Most religions have a creepy fixation with the eradication of women's vaginas. Some African cultures mutilate the clitoris and sew the vagina shut for the sake of maintaining virginal "purity." Other zealots don't like their saviors free-falling from the womb. In fact, ideological fanatics have done everything in their power to explain away the vagina. God impregnated Mary from his great big bachelor pad in the sky, fat little Buddha burst from his mother's side, and we know little of Amna, Mohammad's mother, let alone his actual birth, but we can assume the good prophet didn't sully himself in vaginal juices. Like the rest of the prophets, Mohammad probably materialized from the heavens. After all, a woman's body is a dirty, sinful thing, which is why women are taught form an early age to be ashamed of their bodies and to keep them covered, always.
The belief in a divine creator aside, no rational person can seriously argue that feminism and religiosity can coexist. If you claim to be a religious person, you are not a feminist, nor if you believe men and women are inherently equals can you claim to believe in the fundamental beliefs of any religion. As far as I know, there is no religion on Earth that presents men and women as exact equals.
The most popular version of Christianity claims women are inherently subservient to men, since Eve came from Adam's rib. Meanwhile, Mohammad married at least 11 times during his life, and his favorite wife, Ayesha Bibi, was six-years-old when he married her. Sexy.
Here are some jewels from the Quran, the sacred text of Islam:
II/223: Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate). So go to your tilth as ye will...
I don't know about you, but if some dude walked up to me at a bar and said, "Hey, baby. Mind if I plow your field?" that man will receive my fist in his eye socket.
IV/34: Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other ... As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them.
Short and simple: Men are superior to women. Women are to be controlled, whether through violence or fear.
IV/15: (to women) If any one of your women is guilty of lewdness ... confine them until death claims them.
IV/16: (for men) If two men among you commit indecency (sodomy) punish them both. If they repent and mend their ways, let them be. Allah is forgiving and merciful.
Homophobia aside, we see Allah, much like God, is all sunshine and puppy kisses, forgiving and loving, until you're a woman and you sin. Then, you're a whore in need of punishment.
In fairness to Mohammad, the God of the Christian bible is no better than the typical baby's daddy you see on an episode of COPS. Picture the big, white dude in the sky who orated this stirring tale:
Exodus 21:7-10 shows us that it is perfectly cool to sell your daughter into slavery and allow her master to rape her. Also in Exodus (22:16-17), if a man sleeps with a virgin (with or without her consent,) he must marry her. However, if her father refuses to allow her to wed, the man must then pay the father a dowry of virgins. How does the recently deflowered virgin feel about being treated like a piece of property? Well, funnily enough, we don't know. The Bible doesn't seem concerned about her feelings.
Leviticus chapter 12 reminds us that women are unclean. After giving birth to a boy, a woman is considered unclean for seven days. However, if she has given birth to a girl, she is unclean for 33 days. Regardless, the concept that a woman is somehow unclean after giving birth is ludicrous. Of course, all religions fear the vagina, so it makes sense that the scribes (along with all men) went into a complete tizzy after childbirth, which very much relies upon the vagina.
Leviticus 19:20-22 teaches us that a man can rape his female slaves and be forgiven, though the slave must be punished. Likewise, Deuteronomy 22:28-29 reminds us that a man can rape a virgin, though he must marry her, and also pay her father 50 shekels.
The Bible is a weird, scary place. In case you needed further proof of that, along comes 1 Samuel 18:25-27 where Saul sells his daughter to David. Instead of wanting to be paid money for his daughter, Saul asks for ... are you ready ... ? Saul asks for the foreskins of 100 Philistine men.
.... WHAT?! There's a happy ending, though. David gives 200 foreskins, a profit of 100 foreskins for Saul to squirrel away for the winter. HUZZAH!
Eastern religions, such as Hinduism leave no room for interpretation when it comes to the role of women: "By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent". (Laws of Manu, V, 147-8).
Women are subservient to men and inherently inferior, period.
What about Eastern religions?
Even Buddhism has been used to repress people (especially women), such as under Hirohito's rule and currently in Burma. The armies that began the horrible civil wars in Sri Lanka during the 50s and 60s were comprised of Buddhists.
The Theravadan Buddhists claim a woman could never become a Buddha. A popular belief in Buddhist countries is that negative karma results in a man being reborn as a woman. Again, the female gender's state is seen as a punishment, one filled with shame. Buddhism teaches that institutions like marriage must be regulated by society though social, political, and legal processes. This does not mean Buddhism is a progressive religion. Rather, it's sort of like passing the buck. We don't want to say women are equal to men, so we'll just let you figure it out. If you decide they're equal, fine. If you decide she's the social equivalent of a cow, and you can sell her for a dowry, that's cool too. I'll just be over here, under my Bodhi tree.
Jainism is frequently referenced as the one truly peaceful religion. They even cover their mouths whilst walking outside so they cannot accidentally inhale a defenseless bug. Surely they, the Jains, are enlightened in matters of gender. Think again. Jainism does not teach that women can gain ultimate spiritual liberation, though a woman could strive to become a man in her next life so she could then reach enlightenment.
What happens when so-called feminists create alliances with religion?
You get Iranian fashion shows with women dressed in different colored Hijab. Viva La Revolucion! What better way to freely express creativity, passion, and art than in the free world of fashion? Of course, throw religion into the mix and you have this:
The liberated, passionate world of art, music, and fashion cannot coexist with a regime that maintains these guidelines for women's dress:
1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible (According to some Fiqh Schools).
2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.
3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape / form of the body is not apparent.
4. The female clothing must not resemble the man's clothing.
5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non-believing women.
6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.
7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one's status in society.
Sounds chic, doesn't it? But hey, Allah never said he wanted fashion shows. He said: "Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty ; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof. " [Quran : 24.31]
Now get into your burka, and shut up. It's sad and embarrassing when feminists try to rationalize their religiosity, say with Iranian fashion shows. It's not tolerance. It's hypocrisy, illogical, and downright silly. It's a bit like watching a black person try to explain why they vote Republican. Essentially, there is no way to reconcile the rational hope of all genders peacefully coexisting with irrational dogmas. Modern feminists desperately attempt to reshape their religions into something that looks vaguely modern and tolerant, but at their cores, all religions are sexist and repressive.
If the only proof of a religion's dictated guidelines to morality are their religious texts, then we must believe that the Bible, Quran, and Buddhist sutras, vinaya, and abhidharma all represent the core beliefs of their religious sources. If we are to believe they are not truly reflective of their religious roots, then why did God dictate incorrect information to his scribes? If the errors of the texts are man's folly, why has God not corrected them or made his true beliefs known? God is, after all, the supposed creator of the cosmos. Surely, he could have given us a Bible 2.0 by now. Perhaps a Bible XP?
No, we must assume these texts are truly reflective of their religion's ideologies. With that assumption firmly cemented, we see that there is no room in religion for feminism, the doctrine advocating the equality of rights, social and political, with those of men. For feminism to work, it must exist outside of the constraining margins of religion. It must operate outside of the assumption that women are inferior to men, which is a foundational belief of the major theologies. Or, feminists must attempt to rationalize their religious ideologies to reconcile them with their desire for social equality, which is an impossible order. You end up changing the definition of your religion by rejecting their sacred texts or you change the definition of feminism so it says: I want to be equal always, except when it comes to your religion that says I am inferior, and I accept that.
Either you are a feminist and you reject religion, or you are a worshiper and you reject the concept that the genders are equal.