Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, Vol 12, No 2 (2010)

Negotiating Gender Essentialism in Contemporary Paganism

Regina Smith Oboler
Issued Date: 5 Jun 2011

Abstract


Contemporary Paganism, a rapidly growing religious movement, has the potential to impact the gender ideology of the larger culture. This community is moving away from an initial gender essentialism in which qualities defined by the cultural community as feminine, though highly valued, were viewed as intrinsically distinct from masculine qualities, toward a more complex and less essentialist understanding of gender. This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork and interviewing, survey questionnaires, and analysis of core Pagan texts. It first reviews the importance to Pagans of conceptualizing the Divine as both feminine and masculine. Next it shows how in early Wiccan writings women and men, as well as masculine and feminine divinity and cosmic “energy,” are characterized in gender-essentialist ways. It then examines some of the rhetorical strategies used by Contemporary Pagans to mediate between essentialist and non-essentialist understandings of gender. Finally, it explores, through examples, current trends that represent a movement away from essentialist images toward a new representation of gender.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/pome.v12i2.159

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy