Sisterhood, the Blog

Sacred Space for 21st Century Women

Female-Oriented Spirituality, Feminism, and the Internet’s effect on women’s spiritual practices

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Many thanks to Veronica Arreola, founder of Viva La Feminista blog (www.vivalafeminista.com) for tweeting about Oh My God(dess)! Feminist Spirituality in the Third Wave, a blog post written by Mandy Van Deven, a freelance writer and founder of the Feminist Review blog.  Mandy’s blog post was featured on Religion Dispatches, a daily online magazine.  Mandy interviewed Religion scholar Chris Klassen, author of Feminist Spiritualities: The Next Generation,  a collection of writings by 11 female academics.  Click here to read it: www.religiondispatches.org/archive/religionandtheology/1774/oh_my_god%28dess%29%21_feminist_spirituality_in_the_third_wave.

Check out an excerpt from the Mandy’s interview with Chris below. After you read it, think about the question below.

What effect do you think the Internet is having on women’s spiritual practices?

Excerpt from Mandy’s blog interview

We don’t tend to think of the Internet as a site for spiritual practice, yet many young women are running Web sites and blogs in order to build a community and engage in theological discussion. What effect might technology have on feminist spirituality?

This is the big question of the day for all religious use of the Internet. I think this kind of technology can bring people together from a wider range of contexts while simultaneously having the power to isolate us in our homes. One of the obvious ways the Internet effects feminist spirituality is in increasing women’s access to resources. This makes the picking and choosing of spiritual practices and mythologies much easier.However, it also reinforces as focus on “my” spiritual practice rather than “our group’s” spiritual practice. The internet facilitates heterodoxy and heteropraxis.

Yet it’s not so simple as encouraging individualism. Individuals are also brought together through the Internet to gain support from each other and to inform each other about events and issues, among other things. Overall, the effect the Internet has on feminist spirituality is not much different from the effect the Internet has on every other aspect of our lives.

What does a female-oriented spirituality do for feminism?

I believe it limits feminism. One of the contributions of third wave feminism is a stronger emphasis on disrupting rigid identities. This was present in the second wave, but it was not as blatant. ‘Female-oriented’ assumes there is a rigid definition of what ‘female’ is, and it also assumes that femaleness is a stronger tie for women than other elements of their identities. Many women of color called out early white second wave feminists for assuming they would have more in common as women than women of color would have with men of color. But why should they have to choose? Many third wave feminists, by virtue of their stronger individualism, see their identities as unique individual categories that only partially align with any other individual. Thus ‘female-oriented’ would only be a piece of their lives, and minimally useful—if at all.”

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September 5, 2009 - Posted by | Feminist Spirituality | , , , , , , , , ,

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