Women in fundamentalist beliefs and practice


Here are two published statements about women by a Christian fundamentalist and an Islamic one:

“The wave of animalism which is sweeping over the world today, and the degradation of the modern dance, the sensuous of the modern theatre, the glorification of the flesh in modern styles, and the sex suggestion of modern literature, the substitution of dogs for babies, the appalling divorce evil, have all come about because of this degrading philosophy of animalism which evolution is spreading over the earth.” — J.R. Straton in 1924

From an Islamic fundamentalist: “(Education) is a big infidel policy which gives such obscene freedom to women, which would lead to adultery and herald the destruction of Islam.…their men become like women and women cannot defend themselves. Anybody who talks to us should do so within Islam’s framework. The Holy Koran cannot adjust itself to other people’s requirements. People should adjust themselves to the requirements of the Holy Koran.” — Maulvi J. Maulvizada in 1997

The claim that men become like women refers to fathers taking responsibility for parenting; fundamentalists generally believe in clear gender roles, so only women raise children, and they do not work for wages outside the home, because that is the male role.

For most fundamentalists men are in charge, they "defend" women, and women must be submissive, which is a patriarchal view and part of a dominance culture that threatens the unique qualities of being human and interacting in community.

These quotes come from Malise Ruthven's Fundamentalism: the Search for Meaning; also see Karen Armstrong's The Battle for God. They provide complementary insights into fundamentalism in many religions as well as in politics.

Copyright © 2005 John F. Yeaman