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The Main Aims and Messages of Feminist Theology
As Rosemary Radford Ruether said, “The critical principle of feminist
theology is the promotion of the full humanity of women”. The factors
which take away women’s humanity, which have been created by
Patriarchal societies, are seen as not being true representations of
the divine and the nature of the world. These implications are voiced
throughout the bible, in the testament both Old and New and “Uses
texts according to implicit or explicit assumptions about the
normative development of Biblical faith”. The bible is also claimed to
show how this prophetic faith denounces religious ideologies and
systems that function to justify and sanctify the dominant, unjust
social order. Basically Feminist Theology tries to demonstrate how
women have no ‘humanity’ because of the patriarchal societies show
within the bible, and how this sexism still occurs today because of
this.
Feminist Theology emerged in the early 1960’s from within both the
Christian and Jewish communities. The original feminist theologians
from these fellowships compared the experiences of men and women and
it then became apparent (to them) that these experiences were
‘different’. They also realised that all experience was from that of
men, and began to explore theology from a women’s perspective. This
then became an ongoing process of going into detail of the different
types of experience. For example, a heterosexual women, a homosexual
women, a bi-sexual women, a blind women, a pregnant women etc. The
list is infinite as there are so many different combinations and
possible experiences.
Because of this, the aims and messages of Feminist Theology are
difficult to explain and outline as many different points are trying
to be made from many different angles. These ‘angles’ or aims are
derived from different sources, mainly the bible, but more recently
from modern statistics and experiences. But as I have said, there is
no ‘one’ experience, and the Feminist Theology movement continues to
stress this and the fact that women’s experiences are important too.
Ad they believe once this is recognised by men, women will finally be
seen as equals and given the same rights.
Feminist theologians do many different things to try to achieve there
goal, and prove their point. They look at the Bible and show times
when women are treated badly, (which occur many times!) they then may
go on to explain this and change this or even be so radical as to
erase it completely. The emphasis is on the bible though, as it the
basis of Feminist Theology. Nowadays, this lays the foundation for the
arguments the Feminist theologians use. They now try to raise
awareness of cruelty and violence against women in modern society, as
well as using figures from years previous to compare these figures.
These Theologians are trying to demonstrate how even though women’s
role in life today has changed, i.e. employment, reproductive
practices, sexual practices and family structures – the way they are
seen and treated has not. Although they have increased status in
society, they still experience sexism, which has not evolved at all
and resembles that shown originally in the bible.