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Week #2 Reading Reflection Assignment

First Reading Reflection Assignment

General instructions for Reading Reflection assignments.
Use this process for doing the weekly Reading Reflection assignment – this one is due at NOON Thursday, January 22. More detail will be found in the Class Overview section on Reading Reflections.
• Do the week’s assigned reading completely, before starting the Reading Reflection assignment.
• Use the reading discussion questions posted each week as a “tour guide" to doing the reading – keep them with you as you read, as they will keep you on track with the main ideas in the reading. The reading discussion questions will also be a springboard for the optional classroom “book club" discussions or for the on-line reading discussions in the on-line Week #2 Discussion Café (which will be opened up after the Reading Reflections are due – check late Thursday evening or early Friday morning).
• When you are ready to write, do your Reading Reflection assignment initially in Word (or an equivalent word processing program). Make sure you do a spell-check and proofread your writing. Make sure you have not inadvertently used material from the reading without using quotations (and giving the page number). Even parts of sentences “borrowed" from your source counts as plagiarism. I do check!
• Skip lines between paragraphs.
• Do a word count – you will need a minimum of 250 words (about one double-spaced typed page), but aim for 400-500 words.
• When you are satisfied with your Reading Response, copy the entire text, open up a comment (below) and paste your response into the comment block. Include your first name and the initial of your last name, if you want to maintain some privacy (as this is a public blog, not a private course-only Web site). You will need to include your e-mail address as well, but this won't be viewed by others, just by me.

Write comfortably for 10 minutes or so on each of these questions. You don’t have to do all the writing at one time. Also, keep in mind that the reading response writing is fairly informal. You aren't being graded on how polished your prose is, so relax and just share your ideas.

WRITE ON THESE QUESTIONS, NOT THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS IN THE NEXT SECTION.

The articles in WomanSpirit Rising, other than the most recent Preface, have been written 30 years or more ago. Which of the critiques of society or arguments presented still seem fresh to you? Which ideas still seem timely and important? Which do you feel have not met the test of time? What has changed in society that has made these arguments or concerns no longer viable?

Comments

Having rarely walked the aisle of a church as an adult, I struggle to identify what exactly has changed in the average church since WomanSpirit was written. What spoke to me most and felt most relevant was Saiving’s essay “The Human Situation.? Her essay felt classic, like wearing a vintage Chanel suit...still attractive and appropriate, but it carries a faint whiff of its age. I found it interesting to consider how the natural biological drives of women and men have shaped religion in such a way that it works to assuage the anxieties of men but not of women, and in fact worsens the anxieties of women by encouraging her to suppress her desire for personal growth (p.39). The hot topics of womanhood may shift over time, even on a day to day basis thanks to today’s hyperactive media, but the concerns are ultimately the same: how to maintain one’s sense of self and find a satisfying balance among life’s choices, be they parenthood, marriage/partnership, career, hobbies, self-care. Her examinations of “women’s sins? and the roots of “restlessness in women? (p. 35) still ring true. A brief review of a typical internet women’s interests message board reveals the subject matter and tone probably hasn’t changed much in 30 years. The sometimes brutally primal online debates between career moms and stay at home moms, formula feeders and breast feeders, homebirthers and elective C-sectioners, women who submit to their husbands and women who demand equal footing with their partners – all trying to justify and elevate their own choices by criticizing the choices of other women. The anonymous online complaints of women who feel lost, alone and disinterested seem on par with Saiving’s suggestion that “to remain a whole person? a woman must balance “self giving? with “withdrawal into, and enrichment of, her selfhood? (p.37).
I would assert that modern women have identified an ever-growing array of women-specific issues and have learned to make their voice and issues heard, at least amongst themselves. I often see flyers for women’s Christian conferences, women’s spirituality retreats, Church events geared towards mothers. Even non-religious events such as the Vagina Monologues or Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure and 3-Day Walk (which at times feels like a borderline cult with its symbolism – pink in all shapes and forms - and fanaticism) speak to the ever-bolder self-empowerment of women. However, those who work for women’s issues continue to run the risk of excessive “self-transcendence? and “dependence on others for one’s own self-definition,?(p.37) by, for example, giving so much of themselves to a cause or job that they lose balance and falter in their family life or areas of self-care such as exercise and proper diet. This workaholic trait may be socially admirable in men, but in women it suggests deficiency. There are entire books written dedicated to teaching women how to say a tiny but powerful word: “No.? I suppose then, perhaps, modern women’s apparent fascination with pop-spirituality, in the form of Oprah Winfrey’s latest self-help book of the month for example, is an indirect result of traditional religious culture’s failure to create or accept a gender-neutral God-language (p.4) to satisfy our need for the reassurance of “ritual, symbol and myth? (p. 1) to give “meaning and direction to human existence.? The fact that we have at least four generations – in my estimation - of girls who have been provided access to educations comparable in quality (hidden biases aside) of those provided to boys has probably complicated matters, considering these girls grow into dissatisfied, spiritually longing women who are very aware of the deficiencies of male-oriented religious rituals, symbols and myths.
What felt stagnant to me in pages 1-62 of WomanSpirit Rising “was the concept of female ascendency (p.13), even as a “temporary strategy for achieving eventual equality.? Of course there are always people who seek to present the biological and mental capacities of women as proof that they are superior to men and therefore our Creator must be female and should be worshipped as thus, but I think many in the mainstream would feel awkward and view it as a bit silly to attempt to prove one gender as superior or to try to even identify “God? as being one or the other. American society has placed so much value on eliminating discrimination in the form of racism, sexism, and creating equal access for the disabled (again, hidden biases aside). But the thing about American culture is thanks to our belief in religious freedom, and since religion seeks to satisfy one’s need for “private cults for the individual? (p. 47), then nowadays worshipping a Goddess is less an example of female ascendency than it is an exercise in individual religious liberty.

They said that religion is important because of many reasons. Everyone has their own beliefs on Religion but people do believe that religion is deeply meaningful in human life and that the traditional religions of the west have betrayed females. So much has changed in the last years so and that made beliefs also change. Just the way of raising up kids have changed now these days. Women have the right to say what they want to say. They now have the right to do what man has done and can go through the same experiences as men do. They spoke about marriage and how much that has changed over the years that have passed by. They also talked about knowing about childhood to adulthood and the differences. I think since so much has changed in our society a lot has made peoples beliefs and what they grew up with just disappear, even though it is such an important factor in our everyday life, I believe.
The human condition is usually characterized by anxiety. Which man is a creature but has limitations. He is different from everything else, because he is free. Freedom is defined by the natural order. The freedom of man is the source of his historical and cultural creativity. It is stated in the book love is the opposite of sin;. I believe that, because I think it is true.
Some will marry and some won’t. Every woman is brought up a different way since everyone is different. Temptation for men and women are both totally different. Women learn to respect their self, men in their life, and God by chance also. All women have different perspective as to what they want in their life as they are getting older. I think if one says they want to get married and it is their dream, they will want to accomplish their goal and do so.
The traditional rise of civilization make a lot of difference. They said nature and society are giving signals that that the usefulness of spirituality will be ending soon. There have been patterns showing this will happen. Everything will change in time and that has been a fact from the last hundreds of years showing how much is different today than it was back then.

The topics discussed in WomanSpirit Rising are so comprehensive and complicated that I can’t imagine it ever becoming obsolete. There will always be challenges with stereotypes, religion and oppression.

Saiving pointed out some interesting concepts regarding the overall passiveness that women experience in life vs. men’s experience. She pointed out that men must prove themselves by achieving and doing, to attain status of manhood (p. 31). These expectations that they have cause anxiety because it has potential for failure (p. 31), he may not be able to demonstrate any alpha male traits. Though I understand that men have expectations to fulfill for his identity, I do not understand how Saiving could be so concrete about it. What if the male is not able to achieve any of these expectations? Do they then not obtain manhood even though he is still anatomically a man? According to Saiving females just sit back and become women; this is based on things that happen to her or things that are done to her such as menstruation or losing her virginity (p. 31). These ideas of what it takes to come of age in our society feel outdated because of the stereotypes that are implied. The overriding tone that to be a woman is to be a mother and to be a man is to be successful and in control of…whatever it is that he decides to do.

Saiving also states that men and women sin differently and stereotypically. She states that men: “value external achievement, on the creation of structures of matter and meaning (p. 35).? This coincides with her discussion on sin (p. 26) stating: “Sin is the self…magnifying its own power, righteousness, or knowledge.? Women’s achievements and contributions to society are generally overlooked as women apparently do not even sin in this matter. Saiving explains, “Specifically feminine forms of sin…triviality, distractibility, and diffuseness (p. 37).? This generalization of women and men is not viable as it reinforces dated roles and lacks ambition for equality. Society has changed as women have entered the workforce and no longer entirely expected to sit back, dependant on a man, and rear children.

Ruther’s idea of women as charge of reform in religion is important. I appreciate that she does not exclude men in this reform but reinforces a sense of holism and community (p.50). I believe that this concept has stood the test of time and is a valuable model for improvement. Daly expounds on the need for new symbols as a mechanism for abolishing oppression in the religious sect (p.56). This struck me as a very innovative way to change things, simple yet a very monumental task. What an interesting way to change the focus away from the hierarchy and towards equality.

I feel that the idea of reform and equality in religion is still a very revolutionary idea. The term new age comes to mind as such a society of equality still seems very futuristic. In fact, the thought of altering religion to a point where sexism and oppression are not incorporated seems virtually impossible. In my opinion these factors are so deeply imbedded that it would require some degree on naiveté to believe that any major religion is capable of significant transformation.

Which of the critiques of society or arguments presented still seem fresh to you?
One thing that has changed, except in the Catholic Church without fear of excommunication, is that women can now be ministers, reverends and leaders of a flock if you will. However, at least in the Evangelical churches I’ve been in, they better be submissive to their husbands once they’re not ministering to the flock. Women have come so far yet some things remain the same. I think part of it is the “brand? of Christianity they may be ministering in. The more traditional “conservative? type this would ring true. I do know that’s not the case in some of the more “liberal? churches here the cities. Judson, which is a Baptist church, comes to mind. They welcome all people including gay and lesbian couples / families. Their pastor has taken tons of heat for allowing gay and lesbian couples in church, for not preaching their ‘damnation’ and for speaking out against former head of Focus on the Family Dr. James Dobson. Some of her criticisms have come from women themselves and this is the main message I got from Mary Ellens’ comment and from the readings. Women holding each other back. This is still prevalent today. Part of it is we are creatures of habit and don’t like change. It’s also changing tradition; a belief system that has been taught for six hundred years. By criticizing, putting down, challenging or condemning the women who DARE, challenge the teachings of the church (no matter which brand it is) they won’t have to look at their beliefs that no longer ring true for them. They also won’t have to deal with how they’ve raised their families or how they were raised. Instinctively they know it goes deep and to the core of who they are.

Which ideas still seem timely and important?
To me, Reuther’s views in her essay Motherearth and the Megamachine are very timely. A good friend explained to me over the summer that it wasn’t until the 1970’s that we labeled Nature as being Mothernature. That label was given by the Reverend Billy Graham. Its supposed to explain the hurricanes, etc. In other words when nature is being destructive is Mothernatures way of ‘punishing’ us. Why as women are we okay with this label?. Why does nature need a label at all? Anyway, men since the industrial age (I think it just speeded it up. Technology even more so.) have really taken their creative energies and put them into destruction and more recently development. The best example is bigger and ‘better’ weapons some being piloted by remote control. Excuse being they have them we have to arm ourselves. What’s the point of having a nuclear arsenal if all it takes to end civilization is just one?

Which do you feel have not met the test of time?
That one gender needs to be in control of religion over the other. I have felt a gradual shift away from a male dominated religion to a more genderless all inclusive one. At the same time, due to this shift, I’ve felt and have witnessed churches starting to go back to more conservative, ‘traditional’ / controlling teachings. At the same time ‘New Age’ is gaining in popularity. New Age is just another term for the old almost extinct Goddess reiligions.

What has changed in society that has made these arguments or concerns no longer viable? Women and men are not getting answers to questions they’ve asked for a long time. When this happens people will leave one church for another or stop going or believing all together. One example is: Catholics who have become Evangelical. Another are Evangelicals who have become, insert different Christian offshoot / different religion / or no religion what so ever. As people started to seek answers to their questions, some by asking their religious advisors, some by taking classes, by studying the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible (not the Christian Version) one realizes one has been lied to for a long time. When a person realizes this and won’t accept it any longer change can happen. It’s the only way I can explain what has happened with Christians and Global warming and taking care of the earth. In the 1970-1990’s it wasn’t embraced by Christians. I did. I always thought it was Christian to take care of the earth and all of it’s creatures. So it was shocking, maddening and saddening for me that the Evangelical churches I went to in MN (Some big mega ones too) didn’t believe in taking care of the earth or all of it’s creatures. Not sure the reasons why as to the shift, just glad that the shift has happened.

The issues in the book are of the same nature seen in the area of religion. In some areas things have become relaxed and others are still held onto. As for the things between people of the gender situation are still taking place. From what I have read here is an indication they only talk of religion where they put there own rules with a Biblical preference to back their issues up with. As for this which has been taking place since the time before Jesus walked the earth. For Jesus told the people of the way they argue and put people down. In the book of James he speaks of how to treat others. The religion of today does the same as it did back then. It just adds things to it as time itself changes. These issues are dominate to the denomination you belong to. Religion has a way to jam things to you. Like the issue of women in certain positions and how they handle things in their personal lives. One of the issues I know that take place still is that they use gender issues in all sorts of ways like household issues. Or the family life issues. One of such is that the only one that takes care of children is the women not the men. The only one that serve food in the church and take care of the kitchen is the women. Only men as deacons and ushers. Men are also to welcome people only for women are to take care of the women and other issues of the church.
There is not much mentioned of the spirituality side. Mostly I see things that are of the religion issues. These things do not exist in the spiritual side of things. Although the issues of the Bible were made to guide not to be controlled of them. The issues around religion has taken the things of the Bible for a control issue not a guide. One of things that religion does is make man seem like they were made for the law of God when it is the other way around. One of the scriptures that show this is in the book of Mark. Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.? As it was then still is today.

I believe that all of the articles have portions that still ring true and on the other hand also have ideas that seem quite out dated. However, I did not experience the issues addressed at the time that the essays were written, so I cannot speak to them knowledgably. From what I have seen in churches in more recent years I believe that there is more of a move towards equality between the sexes. I attended one church when I was younger where the pastors were a husband and wife team. They also appointed a husband and wife team as the youth leaders. This worked out really well because it helped to balance things within the church. Women still did a lot with the children’s ministries and church pot lucks and such, but the actual church functions were taken on by both sexes. At the time, I was in the youth program and it helped me to see that women could move up within the church and take on basically any role that was available.
From what I have seen on the feminism side (not necessarily in regards to religion) is that women tend to want to compete with men and prove that they are able to do the same things just as well as a man, if not better. This is where I have to agree with Rosemary Reuther’s view on women’s role in religion. Women can fight for their liberation, but we need to do it while including men, not competing with them. I agree with this view because if we compete with men in order to gain our own rights and roles within religion then, if and when we do succeed, we will be placing them in the same situation that we have been fighting against for so long. As Saiving stated, “there are significant differences between masculine and feminine experience? (p.27). There is nothing that we can do to make the sexes completely equal, but we need to strive to balance the experiences that we all have in order to create a more inclusive environment for everyone involved.


It was very interested reading this book, and it is very complicated topic to discuss. Learning many new experiences that is impossible to think like discriminating women. The book stated that “Women’s body experience—such as menstruations, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause, and…? (Pg 8). This sentence struck me and believes that women’s experience can turn out to be a change of religion and culture. In Tibetan culture, many old people are praying to be reborn as a “boy?. Mothers telling their daughters that giving a birth to a boy are fortunate and it reduces their sins. I don’t know why they were thinking like that and I never asked them question.

Valerie Saiving’s idea of human beings of both sexes has certain basic experience like hunger, love, power, and etc. (Pg 33) is still appropriate and important. Sexes, they born from same place and they will die one day. Man can be passive and women can be aggressive and active. Women and men were brought up to believe in the basic equality of the sexes, and educated them equality.

Ruether mentioned that women’s liberation is impossible to achieve in present social system (Pg. 44). In my opinion, it is possible and we see many women do masculine occupations. They don’t need any extraordinary power to perform these kinds of jobs. It is true that God created man and woman differently in many circumstances and for different purposes. In current society, woman has more freedom and opportunities than 30 years ago. Many women succeed in higher education and they are many women who do not get marry and start family. More people becoming more educated and independent. May be there are some changes in their religion leaders, their thinking, and religion itself.

I somewhat agree with the idea that men and women think differently based on their gender. Although this idea seems timely and important in some aspects, in others it no longer holds true. For example I agree with the idea that we can all identify with our mothers as infants, but then boys can no longer identify with mom being a woman and can grow up having a hard time trying to figure out what it is to be a man. This can be especially hard for boys if there is no father figure around them. It also holds true that girls can identify becoming a woman with the different stages in life that the female body goes through like menstruation and pregnancy. However, in my view of today’s society, just as a man is not considered a “man? simply because he has grown into adulthood, a woman is not considered a “woman? simply because she has experienced those stages that a woman’s body goes through. Menstruating or having a child does not necessarily make a woman a mature person the same way a man becoming a father does not necessarily make him a mature person. Just like men, women must prove themselves through achievement and experiences that they are mature individuals worthy of the title of “woman? or “man?.

An argument presented that has not met the test of time is what men and women want out of life. Just as men seek self-fulfillment and something more out of life than fatherhood, many women want the same. It is outdated to believe that women will only achieve full satisfaction out of life after becoming part of a family. There are numerous women who happily choose not to be a part of a relationship or to have a family and are very content with their lives. In society, when a man chooses the single lifestyle he is considered a bachelor, while a woman is viewed negatively. In my experience, it also holds untrue that all men have a general desire to not want to commit and be a part of a relationship and a family. There are plenty of men who want that out of life even more than some women.

While I was reading these articles I started to think about a lot of issues that I have come across over the years about women’s role or place in society. The way that some religious groups create certain roles for men and women. Like how the Nation of Islam has women sit behind men during their meeting or how the sponsored a Million Man March that excluded women. I feel like women do not have an important role or that their opinion does not count. There is also forms of religion that do not allow women to be apart of the ceremonies. They exclude women from being pastors or speakers of the word.
Another issue that I felt was interesting was when Saiving was discussing gender roles in society. I feel like I have had issues with that topic in my personal life. Having people question the choices that I have made or the things that I have done because that is not how women are supposed to act. People today still place strong labels on how men and women are supposed to be and act. These problems have been around for a long time and the mentality has been implanted so deep that it will take a long time to balance out. That was a big argument in the introduction of the book. They talked about how a lot of feminist have differences in defining who they are and what goals they want to accomplish from their movements. I think that the things that have changed are the new groups that have formed and the new issues that have come up in the last thirty years. Like the preface mentioned they were missing other viewpoints from other groups of women. That would give different viewpoints and add to what has been said in the past.

While I was reading these articles I started to think about a lot of issues that I have come across over the years about women’s role or place in society. The way that some religious groups create certain roles for men and women. Like how the Nation of Islam has women sit behind men during their meeting or how the sponsored a Million Man March that excluded women. I feel like women do not have an important role or that their opinion does not count. There is also forms of religion that do not allow women to be apart of the ceremonies. They exclude women from being pastors or speakers of the word.
Another issue that I felt was interesting was when Saiving was discussing gender roles in society. I feel like I have had issues with that topic in my personal life. Having people question the choices that I have made or the things that I have done because that is not how women are supposed to act. People today still place strong labels on how men and women are supposed to be and act. These problems have been around for a long time and the mentality has been implanted so deep that it will take a long time to balance out. That was a big argument in the introduction of the book. They talked about how a lot of feminist have differences in defining who they are and what goals they want to accomplish from their movements. I think that the things that have changed are the new groups that have formed and the new issues that have come up in the last thirty years. Like the preface mentioned they were missing other viewpoints from other groups of women. That would give different viewpoints and add to what has been said in the past.

I found these reading very interesting yet very complex. Despite the movement forward that women have made in the past 30 years even, I think that the one thing that stood out that will always stand the test of time is the choosing that women must do. Saiving states that “Many of these women, who were brought up to believe in the fundamental equality of the sexes and who given the same kind of education and the same encouragement to self-realization as their male contemporaries, do not really discover until they marry and bear children-or perhaps, have been forced to admit to themselves that they will never marry-that the really differences between the masculine and feminine situations which cannot be blamed upon a cultural lag or the “selfishness? and “stupidity? of men.? (p.36) As long as women bear children this will remain true, and for the women who attempts to balance both she will constantly be strained from both sides. I do however believe that it is very dated to believe that motherhood is the fulfillment that women seek in life, while it is men who seek success and fulfillment for their selves, something beyond fatherhood. I think that the struggle for women to balance a happy family life and a successful personal life is a very current thing. The change in society that happened was the obvious surge of women pursuing their goals beyond motherhood. Those women who choose to delay or skip motherhood altogether are view negatively, but these women themselves have been known to criticize women who choose to be a stay at home mom.

The Authors are critical of their work in that in that the absence of voices of women of color, the invisibility of lesbian, and a failure to discuss class and educational background.(pg viii) The experiences that are brought to light are “ primarily white, heterosexual and middleclass? (pg viii).
The enduring presence of and fundamental importance of religion to the human experience is that it provides meaning thru ritual, tradition, and myth (pg 2). Jung taught that “the modern embrace of scientific rationality has produced an illness of the soul, a lack of meaning that, can only be cured by a return to myth and symbol? (Pg 2). I think we are seeing these to a certen level on our ever increasing materialistic society. Some are searching for science to give them “the truth? only to find an absence of meaning. Don’t take me wrong science is a very important tool, but is just that a tool. Though the authors saw the importance of religion and its reinforcing of the symbolic myth they felt that religion as a whole was male centered and was degrading to women. They use the example of how a Jewish woman is considered “unclean? during menstruation (pg 4). They also talk about the idea of a dual natured God where the world stands between us and the Divine.(pg 5).
The two views that have emerged in feminist understanding are 1) women’s feminist experience, and 2) women traditional experience (pg 8) the first model does not consider the view of women who do not feel oppressed. The second model seems to help with the view of a women’s body and its connection to nature.
The condition that was universal to the theologians of her day was ides of the anxiety caused by mans balance of sin and true unconditional love. She argues that the female perspective of love is one of empathy and that this isn’t in the equation therefore it can’t be a universal condition without the female perspective.
The hyper masculine idea of our modern era can be seen in the “emphasized, encouraged “and the “aspects of human nature which are peculiarly significant to men?. (pg 35)
If unconditional love is seen as the highest virtue, a struggle arises in one’s self when one doesn’t feel very loving or wants to lash out.
The sins she mentions are “ lack of an organized center of focus; dependence on others for one’s own self-definition; tolerance at the expense of standards of excellence; inability to respect the boundaries of privacy; sentimentality, gossipy sociability, and mistrust of reason.? (Pg 37) On reflecting on this I have a hard time seeing being sentimental as a “sin?.
Dualities: the alienation of the mind from the body, the alienation of the subjective self from the objective world, the subjective retreat of the individual, alienated from the social community, the domination or rejection of nature by spirit. (pg 44)
Pre history depicts more of “holistic? view of community, male and female gods were part of a world renewal. (pg46).
All and all I found the reading very enriching, I didn’t agree with every point. But I feel I have more of understanding on how to be a complete person rather than a complete man.

Reading the three critiques of society, I really felt like I was reading something from a different time. A time where the Church and pressures from the social constructs defined who a woman was. I can’t help but wonder what these three authors would think about how women are portrayed by the media today. The eating disorders, the mental illness, and the relaxation of the feminist movement are a few things that these intelligent women would have never expected. On the other hand, people have the ability to move into communities of likeminded people, go to churches that fit there spiritual needs, and a country that almost elected a woman for president. (My opinion is that Hilary doesn’t have male characteristics and would have brought a feminine approach to her leadership. That would have mad Saiving happy because Hillary wouldn’t have leaded like a man would have.) I agree with Saiving that the female perspective in leadership would help heal this planet, that if woman ran this world there would be no war and hunger. I don’t believe that the feminist movement has progressed the way she envisioned it, but I agree with whoever said that the church better start letting in the female prospective or it will go out of business. So, yes, some of the ideas are fresh and still with us, like the church oppressing women, but the idea that a woman’s role is to be a mother is outdated. I am not a woman, but I am married and have three young daughters. My job as a father is to help my daughters be self-sufficient, and if they want to marry, than they can. The point is that in the past, women had to rely on men in order to survive. (couldn’t vote, couldn’t own land, get an education that men get, etc…) Now, I think it is safe to say that woman are expected to me more masculine, which is bad because it really takes away from the potential of society.
So, while women are starting to have more freedoms in society and are able to break the shackles of oppression, the women are starting to loss the innate altruism for that freedom. The issue that I have is that the church and society have to recognize that women and men are equal but different, and that everybody has something productive to add. We as a people just have to be willing to appreciate and accepting of what other people have to bring and not to think there way is the right way.

From the very beginning I have to make a comment on the feminists’ definition of Judaism as “a sexiest religion?. Every morning a religious Jew thanks God for not making him (the man who is praying) a woman. It is done not in order to offend a woman, but in order to highlight responsibilities that are given to women by God. That phrase was specially added to an everyday prayer to remember and to appreciate women’s efforts, hard work and duties.

As soon as I read the assigned books, I realized that some of its arguments are still seem fresh today. Men’s domination in religion nowadays is still obvious. Women are rarely encouraged from the religious point of view “to speak what has not been spoken.? It is especially truth if it contradicts the established values. In numerous developing and third world countries men still keep “women in a state of intellectual and spiritual dependency.? It is hard to admit, but some religions in several parts of the world still treat women as slaves. Another part that doesn’t change is the women’s struggle for a better place in the society. They started many years ago which was understandable. However, even today, when the world is open for the women, at least from my point of view, they are still complaining. Feminism is a norm today.

Some important ideas from the book still seem timely and important. I loved the words “women have been equated with nature and men with freedom and transcendence.? It is obvious that nowadays a lot of women are still “wrong with religion’s view of them.? Women are complaining that they are abused and overwhelmed from the responsibilities given to them by God, nature, or whatever they want to call it. To tell you the truth, I think it is women’s laziness and degradation that leads us to these conclusions. The world with all its technologies is getting so much easier for women; but what we do is complaining more and more. Man, on the other hand, always “tries to convince himself and others that he is whole.? And let him try! Women’s mission is “to bear a child?, that is why we don’t have to prove anything, but men’s mission stays unknown. That is why, from my point of view, men always try to prove that they rule the world. The part of the book about the life in the village also gets its point. Even nowadays with people’s temper it is hard to find a couple over there that will argue about their responsibilities.

A lot of ideas in the book seem to be out of time. Let’s look at the mandatory separation of genders during prayers. No one argues its existence, but there are so many alternatives. For example, if you are a Jewish woman, and you feel abused in separate section, which from my point of view helps to concentrate, Reform and Conservative Synagogues will be glad to help you. I can assure you that over there no one will have a problem with a woman dancing, reading Torah or making a main speech of the day. I personally don’t find a place for feminists’ struggles in a Temple. God told me how to do things, and it is up to me weather to keep them that way or to change and argue them.

A lot of things changed in the past thirty years. Women nowadays have much more freedom. Females, from my point of view, take the same part in the society as males do. We work, go to schools, study in universities, raise kids, get marry, get divorce, say our points of view weather men like them or not, play an important part in politics, in economy. The world has changed. Today “when the same occupations are performed by women, they are? not “regarded as less important.? In twenties century women ?finally broke down the barriers that separated them? from the rest of the world. We can just hope that one day it will happen globe wise.

To sum up, I agree that “there is no difference between men and women except in the way they contribute to the creation of the next generation.? I can’t imagine that it is woman’s job to rule the world; I don’t believe that man should do all cooking, baking, cleaning. I think that man should always help the woman in her duties, he should support her, and we should live in harmony.


All the quotes are taken from the assigned readings.

Religion still seems to be a constant in the human life, if people don't have religion or a sense of belonging to someone or something most people still seem to get depressed. I think how man still want to continues to conquear rather that make peace with others will keep women oppress and the world is so far from becoming a society that reads the bible we will be never understand our past or see our errors to change our world. We need more women to become strong speakers to replace the ones that we will be losing over the next ten years. With creed raising to such high levels and the almightly dollars being the most important thing people wish for, we will not be doing a 180 let alone 90 degree turn around. The religion still seems to oppress women and does not make woman feel equal to men. Our bodies will continue to exist as they did 1000 years ago so we can not expect to see any change there. I think if people don't remember when women were so connected with nature and how the earth was taken care of so well and the peace that surrounded that time, we will really be doing a dis-service to ourselves. If we do not find more women to replace the women who wrote articles that where in the section of this reading who knows where we will be in the next 20 years.

I really enjoyed reading the articles by Saiving, Ruether, and Daly. Each had a unique view on religion, its doctrines, and its overall impact on women—and the solution(s) to such.

Saiving’s argument against “contemporary theological doctrines? (p. 27) and its masculine dominance on the human condition speaks to bring voice and affirmation of women’s unique and valuable existence—an existence where all women can embrace their very womanhood and experience life as a full human being. In my opinion, this argument is still fresh and relevant. We need to continue to have this sort of dialogue to ensure continued progress, but we as women, need to be mindful and careful of our tone and stance. Not to placate men, but to preserve our power.

Ruether’s article speaks about women’s roles within a male dominated society and does so with a fatalistic tone. Her assertion, that under the social system of the time, women would not be able to participate in both “spheres? without a complete and radical shift in the social system is no longer the reality and yet there remains an element of truth to this. Many women have been able to bridge the gap between the spheres, and societal change has taken place, but I wouldn’t call it a radical shift. I feel it has been more of a journey; a gradual shift in the zeitgeist in which this early dialogue served to swing the pendulum in motion. We have seen more and more women in positions of leadership both in the private and public sectors, and we have seen women penetrate positions that were, until recently, exclusively held by men. We have seen an increase and value added rise in women’s voices in such areas as literature, media, academia, politics, medicine, technology, and science just to name a few. So while Ruether’s stance of a requisite radical shift has not come to fruition, a shift in change has nonetheless taken place.

Her thoughts on social ethics are still timely and important. With our country at war, and upheaval around the globe, humans could stand to be reminded of our pivotal need for unity and cooperation. A direct parallel can be made between her assertion for women to avoid the “masculine ethic of competiveness…which…sees the triumph of the self as predicated upon the subjugation of the other? (p. 51) and the ills that plague our society. This need and drive for superiority is at the root of many current global issues and many women (and men) are in recognition of the need for a new paradigm. I believe, Ruether’s ideas on this issue are most relevant today and will remain so for generations to come.

Finally, Daly’s article calls for new symbols within the faith traditions in an effort to bring about religious and societal liberation for women. She predicts this change and her assertion has partially stood the test of time. We have seen a slow evolution in the symbols of marriage, family, power, success, and even doctrine. I believe this reinterpretation of (some) symbols within the more progressive churches, was one issue that served to spawn the rise in the Conservative Christian Right. Religious leaders like Falwell, Robertson, Graham, and Dobson work(ed) tirelessly to preserve the old in fear of the new. I feel this argument is also timely and important as it is at the heart of many controversial and paramount systems currently in flux.

I found the first article, The Human Situation: A Feminine View, written by Valerie Saiving to be very interesting. I thought that it curiously enough had a way of answering every question. Although I agreed with most of this article there were a few parts that I felt no longer met the test of time. Our society as a whole, in my opinion, has come a lot farther than this article expresses we are at. I believe that is because of the time period that it was written in. A specific example of the dated impression this article brings is on pages 34 and 35. The Margaret Mead excerpt about men’s vs. women’s occupations was in my opinion very dated. Although the job of being a stay at home mom is still regarded to some people and some cultures as an easy job or something that should go unrewarded many other occupations that woman have done are being recognized. Women have entered the work force in great numbers. We are studying at Universities and Colleges sometimes in greater numbers than men. We have moved up by running for political offices including vice president and president. This article simply doesn’t reflect that. We have come a long way. We may not have equality yet and there may still be a glass ceiling for many people and in many industries but there is no reason to give up. That brings me to page 39. The last paragraph caught me off guard. Why would you want this? Take away their independence? This I don’t understand. This is not fresh to me.

For decades woman have worked hard for the independence of all woman and after reading the article I was shocked to read that conclusion. Again it is my opinion that woman can bear children and reach for their dreams in the work force. Having children should be a family effort not just a mothers. I believe that if the women of the past were happy and if the ways of the past worked so well than there wouldn’t be a need for evolution and change.

This is a very interesting topic to read and discuss, to me it sounds like for some of the readings, indicated that it is more easy being a woman because for women they had things like menstration, pregnancy, childbearing etc which confirmed them to be women more easily. On the other hand it takes men more and that they continually have to proof themselves to be men pg31. To me these are just biological differences and they do not proof so much, there is more to being a woman than to just have a period and be pregnant, well to a point it tells you, you are a woman but you can still achieve or do much more as a woman, does it mean if you do not have children then you are less of a woman?, i hope not. This is one argument that still exists today i come from an African culture where though it is slowly changing, women were only there to get married, have kids and stay at home and they were considered as more of property. They could not speak or contribute anything to the family as in giving ideas, they were there to be seen not heard. Also much value is placed on baby boys than baby girls, a woman could get divorced because they did not bear a baby boy. Ant this even happens today, one can get divorcced or the relationship gets very difficult. It is also of note atleast to me to say that as mentioned in the readings that women have different temptations than women, well all people have different temptations, be it women or men, you are tempted according to youe likings or desires not just for you being a woman or man. Tempations are tailored to you as a person not as gender, man or woman. Men and women are prone to all kinds of temptations depending on what they desire or like, where they place themselves and with whom. Also it is timely as indicated in pg27 to know that we are all alike and members of the same species, our diffrences are biological and that is why to me we can be treated the same and i am a big advocate of that but maybe equality will be a little tricky. This is because biologically we are diffrent, science has had it that we can change things here and there but still respectively i think the biology of men and women is diffrent and that is the only diffrence but i still think both species given the same opportunities can achieve the same results in anything they put their mind to. Some things have changed, first the way women are treated is getting better, once again in my community of origin women did not even have to go to school becaue all they had to do is be housewives. We now have women in all fields including politics, this means there is change coming. Another thing that has greatly changed is childraising, when i grew up about 15years ago, i could get spanked and disciplined for mistakes even in school, now that has gone away and it is considered abuse. In this way are we raising better people? we might find out in a few years. I do beieve that all change in not for the better, but women need to be given thier place and time to atleast proof themselves not by competing but by woring with men side by side for a better world.

another thing that interested me in the readings is Ruether's comment that women's liberation will impossible in this present social system except for a few elite women. Thia has a lot of truth to it, because as a woman you will have to work twice as hard, this is because besides your job or education you are still the mother and wife and are expected to perform without any complaints. This honestly makes it hard except if like mentioned you can hire some help at home. So if women are going to liberate themselves and i believe they can, then they nees to be prepared to work very hard in being both men and women to a certain extent unless they want to give one.