Feminism doesn’t mean giving up religion, students say

Guethshina Altena/Assistant News Director

You can be religious and a feminist, according to three University students.

Jenny Andre, freshman biology major who was raised as a Baptist Christian, feels that there should be equality between men and women and that women inferiority should not exist.

“I was brought up to go to church and I was also brought up as a female to not see myself as inferior,” Andre said.

Andre said her parents believed in feminism and taught her to be fearless in the face of inequality and to always know her worth.

“There is the whole idea that men were here first and the whole Adam and Eve thing … in the Bible it says that doesn’t mean that the woman is a slave or doesn’t have a say,” Andre said.

Andre believes it’s free will that gives her the ability to leave situations that conflict with her feminist beliefs. She said respect from both sides is required when it comes to interactions of men and women no matter the religion.

“I feel there should always be communication [in a marriage]. Yes, you should obey your husband but if he asks you to do something that you’re not comfortable doing, you should be able to say no and how you feel,” Andre said.

Andre said that Christianity doesn’t condemn feminism and she feels that she can openly be a feminist within her religion and be able to express her views on the matter.

Meraises Miranda is a graduate student mastering in music administration and production. She graduated from FIU in the fall of 2017 with a bachelor’s in music business with a jazz vocal performance.

Miranda has been a practitioner of Judaism since she was about 12 years old. She considers herself to be open minded and does not categorize herself in any of the denominations of Judaism.

Miranda believes that pay inequality and lack of the same opportunities for both gender all add up to the reason why feminist people are needed.

“You are basically fighting for women’s rights, for my rights, by being a feminist,” Miranda said.

Miranda said that some of the stereotypes of the views in her religion are mostly contextual, and do not apply in every situation.

“Not all sects of Judaism have a patriarchal aspect to it, it depends,” Miranda said. “It depends on what type of Jew you are but I believe that it is more the reform and conservative Jews that are accepting of gender equality and practice it.”

Some Jewish men wear an object on their head called a “Kippah,” which shows that they are Men of God. Lately some women have started to wear Kippah’s not only to say that they are women of God but also to show equality between them and men. This has stirred a lot of controversy especially in Jerusalem, according to Miranda.

“There was an instance, it makes me very uncomfortable, I’ve gone to Israel and there is this airline called ‘El Al’ that I travelled with,” Miranda said. “Some religious men on that flight, they won’t sit next to women, they won’t even speak to us. They asked us [women] to go sit somewhere else, they asked us to move.”

Miranda said she understands their religious beliefs but she doesn’t want it imposed on her. Given that she paid for her flight and chose her seating area like everybody else, she refused to move and sacrifice her comfort.

When it comes to Judaism support of feminism, it depends on where you go, Miranda said. She does not frequent the sects of Judaism that would frown upon her choice of leaving her hair out and wearing sleeve shirts.

Shaza Albunni is a senior international relations major with a minor in political science. She is the secretary for the Muslim Student Association and the treasurer for Arab Student Union.

“I consider myself to be a Muslim and I am a feminist but I sometimes say that I am not depending on how someone sees feminism,” Albunni said.

Albunni believes that other feminists sometime take it to an extreme level with their stand and she also believes that some men are undermined the same way that women are, but people pay less attention to that.

“The Koran, our holy book, it gives women a variety of rights, but people rather look at [bad things going on in] Saudi Arabia for example, which does not represent Islam though many think it does,” Albunni said.

There is a big difference between culture and religion according to Albunni. People tend to mix up the two and when they don’t inform themselves they are easily manipulated by what the media portrays.

“When Saudi Arabia implemented that women cannot drive, people thought that was Islamic but it really wasn’t,” Albunni said.


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