Religion Makes Women Subservient to Men

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Annelore Wolfelt
World Religions
Mr. Rocco

Final Essay:
“Religion Makes Women Subservient to Men”

The differences between “eastern” and “western” religions are many and varied but there are some fundamental similarities within all religions. One of the common threads that run through almost every religion is that women are made to be subservient to men. The need to control and dominate women is found in both “eastern” and “western” religions. Confucianism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam all discriminate against women (to varying degrees), by placing women beneath men. Each religion states the need for male dominance over women as a divine order that must and will be obeyed.

Women are not featured much in the Bhagavad Gita except as a reference to something else. Therefore based off of classroom sacred text alone it is hard to tell what women’s status is in Hinduism. Although one may look at the lack of women in sacred scripture as an obvious sign that women mustn’t be very important if they aren’t even worth mentioning. However in the Laws of Manu, another Hindu scripture, women are briefly referred to. It states that it is women’s nature to “seduce men in this (world); for that reason the wise are never unguarded in (the company of) females” (2:213). “For women are able to lead astray in (this) world not only a fool, but even a learned man, and (to make) him a slave of desire and anger” (2:214). Fear of being seduced by a woman and becoming powerless to her is a contributing factor to the need men have to dominate women. This fear that men have of women’s sensuality is a common thread throughout other religions and cultures. Men’s need to control women might stem from the fear that they themselves can be easily controlled by women.

In Confucianism we find the idea of equality between men, but that equality is based on a social hierarchy organized by the Five Constant Relationships: 1) sovereign to subjects, 2) father to son, 3) husband to...
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