Religion, Politics And Gender Ideology Essay

1189 words - 5 pages

When someone mentions “witch hunts”, we tend to think about the witchcraft trials that took place during the 14th-16th centuries in Europe or even the Salem Witch trials that accorded during the beginnings of America. Fueled by mass hysteria and fear, the results of these trials ended in burnings or lynching of those believed to be associated with witchcraft. At the heart of these trials we find the influence of society (i.e., widespread fear) and politics which in this case involved the legal courts. Witch hunts were sustained for so long because they were effective in limiting social deviancy, any variation of the norm would land you with the stigma of practicing witchcraft. Since the witch hunts ended with the deaths of so many (mainly innocent) individuals, the idea of conducting a witch hunt has garnered a negative social connotation. Though we would like to believe, however, that the days of being consumed by such irrationality as the witch hunts are over, the 1950s hunt for communists proves this belief false. Similar to the way the idea McCarthyism was accepted, modern day witch hunts have come under the guise of maintaining stability and social order. The responsibility of control is deferred to individuals in positions of political and religious power, for these are the people who can manipulate governmental laws and impact social opinions in favor of social normalcy which influences gender ideology.
To understand how laws and social opinions can be altered by those in power to reflect the ideals of the majority, we must first know the link between political and religious ideology. In short, religion and politics are the factors that gender ideology are modeled to fit within society. In a political sense, laws deem what is and what is not acceptable behavior to engage in. That being said, politics describes just what gender is in a society. These descriptions are incorporated into the laws that govern the populace and provide either privileges or limitations. This should reiterate the idea that gender is a social construct with the ability to be changed both in terms of attitudes towards it and policies that control it. An example from American society would be in the way that homosexuality is treated. The mere fact that homosexual marriage is allowed in only a few states highlights the privilege heterosexuals have and the restrictions placed on those who don’t behave in the same way as the majority. Marriage is a social factor that has become an important part of creating and legitimizing the next generation; however, it is this idea of the next generation that problems many of the social problems arise. As Heléna Ragoné’s essay “Surrogate Motherhood: Rethinking Biological Models, Kinship, and Family” points out, there is the tendency to think of gender as motherhood as the biological birth of a child. Homosexual couples complicate this model and to fix the disparity by implementing laws that makes their marriage...

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