DOES RELIGION DEGRADE WOMEN?
Before you start reading this article, be warned that whatever is expressed is not meant to go against or undermine a religion but is just an observation and is in no way meant to hurt anyone with deep religious sentiments. If you are easily offended, please stop reading and search for another article, but for the support of free speech and fully utilizing that freedom for the cause of helping women in a country that is so bound by religion, I think it is important that the constraints for women mentioned in our beloved religious texts should be brought out.
Again, I am a believer of Gods’ & Goddesses’ (there are so many of them, you know) and I respect all the things created by him and her, and I stand for a point that he/she meant for all people to be equal – despite their race, gender, status, etc. But there are some people who take only selected portions of these texts out of context and tend to apply it in their daily lives. There are a lot of good values that we find in the Bhagvad Gita, Bible, Quran, etc. but some men and women do use these religious texts to put certain restrictions on their daughters/sisters/mothers. A lot of times we can find people who make their own interpretations, for eg-
1) HINDUISM- There are the Brahmins or the main holy guys who tend to make their own customs and rules for women to follow, which not only makes living their life harder but also robs from them their dignity. Many of these customs were and sadly still are followed in southern parts of India. We can also rewind a bit to the past and look at the problem of Sati that was faced by women, especially in the northern parts of India. These kinds of customs have mostly been manipulated and devised by misogynistic men who had authority by quoting holy texts.
2) CHRISTIANITY- Many things have been taken to extremes from the Bible by not just men but women too! There are certain verses in the Bible that talk about customs for men and women but at the same time, verses are there that talk about equality between man and woman and many important figures are women. But the sad part is, most anti-feminist and strong supporters of the Bible take some texts to another level where it becomes hard for a girl or even a boy to live a decent life. This can be said for homosexuality also.
3) ISLAM- Conservatist Islamic men over the years have used the Quran to suppress or just degrade living conditions for a woman and in fact is one of the controversial topics that arises in talks of feminism and equality among genders. We know of situations in Arab countries and although Islam does not intend to hurt anybody, we know of people who manipulate and poison the texts of the Quran for furthering their own cause. Major example of that is terrorism by Islamic groups like Al-Qaeda and Taliban. Religion is a beautiful concept for millions of people across the world and Karl Marx, a powerful political thinker once said that it was like “opium” and gives hope to people and that way it can be seen as a good thing. Let it be said that religion should not be followed to cause indifference amongst people coming from different backgrounds, races, genders, etc. Because feminism is not just about women, but about equality.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Joshua Moses, our intern.