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Abstract

This article describes three different readings of the creation story of Eve and Adam, occurring over the life span of Henny Dons, a Protestant Christian and first-wave feminist in early-twentieth-century Norway. I discuss her changing understandings of this creation account over the course of her life. More broadly I explore her approach to biblical reading (as receiving, arranging, and iterating) and how this shaped her as a religious feminist subject. I argue that what is going on in her iterated re-readings is not fully captured by the frame of self-cultivation. Rather, this religious feminist subject shows us a series of woman-word operations that receive and arrange a variety of material and discursive entities together in a circuit of “being created woman.”

Open Access
In: Religion and Gender
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Abstract

The phenomenon of faking orgasms has been the subject of extensive feminist inquiry, but in contemporary Iran, where sex and sexuality remain sensitive and controversial topics, the topic has not received much scholarly attention. This exploratory pilot study uses qualitative methods to explore the prevalence and the reasons for faking orgasms among a group of women living in urban Iran. The study addresses the possible consequences and implications of faking orgasms for women’s sexual life. Eleven female participants took part in the study. The data revealed that the topic was considered taboo even among highly educated working women. It also showed that faking orgasms were related to perceived female moral responsibilities and marital self-sacrifice and the lack of sexual education and knowledge, machismo, male infidelity, porn culture, and sexual performance ideals.

Open Access
In: Religion and Gender
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Abstract

This article engages closely with Beauvoir’s claim that risk is the criterion of value. The article first discusses the meaning of “risk” and its role as the yardstick of values and then questions the contrast Beauvoir establishes between giving life and risking life by examining the experience of pregnancy. The author argues that a close reading of Beauvoir’s The Second Sex demonstrates that, once we remove the lens of patriarchy, the opposition between giving life and risking life crumbles.

Open Access
In: Simone de Beauvoir Studies
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Abstract

Based on empirical research in a women’s shelter in São Paulo, Brazil, this article examines how ‘secular’ professionals and service users negotiate conservative Christian faith, gender roles and domestic violence. The article demonstrates how staff use theological arguments with feminist interpretations of religion, in order to better communicate with abused women of faith. A key finding is that both the religious service users and the ‘secular’ professionals discover it is not religion per se which allows for situations of violence, but rather the patriarchal way in which conservative Christianity is taught in some churches, ultimately functioning as a method of controlling women. Moreover, through feminist consciousness-raising and attention to women’s rights, some abused women of faith find ways of negotiating the violence they experience, leading to an understanding of it as both personal and political.

Open Access
In: Religion and Gender
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Abstract

Drawing on the Government of Ireland Collaborative Research Project, ‘Magdalene Institutions: Recording an Archival and Oral History’, this paper explores the nature of women’s experiences in Ireland’s Magdalene laundries though the lens of forced work. I argue that the perceived nature of the work done by the women—productive, respectable, ‘women’s work’—significantly impacted on how the abusive nature of the laundries has been considered by official bodies and wider Irish society. This paper focuses on work done in these institutions and how it was viewed, using interviews from survivors and those who visited the laundries. By exploring the links between work and respectability, productivity and morality, with particular attention to the ways this plays out upon the bodies of women, this article argues for an understanding of this work as a violent and disciplinary process, designed to produce the desired Irish Catholic female body: docile and productive, penitential and obedient.

Open Access
In: Religion and Gender
Local Practices in Indonesia and Nigeria
Gender, age, class, ethnicity, religion, and political ideologies all matter in peacebuilding. Adopting a feminist approach, the 13th volume of International Development Policy analyses such intersecting differences in local contexts to develop a better understanding of how intersectionally gendered dynamics shape and are shaped by peacebuilding. In this volume, findings are presented from a six-year collaborative research project that, involving scholars from Indonesia, Nigeria, and Switzerland, investigated peacebuilding initiatives in Indonesia and Nigeria. The authors identify a number of logics that highlight how gender is deployed strategically or asserts itself inadvertently through gender stereotypes, gendered divisions of labour, or identity constructions.

Contributors include: Mimidoo Achakpa, Ceren Bulduk, Rahel Kunz, Henri Myrttinen, Joy Onyesoh, Elisabeth Prügl, Arifah Rahmawati, Christelle Rigual and Wening Udasmoro.

Abstract

In the context of the focus on ‘everyday peacebuilding’, the field of peace and conflict is increasingly interested in the use of art as a tool for peacebuilding. Feminist contributions emphasise the important gender dimensions of art-for-peace processes, but so far intersectional dynamics have received less attention. The aim of this chapter is to bring the interdisciplinary feminist literature into dialogue with insights on the intersectional dynamics of (everyday) peacebuilding and so propose a critical reading of the intersectional dynamics of art-for-peace initiatives. We focus on the context of Ambon in Indonesia to analyse one particularly prominent art-for-peace initiative: the Paparisa Ambon Bergerak (pab) collective. Our analysis draws on a combination of data: visual and literature (poems) artwork produced by the pab collective, in-depth expert interviews with pab representatives and local peacebuilding activists, and secondary literature on pab. Our analysis reveals the complex social power dynamics and individual and collective dimensions of art-for-peace activities.

Open Access
In: Gender in Peacebuilding
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Abstract

These concluding remarks sum up some of the key themes arising in this thematic volume’s contributions, chapters that cover a breadth of different gendered aspects of peacebuilding in Indonesia and Nigeria, including the post-conflict experiences of women ex-combatants; women and land conflicts; arts, gender and peacebuilding; the gendered dynamics of post-conflict economic development; gender, spirituality and peacebuilding; gender-based violence; and the ethics of researching these issues and ‘giving back’. Throughout this volume, we have documented a broad variety of ways in which gender interweaves with peacebuilding, but also similarities in the emerging patterns, around how gender and peacebuilding are understood, how integral gender is to identity and how gender is mobilised as a resource. These remarks also summarise some of the challenges and gaps we encountered, such as the risks of silencing and essentialising of gender identities, and the continued need to go beyond simplistic notions of ‘adding gender’ to peacebuilding process, practice and research.

Open Access
In: Gender in Peacebuilding
Author:

Abstract

Ensuring that research is ethical and contributes to the reduction of inequalities, especially gendered, class-based and racialised power imbalances, is a central tenet of feminist research. The same, ideally, goes for peacebuilding processes. However, in spite of important and meaningful attempts to redress power imbalances, both academic research and peacebuilding work too often continue to be highly unequal endeavours. These imbalances persist between the global North and global South, but also within countries. For the most part, these imbalances are inescapable, for now at least, as both research and peacebuilding are in multiple ways entangled with broader, unequal power structures that are underpinned by patriarchy, militarism, neo-coloniality and neo-liberal capitalism. However, feminist-inspired research and peacebuilding work both do also create opportunities to analyse and question these power structures, to think and act beyond and to develop less extractive and more emancipatory alternatives and practices. This interlude examines how, as a transnational feminist research project, the researchers of this thematic volume sought to develop and foster such practices together with the communities involved in the research, and what this might mean for future research in times of the covid-19 pandemic.

Open Access
In: Gender in Peacebuilding

Abstract

In this chapter we draw a picture of alternative visions of peace from the standpoint of individuals affected by violent conflict and engaged in peacebuilding in Delta State, Nigeria. Drawing on interviews conducted with ngos, a community group, and vigilantes, we identify multiple and sometimes contradictory meanings. We discuss these against theorisations of peace in the academic literature and find resonances that allow us to bring community meanings of peace into conversation with the literature. From our interviews, we identify and discuss an understanding of positive peace that requires economic development. We also identify a vision of harmonious living that involves overcoming negative emotions, and draw on feminist literature to connect this vision to the concepts of maternal thinking and building relations of care. Finally, we identify a commitment to peace as inclusive of women, yet note that the extent and form of inclusion is contested among different actors. Assessing these understandings of peace through a gender lens, we argue that gender logics inform these multiple meanings.

Open Access
In: Gender in Peacebuilding