Guest post by Sheila Jeffreys
I wrote my new book, Man’s Dominion: the rise of religion and the eclipse of women’s rights, because I was concerned that it had become more and more difficult for feminists within the activist movement and within universities to criticise religion. When I became a feminist in the 1970s it was well recognised that the misogynist ideologies of the three middle-eastern monotheistic religions formed the very foundation of male domination. Religion provided the justification for subordinating women through various versions of the myth about Eve unleashing sin on the world and causing the need for Jesus to die. Religion provided a how-to guide to keeping women down, through rules of modesty, obedience and male headship, and notions of women’s innate disgustingness. These ideas are common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The feminist critique of religion seemed unimpeachable to me, when I discovered it in the 1970s, because I had been an atheist since I was 12 years old.