third wave issue.

Historically, feminism has been in conflict with the world's religions, including individual women feeling conflicted about their faith and whether or not being religious compromised their feminism. In response to this, many feminists devoted a lot of resources to bringing their feminism into their religions, which often required going to the root of these religions rather than relying on the most prominent interpretations -- i.e. Catholic doctrine v. the Vatican. There are groups like Catholics for a Free Choice, which is headed by Frances Kissling, that do a great job of showing how Catholocism is more open to woman's rights than we have been led to believe.

Within Judaism, there are groups like Ma'yan and even a Jewish feminist magazine, Lilith. The Unitarian Universalists have a great feminist following -- and I would say the entire religion is feminist influenced. Within Islam, there are several women working to root out feminism. There is a great book called Women Imagine Change: Women's Writings 600 BCE to the Present, which includes many essays on this topic. I highly recommend reading it. The work of Karen Armstrong, including a biography of Mohammed, is also a great resource.

There are organizations and groups, like the Auburn Theological Society, based in New York City and the Sister Fund, also based in NYC, or the Amazon Fund, based in Arizona -- all of which are doing a great job of bringing feminism and religions together-- so women like yourself will no longer feel they have to make this unnecessary and unrealistic choice.

Thanks for writing,

Amy


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