by Greg Spearritt
Paul Sheehan, writing in the SMH, claims (credibly in my view) that “repressing women is sharia's raison d'etre”. Toowoomba’s Catholic Bishop Bill Morris is shown the door for suggesting that the notion of female clergy should be considered – not necessarily adopted, mind, just considered.
And now the Israeli Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung edits the only two women out of the famous White House Situation Room photo showing the President and advisors watching the raid on bin Laden’s compound. Too sexually provocative. Ah… come again? Hillary Clinton and counter-terrorism analyst Audrey Tomasen sexually provocative? We’re not talking bikinis here: Tomasen’s barely visible in the background and Clinton is wearing a long-sleeved coat.
What is it with hard-line religion on the subject of women?
It all makes Tamas Pataki’s take on religion the more credible: in his view there’s an unhealthy dose of narcissism involved. Keeping women in their place is a punishment and a safeguard, a way of dealing with deep-seated frustration and anxiety about mother who is needed and desirable yet ultimately unattainable.
Is there a better explanation for conservative religion’s need to repress women?
In some countries, particularly Muslim countries, women do nearly all of the practical work, and men are free to talk about politics and to wage wars. This situation prevails because in some areas men do not allow women to be educated, or to drive a car or go anywhere outside the home alone. Women are helpless outside the home.
They must not have power outside the home, so they cannot seem sexually attractive to men. This is the principal reason for the hijab and the head scarf and for the insistance that women's bodies are covered, and in some cases not even a women's hands are allowed to be seen.
In Western countries, there are remants of this situation, but not in the case of dress. Many western women dress in a sexually provocative way in public because they realise that women are mainly seen in the light of their attractiveness to men. Muslim women in Western countries feel superior to these women. In some circles, well educated and clever women are not popular with men. As girls become older some no longer try to excell at school, because they believe it better to seem to be ignorant in the company of men. Once women are not well educated, they have less power in the outside world, They are not confident in prominent positions because of their need to be attractive to men, although there are well known cases when sexually attractive women are elevated to prominent positions by their powerful male admirers.
There have always been a few powerful and successful women in the past, and the situation is improving. Women are commonly seen today in prominent positions in politics, business and even in churches.
Posted by Helen Mason
I am sorry that the answer to the question was not included above. It seems to me that the leaders of conservative religions mentioned believe that all women are inferior, although it is likely that they think their mothers are an exception to this.
Posted by Helen Mason