Case Study Observations: The Roles of Women 2/18

I was very interested to hear about the various roles of women in the case studies that were presented this week. It amazed me how different religious experiences can be for women. There was a wide range of experiences, some women had complete freedom while others were completely confined. The women who converted to Orthodox Judaism were under very strict regulations. They were told to repress their sexual urges and were encouraged to have domestic life be their sole purpose. In addition, they were almost completely controlled by patriarchal influences. In contrast, women who joined the cult  were escaping domestic life to find a greater purpose. They were told to experiment sexually and were given full freedom to express themselves. They were still under the influence of a patriarchal figure, however, he urged them to live life under their own conditions. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Church I studied (Mosaic Church) is also making efforts to include women. They are currently making a special retreat just for girls. It is refreshing to see a Christian church making an effort to overcome traditional gender roles. As a feminist, it is important to me that women get to choose their religious paths. Even though the Jewish women’s experiences were disturbing to me, I had to remind myself that they made a conscious choice to live that way. I think that there are still many boundaries for women to cross in the religious realm. Women need to be free from coercion and abuse, and it would be empowering if they could have more leadership roles. These case studies proved to me that there is social progress being made because women are starting to have more power to choose their religious lifestyles.