Are women who remain in their religious tradition captives of patriarchy?

January 10, 2013

Lutheran feminist theologian Caryn D. Riswold declares, “I am not a hostage.”
In her FeminismXianity blog for the Patheos website, Riswold answers an argument often made by feminists who have rejected religion, namely that “any woman who claims to be a feminist and religious (Muslim, Jewish, or Christian specifically) is identifying with her captor, her hijacker, her tyrannical overlord.” Riswold says that not only is such a charge not new, it’s also not true. It ignores those who work for social justice within religions. In this blog post, Riswold is specifically taking issue with arguments made in a recent article for NOW News by Joumana Haddad. Riswold writes, “Haddad argues that anyone working for change from within a religion cannot call herself a feminist. I’m dubious of this claim for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is several generations of women and men doing just that.”

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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