Is God a misogynist?

Um, no, I don’t think so, but a lot of sexists certainly seem to think so.  There was a chapter in Half the Sky titled “Is Islam Misogynistic?” that got me thinking about all this.  The answer to that question is “No, but there are a lot of people of horribly misogynistic cultures, that use their prevailing religion– Islam– to justify their misogyny.  My answer to the question the book raised: most middle-eastern cultures are, in fact, misogynistic and use Islam to justify their cultural beliefs and practices.   For a long time, things were no different in the Western/Christian world.  You better believe if you looked around Europe or the US 100 years ago, all sorts of people were using Christianity to justify the cultural oppression of women.  Fortunately, we’re largely past that now.  (And, if you’re curious about the nearly 2000 year history of using Christianity to justify the oppression of women, you should check out Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality, and the Catholic Church).  Anyway, I cannot really speak for any other world religions, but I think it is pretty clear that cultures world-wide and throughout history like to use their religion to justify their cultural practices.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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