Are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism "male-chauvinist" institutions (Mathieu P. 75)? In this paper I will attempt to prove that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are not "male-chauvinist" institutions, but rather have hierarchy in place that is based on logic and tradition. Firstly, I intend to show that the roles of men and women in the above-mentioned religions follow natural tendencies of both genders. Secondly, I intend to show that Mathieu's argument that both men and women are equally suited to fulfill all societal roles is unrealistically optimistic. Finally, I will try to show how deviation from a gender-biased society can have alarming results. II.
What is Mathieu's view on gender in society and religion? Mathieu (2000) states that she is "not concerned with all unfair standards, just one: gender (P.75)." She writes, "If positions are allocated according to gender, then no female - regardless of her talents, her education, her aspirations - may perform those tasks assigned to males (P.75)." She clearly states that she feels that the three major world religions knowingly suppress females for the single purpose of advancing the males' social status. She also believes that males used their religion to "brainwash" females into accepting the theory of male superiority as fact (P. 77). Mathieu also feels that biological differences between males and females, such as their reproductive organs, have very little influence on how they operate in the world. She says that the influences of our environment play a much larger role in influencing our behavior than the genes that we are born with. According to her, it is clear that anatomy does not form our destiny, but that our culture forms our gender roles in society. III.
The roles of men and women in the above-mentioned religions follow natural tendencies of both genders. Men are typically hunters and gatherers. Women are typically nurturers. Of course, there are exceptions to just about every rule. We must first agree that we are arguing a general point that is to say that the points I will be arguing are not universally true; to assume so would be presumptuous. Going back to a time when there was no baby formula available from the local pharmacy or grocery, how well suited would a man be to rear an infant while his wife went off to hunt or harvest the crops? From a logical standpoint, it is easy to see why women have been "brainwashed" into thinking that they are suited only for certain types of jobs. From conception, the woman's body is designed to shelter and otherwise accommodate her baby; their hips are wider than a comparably sized male's hips. Though it has been argued that, given enough time, a male's mammary glands could become active, it would probably take longer than the baby could survive while waiting for this phenomenon to occur. The female body, on the other hand, is ready to feed an infant even before it is born. The physical size of a woman's breast also lends itself to feeding an infant from a somewhat reclined position as opposed to a male breast, which would either have to cater to the baby's position (putting the male in an uncomfortable position) or put the baby in an awkward position for feeding. Another compelling argument is that men cannot become pregnant. Moreover, God has equipped (generally speaking, of course) women with a higher threshold for pain (a great attribute for facilitating live birth) rather than with physical strength that is imparted to most men. Because of these differences, the roles of men and women have naturally developed and over time have become what may appear to be environmental, but are actually natural tendencies. Just because one may not feel comfortable with the fact that men and women are without a doubt built to perform different tasks and have different abilities, does not make these things untrue. To say that cultural conditioning is the major ingredient in developing human...
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