Contestations of feminism, secularism and religion in the West: the discursive othering of religious and secular women
journal contributionposted on 25.02.2019, 09:46 authored by Line NyhagenLine Nyhagen
Secular and religious women have a history of fighting for women’s rights and gender equality. Yet, contemporary feminist and women’s movements in the West are largely understood as secular, and as rejecting religion, and religion is often perceived as the antithesis of empowerment and emancipation. In this article I problematise the relationship between feminism, secularism and religion via a discussion of secular feminist views on women and religion, and religious women’s views on secular feminism. Bringing together previously separate strands of work, this article provides an original analysis of how both secular feminist women and non-feminist religious women engage in discursive articulations of Othering, constructing inferior subjects who are (dis-)placed outside the boundary of ‘women like us’. Such discursive representations, which are rooted in perceptions of feminism and religion as unitary and static, contribute to the construction and maintenance of sharp boundaries between secular and religious women, thus hindering the potential for dialogue and collaboration in support of women’s rights and gender equality.
- Social Sciences
- Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies