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The Woman: A Religious Perspective Essay

1105 words - 5 pages

The yin and yang symbol has been emphasized in early Taoist texts to represent how the male and female forces of nature complement each other. However, this has been transformed by Han Confucians into a hierarchy which regards men as superior to women. They argue that a woman should be subordinated throughout her life as a daughter to her father, as a wife to her husband and as a widow to her son. The yin is seen as the negative, passive, feminine aspect of nature while the yang represents activeness, masculinity and positivity. In Hinduism, these opposites are part of the dual nature of feminism. Women may be pure, gentle and the bestower or otherwise temptresses, aggressive and the ...view middle of the document...

If she should learn to read, they say she will be so occupied with her books that she will neglect these duties. A very similar notion is held by Jews. Some Orthodox Jews today still don’t teach their daughters the Torah except to remind them of their duties. The book of Paul in the Christian Bible talks about keeping a women in her rightful place, that is, in the confines of domesticity and outside the frontiers of education and professions. Most churches have used these to prevent women from teaching theology and catechism, taking theology degrees, becoming ordained, preaching and playing a full role in the church.
Women were not always just forced into these roles and left without appreciation. Chinese representations of women who exemplify virtuous traits actually outnumber those which are negative. Many women in early Chinese literature are portrayed as wise advisors to their husbands, sons and rulers. Women are also portrayed as the maternal paragon who employs her superior mothering skills to raise her children. Women in China who raised successful sons were given a large share of the credit and accorded great honour for this success. Many Buddhist images of women as child-bearers, nurturers and donors are positive. Great care was given to preganant women in Mesopotamian religions, from fertility tablets to prenatal care to relief medicine during labour. Motherhood was honourable, pivotal, and a gratifying position and great status and importance were attached to bearing children. Motherhood was rewarded through canonization in African religions. Shrines were erected in honour of mothers, and if their life deeds generated positive results for the community, women and mothers were immortalized as goddesses. In honour of the important role played by women in the household, many homes were constructed in the shape of the womb, symbolizing the warmth, comfort, nourishment and protection mothers provided. These African mothers were great educators. They trained their children about her nation’s values, traditions, rituals, laws and societal norms. They also built their children mentally and their endurance so they can cope with their environment.
The roles of women in some religions, however, did manage to extend beyond the traditionally domestic ones. Women in religions of Japan were actively involved in economic activities. They had the same special skills as men as builders, blacksmiths, potters, water engineers etc. Women...

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