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A woman?

How much control do we have over our gender and sexual identities and how much is controlled by biology, society or other factors? This course will delve into questions of gender and sexual identity, studying cutting edge theories in concert with art, literature, religious texts and personal narratives in a safe, supportive and open environment.

His scholarship focuses on relationships between Jewish studies and queer theory, intergenerational post-Holocaust perspectives, the life and work of Maurice Sendak, the history of the Jewish family and Jewish childhood, and comics and graphic narratives. Golan also holds a BA in Art from Vassar College, and his teaching continues to draw from the visual arts, integrating creative approaches to analyze intersections between the personal, the historical, and the political.

His work has been recognized with honors including an Andrew W. Some scholars [4] suggest that ancient religious Goddesses have been reinterpreted to follow specific gender roles. For example, the Nordic goddess Freya first represented war and love, but after centuries, she was transformed into only representing love and a sexual behaviour. The Hindu goddess, Kali, breaks the gender role of women representing love, sex, fertility, and beauty because she is the goddess of both the life cycle and destructive war.

An example of the typical female goddess is Aphrodite, who is shown as vain, simple, and beautiful. In Christianity , one entity of the Trinity, the Son, is believed to have become incarnate as a human male.

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Christians have traditionally believed that God the Father has masculine gender rather than male sex because the Father has never been incarnated. By contrast, there is less historical consensus on the gender of the Holy Spirit. Islam, on the other hand, has a tradition that the name Allah, like its referent, can be allocated neither grammatical nor natural gender. Masculine pronouns for Allah in the Qur'an are interpreted as generic.

The creation myths of many religions contain stories about how humans came to have gender. In many stories, man and woman are created at the same time, with equal standing. One example is the creation story in Genesis 1 : "And God created the man in his image. In the image of God he created him.


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Male and female he created them. The first man, Adam, has been viewed as a spiritual being or an ideal who can be distinguished as both male and female; an androgynous being with no sex. In other accounts, man is created first, followed by woman.

Gender studies - Wikipedia

This is the case in the creation account of Genesis 2, where the first woman Eve is created from the rib of the first man Adam , as a companion and helper. However, the unitary self is either androgynous or physically male; both of which are masculine in configuration. Thus male and female are to become one; meaning that she is to become male. Women who become intimate with men are marked women, whereas those who do not participate in such acts and who are divinely inspired are considered virgins.

Thus women can escape from being gendered as women if they participate in celibacy. In Plato 's Symposium , Aristophanes provides an account to explain gender and romantic attraction. As punishment for attacking the gods, each was split in half. The halves of the androgynous being became heterosexual men and women, while the halves of the all-male and all-female became gays and lesbians , respectively. Some religions restrict leadership to males. Beginning in the 19th century, some Christian denominations have ordained women.

Some of those denominations ordain women to the diaconate , believing this is encouraged by 1 Timothy Some Islamic communities mainly outside the Middle East have recently appointed women as imams , normally with ministries restricted to leading women in prayer and other charitable ministries.

Both masculine and feminine deities feature prominently in Hinduism. The identity of the Vedic writers is not known, but the first hymn of the Rigveda is addressed to the masculine deity Agni , and the pantheon of the Vedas is dominated by masculine gods. The most prominent Avatars of Vishnu are men. Mostly, the traditional religious leaders of Jainism are all men. Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha was a man, but the female Buddha Vajrayogini is very important in Buddhism.

In Abrahamic religions, Abraham himself, Moses , David and Elijah are among the most significant leaders documented according to the traditions of the Hebrew Bible. John the Baptist , Jesus and his apostles, and Saul of Tarsus again give the New Testament an impression of the founders and key figures of Christianity being male dominated.

They were followed by a millennium of theologians known as the Church Fathers.

On the other hand, The Virgin Mary , the mother of Jesus of Nazareth, is not associated with leadership or teaching, but is nonetheless a key figure in Catholicism. Fatimah , daughter of Muhammad is regarded by Muslims as an exemplar for men and women. Women serve in higher percentages of leadership in appointed and elected national and international institutions of the religion than in the general population.

However, only men are allowed to be members of the religion's highest governing body, the Universal House of Justice.

Women in the World: Time for a New Paradigm for Peace

Nakayama Miki was the founder of Tenrikyo , which may be the largest religion to have a woman founder. Ellen G.

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White was instrumental to the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and is officially considered a prophet by Seventh-day Adventists. Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science movement. Many religions have traditionally practiced sex segregation. In traditional Jewish synagogues , the women's section is separated from the men's section by a wall or curtain called a mechitza. More traditional or 'right wing' Modern Orthodox Judaism, and all forms of Haredi Judaism , requires the mechitza to be of a type which absolutely prevents the men from seeing the women.

Enclosed religious orders are usually segregated by gender. Sex segregation in Islam includes restrictions on interaction between men and women. Men and women also worship separately in most mosques. According to the Quran, women are not permitted to enter the mosque unless they cover their hair with hijabs and their bodies with modest clothing. Additionally, they are not to wear perfume, nail polish, or any other things that can cause sexual distress to men. For this reason, women pray behind men or in separate rooms from men in order to avoid causing sexual distress to them.

Nearly all religions recognize marriage , and many religions also promote views on appropriate gender roles within marriage.

Women's and Gender Studies

Two notable views are Complementarianism and Egalitarianism. In Genesis 3, Adam names his wife Eve "life" because she "was the mother of all living" Genesis The complementarian view of marriage is widely accepted in Christianity, the husband viewed as the leader and wife viewed as the follower. In mainstream Christian tradition, the relationship between a husband and wife is believed to mirror the relationship between Christ and the Church.

This can be seen in Ephesians [22]. The man, Christian traditionalists assert, is meant to be a living martyr for his wife, "giving himself up for her" daily and through acts of unselfish love. While this has been the norm for years, some Christians are moving towards more Egalitarian views. What once would've been rejected, gender equality within heterosexual marriage, is now being brought in as a viable option within the faith. Homosexual gender roles within marriage have not been widely expounded upon by Christian churches due to the inconsistency in doctrine regarding the issue across the faith as a whole.

In Islam , a woman's primary responsibility is usually interpreted as fulfilling her role as a wife and mother, whereas women still have the right and are free to work.

The Gender Gap in Religion Around the World

In regards to guidelines in marriage, a man is allowed to marry a Muslim, Jewish, Sabaean, or Christian woman whereas a woman is only allowed to marry a Muslim man. Both genders cannot marry nonbelievers or polytheists.


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  4. The matter of divorce is discussed in verse of the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran instructs women to wait at least three menstrual periods, called Iddah, before committing to a second marriage. The purpose of the Iddah is to ensure that a woman's pregnancy will be linked to the correct biological father. During the three-month waiting period, only the man has the right to initiate a marital reunion if both sides desire to reconcile. This yields a gender equality perspective in the sense that women have power over men in regards to finance parallel to how men have power over women in regards to obedience, both of which are only valid to a reasonable extent.

    More specifically, a woman is to give up custody of her child if the child is over the age of seven.