Volume six in the I Speak for Myself Series. Feminist Jewish, Christian and Muslim Women on Why They Stay
““Why do you stay?” It is a common question women are asked in relation to their faith. These are not women who buy into Candace Cameron’s biblically submissive theory; rather, these are women who claim a feminist identity, have membership in a particular religious tradition, and practice their faith in spite of gendered challenges.
In Faithfully Feminist 15 Christian, 15 Jewish, and 15 Muslim women share their stories of struggle and faith.
In a world where women’s issues are political issues, women are judged for their positions in relation to their claimed identities. Feminists argue that you cannot be a “true” feminist if you are a practicing Christian, Muslim, or Jew. Likewise, religious practitioners claim that you cannot be a “true” Christian, Muslim, or Jew if you support feminist values. Nevertheless, women who practice these religious traditions and hold feminist values are not uncommon, and the question “Why do you stay?” is one that is frequently asked of them.
Faithfully Feminist is the sharing of stories, encouraging other women, and acknowledging that being feminist doesn’t mean giving up on your faith.
REVIEWS / ENDORSEMENTS
“Firmly planted in this last category [those who work within existing systems and fields] are the contributors to Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, & Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay (White Cloud Press, $17.95). Edited by Gina Messina-Dysert, Jennifer Zobair and Amy Levin, this anthology brings together personal essays from the three faiths “to provide a platform for empowered women of faith to speak,” to show that it can be an act of feminism to stay, to stand shoulder to shoulder, to reclaim sacred space.” – Erica Brody, Lilith
“What a brave and powerful examination of observance and empowerment; of living within boundaries and embracing the possibilities they reveal. The importance of appreciating the challenges and simultaneous beauty of living inside of a system of observance cannot be overemphasized. This compilation does all of that and more.” – Mayim Bialik, Emmy-nominated actor, “The Big Bang Theory”
“One after another these Faithful Feminists from Abrahamic traditions tell of their journey through bias and discrimination to clarity and peace. The struggle can come within religious traditions or in secular settings, but all lead to a fuller understanding of fidelity in a complex world. In their telling many of their stories mirror and nourish my own. I am grateful for their bold willingness to share their insights and stimulate my reflection giving rise to the certainty that we are all sisters in this quest. Thank you!” – Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK and founder of Nuns on the Bus
“The stories shared in Faithfully Feminist paint for us the varied and textured reality of women’s feminist expressions of faith in all their complexity. They defy any claim to simple, dualistic perspectives of how feminists should relate to patriarchal religious traditions. Life cannot be so reduced. These women’s stories are a testimony to the vastness of human strength and creativity and the transformation that is possible at the intersection of feminisms and religions. These women speak for themselves and we are the better if we received their gift and listen to their voices.” – Xochitl Alvizo, Co-Founder of FeminismandReligion.com
“What brings one to faith and keeps one ‘faithful,’ especially in religious communities that remain densely patriarchal? As the narratives in this anthology attest, these are such ineffably personal questions that no woman can answer them for another. Perhaps that is just as well since it allows us to learn from each other’s struggles how to be present to the divine in our own distinctive ways.” – Dr. Asma Barlas, Professor of Politics at Ithaca College and author of “Believing Women” in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an
“Faithfully Feminist is a creative collage of witty, tantalizing, courageous, honest, and provocative faith stories. The writers share from the sacred places in the heart and urge us to answer the question, ‘why do we stay?’ Their diverse stories affirm that feminism is necessary to the faith and practice of us all for we are all God’s people. These heartwarming stories challenge the boundaries that patriarchal religions place on women and celebrates the significance of listening and attending to women’s faith voices.” –Grace Ji-Sun Kim, author of The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology
“This is a richly textured, intellectually and ethically challenging book—especially for readers like me. As a religious traditionalist, I need to hear these voices. I may not always want to hear them, but I need to hear them. Their honesty, depth, commitment, and energy are compelling. This book attests to the vitality of our several traditions and to the moral integrity of the thinkers who work to stay within them.” – Alan Mittleman, Professor of Jewish Thought at The Jewish Theological Union and author of A Shorty History of Jewish Ethics
“In today’s world, expressing faith is often as contentious as claiming feminism. Faithfully Feminist brings the two together like cinders in a fire longing for oxygen. Sparks fly as Muslim, Jewish, and Christian women invite us into their stories of standing up for their equality and full humanity while deepen their faith. The diversities and continuities of their experiences of the divine and commitment to their communities ignite and illuminate faith and feminism in ways that enrich each tradition. Stunningly eloquent, powerfully honest, a must read! – Kate Ott, author of Sex + Faith
“Read this book–to plunge immediately into the world of why women bother sticking with the worlds’ sexist religious traditions—because they want to transform them! In the words of the savvy editors of Faithfully Feminist, ‘to live a feminist and religious life is an art . . . it requires being graceful and bold, cunning and creative.’ This is precisely what this strong collection of writing is all about.” – Laura Levitt, Professor of Religion, Jewish Studies and Gender Temple University
“Faithfully Feminist is a must read for anyone eager to tear down biases and stereotypes surrounding the loaded concepts of both religion and feminism. This beautifully written anthology finally provides a loud and clear voice for women who are proud to call themselves feminists and believers, and serves as a wakeup call to those that believe feminism is incompatible with religion. An inspiring book! – Shaheen Pasha, Assistant Professor of international Journalism at University of Massachusetts-Amherst and former reporter for Dow Jones, CNN and Thomson Reuters