Sexism in Buddhism

Buddhist women, including nuns, have faced harsh discrimination by Buddhist institutions in Asia for centuries. Let’s begin at the beginning, with the historical Buddha who refused to ordain women as nuns. He said that allowing women into the sangha would cause his teachings to survive only half as long. In addition, even when women did become buddhist nuns they experienced Unequal Rules. The Vinaya-pitaka section of the Tripitaka (Pali Canon) records the original rules of discipline and a bhikkuni (nun) has rules in addition to those given to a bhikku (monk). These include subordination to monks; the most senior nuns are to be considered “junior” to a monk of one day. One of the key references that strongly discriminates against women is the legend of the origin of the nuns (bhikkhuni), in which the Buddha showed his strong disapproval of women’s ordination as requested by Prajapati Gautami, his aunt and stepmother. Ananda, the Buddha’s close attendant stepped in and negotiated on her behalf. As a result, the Buddha laid down a set of special rules, or the so-called Eight Heavy Duties (Garudhammas) that established the conditions for women’s ordination, and nuns were required to strictly adhere to them for the rest of their lives. The Eight Heavy Duties are: 1. A nun, even if she has been ordained for 100 years, must respect, greet and bow in reverence to the feet of a monk, even if he has just been ordained that day. (Monks pay respect to each other according to their seniority, or the number of years they have been ordained.) 2. A nun is not to stay in...

Sexism in Islam

Sexism From the Qur’an: Qur’an (2:223) – “Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will…” A man has dominion over his wives’ bodies as he does his land. This verse is overtly sexual. There is some dispute as to whether it is referring to the practice of anal intercourse, which it has been used historically to justify. If this is what Muhammad meant, however, then it would appear to contradict what he said in Also (see Bukhari 60:51), and was “revealed” when women complained to Muhammad about the practice. The phrase “when and how you will” means that they lost their case. Qur’an (2:228) – “and the men are a degree above them [women]“ Qur’an (2:282) – (Court testimony) Establishes that a woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man’s in court (there is no “he said/she said” gridlock in Islam).“And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not found then a man and two women.” Muslim apologists have sometimes creatively tried to explain why a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s under Islamic law (based on this verse) while still attempting to maintain the semblance of equality. Unfortunately for them, studies consistently show that women are less likely to tell lies than men, meaning that they would make more reliable witnesses in any court – were it not for Islam’s obvious sexism. Qur’an (4:3) – (Wife-to-husband ratio) “Marry women of your choice, two or three or four” Qur’an (4:11) – (Inheritance) “The male shall have the equal...

Sexism in Hinduism

Surely, a woman who has changed her clothes at the end of her menstrual period is the most auspicious of women. When she has changed her clothes at the end of her menstrual period, therefore, one should approach that splendid woman and invite her to have sex. Should she refuse to consent, he should bribe her. If she still refuses, he should beat her with a stick or with his fists and overpower her, saying: “I take away the splendor from you with my virility and splendor (6.4.9,21). Good looks do not matter to them, nor do they care about youth; ‘A man!’ they say, and enjoy sex with him, whether he is good-looking or ugly. By running after men like whores, by their fickle minds, and by their natural lack of affection these women are unfaithful to their husbands even when they are zealously guarded here. Knowing that their very own nature is like this, as it was born at the creation by the Lord of Creatures (Prajapati), a man should make the utmost effort to guard them. The bed and the seat, jewelry, lust, anger, crookedness, a malicious nature, and bad conduct are what Manu assigned to women. There is no ritual with Vedic verses for women; this is a firmly established point of law. For women, who have no virile strength, and no Vedic verses, are falsehood; this is well established. Manusmrti 9:14-18. Men must make their women dependent day and night, and keep under their own control those who are attached to sensory objects. Her father guards her in childhood, her husband guards her in...

Sexism in Mormonism

In the Book of Mormon, Where are the women? The Bible mentions 188 unique women by name. The Book of Mormon mentions 3 unique women by name! The Book of Mormon Positive Passages (women are only ever addressed twice) speaking of women or speaking to women? 1 Nephi 26:33; Alma 32:23 How does the Book of Mormon portray women? When women are allowed to rule, everything goes to hell. 2 Nephi 13:12 (Also see 2 Nephi 13:16-17,26, 14:4. 15:14) Women don’t get or need spiritual witnesses it seems – Alma 19:9 The great and abominable church is female, hell is female, uncleanliness is female (admittedly wisdom is female) Jesus of the Book of Mormon uses negative female imagery – but Jesus of the Bible never does, see 3 Nephi 20:41 Carol Lynn Pearson argues that the scarcity of women mentioned in the Book of Mormon is a “strong anti-female statement made by Nephite society,” in whose record we see a few “spiritually dependent [women]” and a plethora of faceless, nameless women listed as part of their husband’s possessions. Francine Bennion has attributed to Nephite culture what might be seen as a fairly common set of assumed characteristics about ancient societies: The power of men over women in Book of Mormon societies produced abuses, as does any hierarchy not based on virtue alone. Even when good men did not abuse their power but protected women and were tender with them, men did have the power. Men made the decisions. Men did the ruling, the judging, and the prophesying. Men did the preaching, and addressed it to “my brethren.” Men defined...

Sexism in Jehovah Witness

Jehovah’s Witnesses is a religion that preaches love and acceptance, but the reality is everything is conditional. Love and acceptance is only extended as long as members practice absolute obedience and question nothing, ever. Visit a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you might notice a few things about their meetings that seem a bit different. One is that all the women will probably be wearing either skirts or dresses. Jehovah’s Witness women can’t wear pants. Women are not, as a general rule, allowed to wear trousers of any sort during their meetings or when in the preaching work, and this includes business trousers or pantsuits. A woman in pants isn’t just turned away at the door. As an example, when I was an active Witness I knew a woman who worked in a hospital and often could not leave in time to go home and change, and would occasionally arrive to the meetings in her hospital scrubs. However, a woman in pants would not be allowed to be on the platform for any type of public participation, and would also not be allowed in the preaching work. Also, if a woman continued to show up for meetings or preaching in pants without a good excuse such as mentioned above, she would probably be counseled in some way. Jehovah’s Witnesses will emphatically point out that they do not consider women to be lesser creatures, and that God created male and female equal. The Watchtower magazine often carries positive articles about give-and-take in the marital arrangement, and how husbands should respect their wives, etc. But since the Watchtower is a strong...