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An Essay on Feminism - Peter Gelleri Essay on feminism | Analysis Essay!

When working on your essay on feminism, it is possible to analyze various theories of this movement in historical perspective, or write about some notable ideologists, like Susan B Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Carol Hanisch, and others. It is possible to analyze feminist effects on modern society or current activities of those who fight for human right in different parts of the world. While working on the essay on feminism, do not forget to pay close attention to academic essay writing issues, including referencing, choosing a proper formatting style, citing the works or theories you are referring to in your essay. Remember to proofread properly your academic essay and be sure that it passes Copyscape or other anti-plagiarism tools. Good luck with your academic essay on feminism.

Hey, thanks for posting. One note on sub editing, article titles should be in standard case. I.e. "a collection of essays on feminism and sexism…" rather than capitalised. I'm going to edit these ones but just FYI for the future

In our times of global crises in all spheres of our life, starting from financial or political and ending up with moral or ethical aspects, the problems of controversy and competition are being widely discussed in all kinds of media. Such issues as racial, social and religious diversity, the differences in life quality between various social layers, negative financial outcomes of capitalistic economy, as well as a lack of equality and feminism related problems are very commonly chosen as topics for analytic articles, critical writings, or academic works. Writing an essay on feminism, analyzing the effects of various problems surrounding the issue of men-women equality in today’s world, and working on creating own interesting perspective or viewpoint to the issue can be a very challenging task for modern students which will definitely require quite a lot of efforts but if written properly can deserve a very positive review and help to get a high grade to any college student.

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- Essays on feminism - Definition Essays!

What are essay on feminism the main topic of your writing for a paper written for you to become a first-class professional. One should also choose the essay to a company, offering to write an essay for me. We will try to choose from. Hopefully, the information about the topic.

essay on Feminism within Roald Dahls Childrens Book, The Witches

This essay on feminism focuses on intersectional analysis, an emerging, important theoretical contribution by feminism to sociology. Intersectional analysis involves the concurrent analyses of multiple, intersecting (and interacting) sources of subordination/oppression. There are early examples of publications based on this type of analysis around 1980 in North America and Britain, but it was only a decade later that its use started to become more widespread. Its development at different rates in various parts of the world is selectively explored, as well as some of the types of publications in which it has been used.

Essay collection on feminism and spirituality edited by Dr

This social movement is very popular nowadays and supported by a great deal of celebrities and influential people. A great deal of social studies has been carried out on this subject, and those will help you a lot when working on your academic essay on feminism. It is possible to analyze the problem only from a certain angle, like social, sexual, religious, or non-religious. Actually, the issues of feminism and religion are closely related since Christianity promotes sexual discrimination by setting up the rule of dominance of men in Christian marriage, as well as in government and certain social institutions. Many feminism supporters are trying to prove that God actually does not discriminate women and men by any biological or social characteristic, this way Christianity should not be considered discriminative.

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Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

understand the term; they are often less concrete. Nevertheless, the ways in which unaffiliated Jews create and interpret their sense of being Jewish are themselves innovative Jewish practices – lived religion – outside of institutional structures. By including these rituals within our study of American Jewish practice, we succeed in broadening sociological conceptions of religious rituals to include those practices of lived religion.

Engaging Feminist Inquiry in the Sociology of Religion

The impact of feminism and feminist scholarship on the field of sociology has been much debated. This essay extends that debate to the sociology of religion and spirituality. I argue that those women sociologists who identified with the women’s movement experienced a dislocation when they tried to move between their experiences as women and their experiences in the world of sociology. This chapter emphasizes one response, the call for a sociology for women, a radical rethinking of how we know what we know and for whom we undertake this project of knowledge production. I begin with a short discussion of feminism both inside and outside of the academy, and then I review a broad range of studies that contribute to making women visible and explore questions of gender and religion. Next I outline a method of inquiry that comes out of the work of Dorothy Smith and Patricia Hill Collins. It is a feminist theory that begins with an alternative epistemology, and posits a feminist sociology that takes as its core assumption the idea that all knowledge is located and interested. I end with three works that exemplify located, feminist research.


Sitting down at my wordprocessor, I ponder the task before me. The idea of writing an essay on “feminist theory and the sociology of religion” seems so much more problematic than it did even ten years ago when I agreed to take on a similar task. 1 What it means to talk about feminism and what it means to talk about theory has been “complicated” by a decade of deconstruction. What do I say? Where do I begin? Feminists do not speak with a single voice, and feminist theory never was, and certainly is not now, a single perspective. What I write reflects my own passions, my own intellectual

1 In the review essay “Inequality and Difference,” I reviewed research on women and religion in the sociology of religion published before 1990 (Neitz 1993). This essay will address work published since that time. I also am looking primarily at research by sociologists. There are now large literatures looking at this topic by scholars in history, anthropology, and religious studies. These literatures are not included within the purview of this essay.

My deep appreciation to the many people who helped me think about this chapter and who read various drafts: Mimi Goldman, Janet Jacobs, Nancy Nason-Clark, Karen Bradley, Kevin McElmurray, and Ann Detwiler-Breidenbach, and special thanks to Lynn Davidman and Peter Hall.

Feminist Inquiry in the Sociology of Religion

journey, my own discoveries, my own engagement with questions raised by discourses in the sociology of religion, feminist thought, and the particular groups I have studied – and puzzled about – over the years.

Perhaps a first question is to ask whether we are not now “postfeminist.” In both popular and academic cultures I sometimes encounter the claim that feminism is something that has come and gone. Popular news magazines such as Time and Newsweek have featured the death of feminism in cover stories in 1990 and 1998, respectively. At the same time, second-wave feminists continue to pursue such goals as equality in employment, health care for women, reproductive freedoms, and an end to violence against women. The new generation of “third-wave” feminists write their own Manifestas (Baumgardner and Richards 2000), run Internet sites, and organize for their own feminist goals. 2 Likewise, feminist graduate students in the 1990s were likely to be told that feminism was over as a movement of import for sociology: Feminists had some insights, but sociology had learned what there was to be learned from feminism. And moved on. While gender might be considered a variable, feminism was not theoretically interesting. 3 I, and the approximately one quarter to one third of American women who label themselves feminist in national opinion polls, disagree with this assessment. 4 Yet, it is also the case that long-term movements are not static. Second-wave feminists raised their children, girls and boys, in a different world from the one in which they had grown up. Rather than feminism being a revelation, for many third wavers, “Feminism is like fluoride. it’s in the water,” (Baumgardner and Richards 2000: 17). Early successes (and failures) produced changes in the frames that recruit later participants. Third-wave feminists do not necessarily look or talk like second wave feminists did. The 1990s’ feminist zines, such as Bust (first published in 1993) and Bitch (first published in 1995), offer different content for a mostly younger audience from the still existing feminist publishing ventures of the 1970s, Off Our Backs and MS. but the difference does not signify the death of feminism.

The idea of an ongoing social and cultural movement is captured by the notion that feminism is a discourse. Jane Mansbridge speaks in terms of the movement as “accountability”:

Most politically active feminists in any country work in occupations whose primary goal is not to advance feminism. When their work affects women, these feminists turn for conscious inspiration to the women’s movement. They also feel accountable to that movement. The entity. to which they feel accountable is neither an aggregation of organizations or an aggregation of individuals. It is a discourse. It is a set of changing, contested aspirations and understandings that provide conscious goals,

2 One example is the creation of feminist.com. For a list of organizations, as well as electronic and print resources, see Baumgardner and Richards (2000).

3 For one account of graduate school in the 1990s, see Becker (2000).

4 The political scientist Jane Mansbridge has looked at the poll data and reports the following: “If an interviewer from a national survey organization phones and asks the question, ‘Do you consider yourself a feminist?’ from a quarter to a third of American women these days answer ‘yes’. This percentage is not much smaller than the percentage who consider themselves Democrats or the percentage that consider themselves to be Republicans. Nor does it seem to vary dramatically by race or class. In 1989, when a survey asked a representative sample of women in the United States, ‘Do you consider yourself a feminist?’ 42% of Black women said ‘yes’ compared with 31% of white women. As many working class women as middle class women said ‘yes’” (1995: 27).

cognitive backing, and emotional support for each individual’s evolving feminist identity. (1995: 27)

This view of feminism as changing and contested signals an openness and unboundedness, a yeastiness essential to the bread and beer of feminism.

Academic feminists are a part of this discourse. Starting with the problem of inequality between men and women, the discourse shifted as writers came to realize that we also needed to understand inequalities among women. We needed to think about how race and class and gender intersect in particular ways for different groups of women, creating different oppressions and opportunities (Collins 1991). Postcolonial writers reconfigured boundaries and brought feminist thought into the borderlands (Spivak 1988; Trinh 1988; Anzuldua 1987). Postmodern queer theorists questioned the stability of gender categories (Butler 1990). From a beginning in which second-wave feminists sought to examine and explain women’s common oppression, some feminists have moved to deconstructions of the category of “woman” itself (Wittag 1981/1993). Feminist researchers working today do not assume that “woman” has a universal meaning. 5 Yet, feminism, much changed, with and without modifiers, persists as the most useful word to identify a way of thinking that begins with questions about the status and experiences of particular groups of women.

All of this ferment has produced new knowledge and new ways of thinking about women, men, and the relations between/among them. Although that thinking has been incorporated unevenly into the academic disciplines, there is now a considerable body of literature that examines gender in relation to religion. Women are now visible in a way that they were not before 1970. Feminism as discourse had an impact on academic life as well as in the popular culture.

In the 1970s those of us hoping to make a feminist revolution in academia spoke of three approaches to studying women. We acknowledged that the first question was likely to be “Where are the women?” Because women were, for the most part, invisible, early feminist writing largely took the form of critiquing male knowledge on this basis (e.g. Wallace 1975). The second approach was a response to the first: We called it “add women and stir.” In this approach scholars take women as the object of study, using conventional disciplinary concepts and frameworks. This approach produces new knowledge about women and gender relations, but not necessarily new questions (e.g. England 1993). Some feminists suggested a third approach: They asked, What questions would emerge if we put women’s experience at the center of the analysis, as active subjects and as knowers? How would our concepts and theories be disrupted? How does beginning in the location of women present new ways of thinking about key processes and institutions?

What difference can it make to begin with the location of women? The historian Ann Braude provides an example. Her analysis suggests a rethinking of the concept of secularization. 6 Braude examines the historical claims that religion declined in the United States during the colonial period, was feminized during the Victorian period,

5 To see the multiplicity of current issues and framings among feminist researchers, see Feminisms at the Millennium. a special issue of Signs. Volume 25, Number 4.

6 For a recent review of this concept in sociology, see Swatos and Christiano (1999). Their essay is an introduction to a special issue of the journal Sociology of Religion on the secularization debates.

Feminist Inquiry in the Sociology of Religion

and gave way to a secular order in the twentieth century. She states that “attention to gender helps to explain why these motifs, and the historical claims which ground them have held such explanatory power for historians, even though, from an empirical perspective, they never happened” (1997: 87). The received view, a tale of the growing absence of religion from the public sphere, reflects the theological views of a particular group of Protestant men, who observed the growing absence of mainline Protestant (male) ministers from the public realm. The story told from the location of women looks quite different. In her essay, Braude outlines a story that begins with the fact that women have always constituted a majority of participants in American religious life. The story she tells is organized around the increasing involvement of women. In her version of the story, given their numerical dominance, it is women’s exclusions from the conventional narrative that must be explained. This places women’s participation in the context of male power. Braude’s story differs from the story about decline that dominates the literature: The common understanding of secularization “incorporates into the story of American Religion assumptions about women’s powerlessness” (1997: 97). If women’s power were considered in a positive light, then the dominant story would assume that the decline of mainline male participation in the public realm meant the decline of religion itself. Putting women at the center of the analysis changes the questions as well as the answers.


The last decade has seen a tremendous increase in the visibility of women. Increasing numbers of studies incorporate questions about women and gender. In looking at this literature, we can see instances where conventional approaches fold in women, but there also are instances where studying women leads scholars to ask new questions. In this section, I review a large literature that increasingly shows us where the women are and demonstrates how gender matters to sociologists studying religion.

Critiques of Androcentric Biases

Early and often, Ruth Wallace has raised the question, “Where are the women?” in the sociology of religion. The question has had a number of meanings in her work: She has questioned both the absence of research conducted from a feminist perspective and also the lack of opportunities for women in leadership positions, in both the organizations we study and the organizations through which we report our studies. She has been concerned about the relative absence of opportunities for women as leaders in religious organizations, especially the Roman Catholic Church in the United States (1975, 1992, 1997). She also has been concerned about the absence of women leaders in organizations where gender and religion are likely to be studied (2000). Several other scholars have examined the androcentric biases in the work of particular theorists. Erickson (1993) examines the work of Weber and Durkheim in the founding generation, and Otto and Eliade, from subsequent cohorts, on the distinction between the sacred and profane. The use of rational choice theory in the sociology of religion also has been criticized for androcentric biases from a feminist interpretivist perspective (Neitz and Mueser 1997) and from a critical perspective that borrows from Gramsci and Freud (Carroll 1996).

Gender as a Variable

Conventional sociology takes on the interest in gender with least disruption to mainstream methods and theories in standard variable analyses that use a person’s status as male or female to explain some aspect of religiosity, for example having positive attitudes toward Christianity (Francis and Wilcox 1998) or seeking consolation in religion for health problems (Ferraro and Kelly Moore 2000). Miller and Hoffman (1995) offer an interesting variation on this type of study, in that they argue that preference for risk is what explains religiosity, with less risk averse people tending to be less religious. Women are more religious, they argue, because women are more risk averse. Others use gender and religion to explain other attributes such as educational attainment (Sherkat and Darnell 1999; Keysar and Kosmin 1995) or beliefs about suicide (Stack, Wasserman, and Kposowa 1994). For some, gender as the explanatory variable is not one’s status as male or female, but rather how masculine or feminine one is according to measures on a personality inventory. Mercer and Durham (1999) suggest that more feminine scores predict greater disposition toward mysticism. Two studies in England among Anglicans and Methodists have also suggested that more feminine men and more masculine women are attracted to ministry as a vocation (Robbins, Francis, Haley and Kay 2001; Robbins, Francis and Rutledge 1997).

Women in the Protestant Mainline

Over the last two decades considerable research on women in mainline Protestant traditions has take women clergy as its focus. In a recent review of this literature, Chang (1997) notes three dominant themes: First, labor market approaches to clergy careers; second, public perceptions of female clergy; and third, gendered ministry styles. We know about the experiences of women clergy in congregations (Charlton 1997; Wessinger 1996), and women’s career paths both within (Prelinger 1992) and across denominations (e.g. Zikmund et al. 1998; Nesbitt 1997; Chaves 1997). Research on gender differences in clergy values and styles offers some evidence that women are less hierarchical, more likely to use an intuitive style, and to have developed an ethics based on “responsible caring” (Finlay 1996; Lehman 1993; Wallace 1992). Olson, Crawford, and Guth (2000) showed sustained interests in social justice issues among women clergy in mainline denominations. Konieczny and Chaves (2000) use data from the 1998 National Congregation Study to add to our knowledge of demographic characteristics of congregations led by female pastors. Because the sample is the first nationally representative sample of congregations, it enables us to look beyond the mainline Protestant denominations which have been the focus of most of the work on women clergy. In contrast to earlier studies, Konieczny and Chaves find that the proportion of women pastors in urban and rural areas is nearly the same. Female-headed urban congregations, however, are likely to be predominately African American, and to have no denominational identification.

In a departure from the focus on clergy in much of the literature on mainline denominations, Julie Manville (1997) has applied a feminist analysis of gendered organizations to an Anglican parish in Australia. Manville examines the gendering processes which create and maintain a female “church within a church.” Manville then shows how the

Feminist Inquiry in the Sociology of Religion

separate domain of women could be – and was – dismissed by the priest and vestry. Women who crossed the boundaries into male domains experienced sexual teasing and harassment. Some women successfully cross the boundaries, but “at the expense of risking being labeled a man” (1997: 37). Manville’s study suggests the fruitfulness of looking at the ways organizational practices produce and reproduce gender. 7

Protestant Evangelical Women

Outside the Protestant mainline, ordination of women is less common, and studies are likely to focus on members rather than clergy (but see Wessinger 1993). A number of important ethnographies in the 1990s, beginning with Stacey and Gerard (1990) have helped readers to understand women’s complicated participation in the evangelical cultures. For example, Ozorak (1996) explored the question of whether women felt empowered by religious participation. She found that women did not have access to power in conventional ways through religious participation, but that they received valued relational rewards from participation. With case studies of two large congregations from Calvary Chapel and Hope Chapel parachurch movements, in Godly Women (1998) Brenda Brasher helps us understand how these women understand their participation in a context of male dominance. She finds that women accept gender polarity in congregations as a whole and establish separate women’s ministries. But they claim that gender does not matter when it comes to God’s message; the preaching, teaching, and healing is for everyone. Marie Griffith’s (1997) study of Women’s Aglow Fellowship, God’s Daughters. describes the changing meaning of “submission” for evangelical women when most of them, by the 1990s, were not full time homemakers.

Gender and American Jews

In 1991, Lynn Davidman and Deborah Kaufman published much cited books about newly Orthodox Jewish women, in which feminist authors asked how modern women could make sense out of living in the Orthodox world. In contrast, Dufour (2000) looks at how women who identify as both Jewish and feminist “sift through” their options to create identities, combining elements of Jewish and feminist practices in such a way that they experience minimal conflict between the two (see also Davidman 1994). Jacobs also looks at the construction of Jewish identities, although in a very different context. In her research on the modern descendants of crypto-Jews, Jacobs investigates the gendered relationship between ethnicity and spiritual development (2000), and the role of women in preserving crypto-Jewish culture (1996).

Other researchers have examined issues of conflict among Jews over gender roles. In one extreme case, it resulted in a schism in a synagogue (Zuckerman 1997). Hartman and Hartman (1996) analyze data from the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey to examine inequality between American male and female Jews, according to their degree of participation and their denominational affiliation. One interesting finding is that gender inequality between spouses does not vary by denomination. In her study of conservative Catholics, Evangelical Protestants, and Orthodox Jewish women, Manning

7 See also Zoey Heyer-Gray’s (2000) suggestive comment on the religious work women do.

(1999) broadens the questions about relations between feminist and religious values by looking across these religious families. In her sites, the meanings of both orthodoxy and feminism are contested, and this work serves to remind researchers of the benefits of problematizing both categories, rather than taking them for granted.

Gender and New Religious Movements

Gender relations in new religious movements, which include both religions new to North America and newly founded religions, continue to be a source of interest to sociologists of religion. Susan Palmer’s controversial work argued, among other things, that new religions are places where women experiment with gender roles and sexuality (1993). In an interesting comparison of Brahma Kumaris in India and in Western countries, Howell (1998) contests and clarifies some of Palmer’s claims. Marion Goldman’s (2000) study of women followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh investigates the psychological as well as social and cultural reasons why followers were disproportionately high achieving women. Goldman and Isaacson (1999) offer a too rare comparison of gender role ideologies in Christian and non-Christian based new religious movements.

Anglo-Roman Catholic Women

Feminist research on white Roman Catholic women has several strands, starting with those documenting the continuing feminist resistance to the male leadership of the church hierarchy. Katzenstein (1995, 1998) examines feminist organizations within the Catholic church, including Woman Church and the Women’s Ordination Conference, in terms of practices of a discursive politics through which activists “are engaged in the construction of a knowledge community whose view of the institutional church and of the society is self-consciously at odds with the present day Catholic hierarchy” (1998: 107). Michele Dillon (1999a) also studied the Women’s Ordination Conference and along with Catholics for a Free Choice, and Dignity (an organization supporting gays and lesbians within the Catholic church) examined these organizations within a broader emancipatory project initiated by the Second Vatican Council which located the authority within the Roman Catholic Church among the “People of God.” Dillon shows how the people she studied use the church’s own doctrines to dispute the reasonableness of positions taken by church authorities, and argues that these groups’ contestation of Vatican authority offer evidence for pluralism within the Catholic Church.

Several writers tell the story of the opportunities and constraints experienced by women in Roman Catholic communities of sisters (Ebaugh 1993; Wittberg 1994; Wallace 2000). Others study lay women and their participation in congregational life. For example, Manning (1997) looks at how liberal and conservative Catholic women talk about reproductive choice and women’s ordination. She suggests that, unlike Protestants and Jews who choose a denominational affiliation corresponding to their liberal or conservative leanings, the Catholic women must deal with each other in the same organization. Yet she is unsure whether this “moderating tendency” is enough to counter the polarized viewpoints of the two camps of women. Thus, the research on both lay women, sisters, and on leaders of resistance movements portrays a church that is polarized over gender issues.

Feminist Inquiry in the Sociology of Religion

Much of the work on Latina women also has focused on Catholic traditions (but see Jacobs 1996, 2000), although often those that are domestic and informal. Ana-Maria Diaz-Stevens (1993) has focused on the importance of cultural identification and ritual activity carried out away from the institutional church. Detwiler-Breidenbach (2000) presents a case study of a pastor’s wife, whose quasi-official role bridges the public and private, as well as the Anglo and Hispanic communities. Ebaugh and Chafetz (1999) argue that women in immigrant communities have an “ironic role”: They both reproduce traditional cultures and produce change. Pena˜ and Frehill (1998) argue for more cultural measures that assess embeddedness. They find that Latina women who are embedded in a Latina culture engage in religious practices that are often missed by researchers, but that produce a culture of resistance that helps them take a stance against both dominant societal institutions and Latino ones.

In the sociology of religion, black women are still largely invisible as pastors and as members of congregations, despite the common recognition that black churches are central to the African-American community, and that women are central to black churches. Part of this invisibility is due to the heavy Euro-American focus of the scholarship in the field. But this is compounded by the fact that the places where black women are most likely to be found are also less visible in the literature. Although there are recent signs of change (Gilkes 1998), the traditionally African-American denominations, including the AME and COGIC, have been slow in ordaining women (Dodson, 1996, 2002; Gilkes 2001). The nondenominational storefronts, where black women preachers are over represented, are virtually invisible to sociologists who study denominationally based religion (but see Baer 1993). Works looking at “church food” (Dodson and Gilkes 1995) or a reading of spiritual song traditions as alternative understandings of Bible stories that are liberating and egalitarian (Gilkes 1996) move into the realms of culture and lived religion. As I discuss later, in order to have the fuller, more inclusive understanding of American religion, it is necessary to start in places where those people who are outside of the organizational hierarchies are to be found (see also Davidman, Chapter 19, this volume).

Global Feminism in the Sociology of Religion

Unfortunately it is still the case that most feminist work in the sociology of religion continues to take the United States, and to a lesser extent Canada, as its universe. The increasing interest in Latin America and migrations is an exception. There is also a growing interest in Islam. Articles such as those by Meyer, Rizzo, and Ali (1998) on citizenship rights for women in Kuwait, and Moaddel (1998) on Islamic modernism in Egypt and India versus Fundamentalist Islam in Iran illustrate the usefulness of analysis of societies outside North America. Gerami and Lehnerer (2001) look specifically at how Iranian women negotiate the patriarchal practices of Islamic Fundamentalism.

Religion and the Body

Movement toward thinking about religious practices instead of religious organizations, and religion outside the institutions instead of within formal religious organizations, has led to a new body of research that looks at religious practices in relation to possibilities and constraints linked to embodiment as female bodies. Looking at lived experience allows us into the presence of women, but what we see is full of cultural contradictions. Of particular note is the new work that begins to look at the social/cultural regulation of reproduction, sexuality, and violence and abuse of women. This is relatively new terrain because sociologists are only beginning to think about embodiment. Klassen’s study of home birth (2001) brings together an understanding of lived religion and embodied religion, disrupting conventional views of both religion and childbirth. Susan Sered (2000) in What Makes Women Sick? addresses what she calls the cultural politics of somaticization. Through a series of specific investigations – of abortion, childbirth, infertility, breastfeeding, rape in military contexts, ritual purity, and body image – we see religion as a site for resistance as well as a site for oppression for women in Israel. But, Sered argues, the forms of resistance religion offers largely use women in iconic ways rather than offering women agency. In addition, Sered shows the intersection of different institutional sources of oppression. Time and time again in this book, Sered demonstrates connections between culture, religion, and politics. Marion Goldman extends these questions to the male experience, looking at the connections between the culture of elite Protestants in the 1950s, and body and spirituality at Esalen Institute. Goldman argues that while Esalen has consistently emphasized body-mind connections, these have a gendered aspect: Women focused on healing aspects of body work, but for many elite Protestant men, Esalen made available the idea of sport as a “structured, embodied spirituality” (2000: 9). The religious practices developed at Esalen could be perceived as manly, by virtue of the link with sports.

Nason Clark (1997, 2000) has been a leader in both investigating church people’s response to abused women, and in counseling pastors to take a leadership role in attending to issues of sexual violence among members of their congregations. 8 Studies of sexual abuse survivors, with samples of inner-city minority women and of Mormon women, suggest that spirituality can be a resource for counseling women for whom religion is a cultural resource (Kennedy, Davis, and Taylor 1998; Pritt 1998). Another approach is to investigate religious organizations’ complicity in matters of sexual abuse. Essays in a collection edited by Shupe, Stacey, and Darnell (2000) examine sexual abuses by religious leaders, as well as ways that organizational structures can inhibit such behaviors, or conversely, protect and hide the perpetrators. Others have studied how religious belief systems are internalized and then used by victims of wife abuse and sexual abuse (Lundgren 1998; Jacobs 1995).

Feminist goddess religions imagine female deities. This disruption of tradition raises issues of religion and the body in a quite different way. A number of writers have shown how women practitioners of contemporary witchcraft find goddess imagery a

8 To be discussed in more detail later.