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Flashcards in Gender and Society Deck (25):

Historical views of gender roles


-Women inferior to men in physical strength, intelligence.
-Used word 'defective' when comparing women to men
-However he did say that whilst inferior they had high place in heaven (Virgin Mary)


Historical views of gender roles


-Believed women inferior to men
'It is only males who are created directly by the gods and are given souls'
-Being born woman unfortunate
-However did support that women should be treated fairly and not as possessions


Historical views of gender roles


-Highly influential in western thought (due to support of science)
-Women 'naturally inferior' from his observations of society
-Therefore men have taught to rule as women can't produce semen and have passive role in reproduction


Patriarchy and feminism


-Most societies in world patriarchal, men tend to dominate:
-Social structures such as governments and workplaces
-Domestic relationships such as being seen as 'head of household'


Patriarchy and feminism

Why is this the case?

Mary Wollstonecraft

-Education, Mary Wollstonecraft (early feminist writer)
-Called in 1782 for 'a vindication of the rights of woman'
-In this she set out argument for education both men and women to same standard


Patriarchy and feminism

Malala Yousafazi quote

'We cannot succeed when half of us are held back'


Patriarchy and feminism

Women's liberation movement

-Worked on removing restrictions of a patriarchal society, so that women could enjoy the same freedom as men


Christianity in gender crisis

-Traditionally taught men and women created by God to have different, complementary qualities
-Bible teaches within marriage a man should be in charge and woman should submit to his authority


Christianity in gender crisis

Original wedding vows

And feminist argument

Women: 'and to obey'

Feminists argue women should have save freedoms as men and object to idea that mean have a 'natural authority over women'



-How we learn the norms of our society, from this we develop our gender identification and expression


Christianity: men and women equal

Occupations and skills

-Men and women equal in worth but have different skills and altitudes
-Certain occupations better suitable to men, not because they are better


Christianity: men and women equal

Church occupations

-Due to different skills men and women have other positions of authority within church
-Should not take on any role where they represent Christ


Christianity: men and women equal

Catholic Church example

-Catholic church does not ordain women to priesthood as Jesus had only male disciples (only recorded ones?)
-God chose Jesus to be a man not a woman


Christianity: men and women equal

Church of England


-CofE does ordain women, arguing God calls people not genders

-Christianity therefore sometimes blame for perpetuating injustice by giving support to idea that women need not be treated as well as men


Traditional Christian Vires


'So God created mankind in his own image of God he created them; male and female he created them'

(Any hint of superiority)


Traditional Christian views

Where does male superiority idea come from?

second creation story

-2nd creation story causes some problems: male created first and woman second from his rib as companion
-Woman first succumbed to temptation, used to support that women are weaker will
-Results in hire that men should take lead on decisions and should not be swayed by woman (Adam not have said no?)


Traditional Christian views


'Wives, submit to your own husbands as you go the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church... Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church'


Traditional Christian views

Biblical patriarchy

-Bible cited as justification for the men having complete authority in the home
-Christian Egalitarian: Within marriage, husband and wife should be mutually respectful and supportive without dominating the other


Pope John Paul II

Open letter


-Wrote open letter in 1988 called 'Mulieris Dignitatem' - on the dignity and rights of women
-It was a response to accusations that the church was sexist


Pope John Paul II

Open letter


-Wrote about different but complementary skills and qualities of women and focused on examples of Christian devotion set by female European saints
-God can't to earth as Jesus but only possible through Virgin Mary
-Fulfilment of female personality = virginity and motherhood



-Enables woman to be self giving as she has a 'special openness' to that new person
-Women 'naturally disposed to motherhood'
-Both physically and psychological gift from God
-Whilst parenthood is shared, a husband owes a special debt to woman




-He does repeat word 'passive' like Aristotle and AQUINAS to describe pregnancy as something that happens rather than actively done
-Childbirth due to original sin but also gives insight into pain of Christ


Motherhood: liberating or restricting

Simone de Beauvoir
Feminist writer

-Wrote in 1940d about ways motherhood forces women to suspend their own interests and personality inorder to take care of children
-Startlingly unconventional but struck cord with many women who still didn't have birth control (1960s married women contraception, 1875 single women)


Motherhood: Liberating or restricting

Ann Oakley

-Wrote about negatives of motherhood interviewing women who said:
-During giving birth they felt powerless as when men (doctors) take over
-Maternal instinct is guts to socialisation not biology
-How frustrating it is to be a stay-at-home mother


Mary Daly

-Women's abilities and knowledge are superior and therefore women ought to govern men as would result in more peaceful society and be better for environment
-Saw women that were released when in classes with young men they shut up, they're laughed at if they have unusual ideas. They have to be sexy, they can't really think