To be honest, I’m not sure what the point of this piece is. It’s almost being presented as if it’s a Bad Thing. And it’s just not…
Feminism, said evangelist and Republican broadcaster Pat Robertson in 1992, “is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians”. The feminist retort: “Sorry I missed church. I was busy practicing witchcraft and becoming a lesbian,” has since made its way on to T-shirts, fridge magnets and bumper stickers.
Where religion’s concerned, maybe Robertson was right. Maybe feminism does lead women to reject traditional religion.
For our book about the resurgence of feminism in 21st-century Britain, Reclaiming the F Word: The New Feminist Movement, Catherine Redfern and I surveyed nearly 1,300 British feminists. We wanted to find out who the new feminists were, what inspired their engagement with feminism, which gender issues they were concerned about, and so forth.
One of our questions was: “Please describe your religious or spiritual views (including none/atheist/agnostic)” (the wording is worth mentioning, since how you ask questions affects the results, as debates on the religion question in the census reveal).
The results show that, when compared with the general female population, feminists are much less likely to be religious, but a little more likely to be interested in alternative or non-institutional kinds of spirituality.