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Does God Hate Women? [Hardcover]

Ophelia Benson , Jeremy Stangroom
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Jun 2009
The new book from high profile philosophy writers Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom (authors of the hugely successful "Why Truth Matters"), exploring a topical and controversial religious and cultural issue in a highly accessible manner.This fascinating book explores the role that religion and culture play in the oppression of women. Philosophy writers Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom ask probing questions about the way that religion shields the oppression of women from criticism and why many Western liberals, leftists and feminists have remained largely silent on the subject.The lives of women in the industrialized world have improved enormously in the last hundred years, especially so, in social, cultural and political terms, in the last forty. But throughout the rest of the world, a great many women lead lives of misery and sometimes plain horror. They are often considered and treated as the property of men and have few, if any, rights. Such treatment is generally sustained and protected by a combination of religion and culture."Does God Hate Women?" explores instances of the oppression of women in the name of religious and cultural norms and how these issues play out both in the community and in the political arena. Drawing on philosophical concerns such as truth, relativism, knowledge and ethics, Benson and Stangroom assess the current situation and provide a rallying call for a progressive politics that is committed to universal values. This important new book will appeal to anyone interested in issues of global justice, human rights and multiculturalism.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.; 1 edition (4 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826498264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826498267
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 445,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom are the editors of Butterflies and Wheels, the best atheist site on the web. In Does God Hate Women? they forensically dismantle the last respectable misogyny ... By the end of this book-length blast, Benson and Stangroom have left religious hatred of women in rubble. Anybody not addled by superstition will have to conclude that such bigotry deserves neither respect nor deference.' -- Johann Hari, New Statesman

About the Author

Ophelia Benson is editor of www.butterfliesandwheels.com, deputy editor of The Philosophers' Magazine and co-author, with Jeremy Stangroom, of Why Truth Matters. She is also a frequest contributor to Free Inquiry. Jeremy Stangroom is co-editor, with Julian Baggini, of The Philosophers' Magazine and co-author of Do You Think What You Think You Think? (Granta, 2006), What Philosophers Think and Great Thinkers A-Z. He and Ophelia Benson are co-authors of Why Truth Matters and The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stand up and be counted! 26 May 2010
Format:Hardcover
I finished reading this book a few days ago and am planning to read it again already. An absolute must read. As someone of Muslim descent i know only too well the realities of violence and abuse visited upon women and girls across the world. This book, however, does not focus on any one single religion but looks across faiths and highlights the terrible atrocities perpetrated against women and girls in the name of religion and God. I DO NOT need to know what 'freedoms' various religions may or may not have given women and girls in the past. The questions is 'What do we all do about violence against women and girls now?'
It's time for us all to stand up and be counted and demand an end to the brutality. Women and girls make up more than half the world's population and yet those in power are relatively silent on the violencethey suffer except when it suits their own ends e.g. Afghanistan - the Taliban and those before had been attacking women and girls long before 9/11. Enough is enough - we must rise up and end the violence NOW!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading............... 27 Aug 2009
By Joyeuse VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
for all those women who don't bother to vote and every teenaged girl in the country. A lot of men could benefit from it too - it might have the same revelatory effect as Edward Shorter's "A History of Women's Bodies" had on my father when he snaffled my copy.

A cogent assessment of the iniquities visited on women in the name of religion over large parts of the globe and in some instances here. A rational, reasoned argument which carries infinitely more weight than the snide diatribes of Hitchens and the slight sense of hysteria one gets from Dawkins.

Things have moved on considerably in my lifetime but anyone who has ever been asked to get their father to guarantee a bank loan or whose mother had to get her husband to approve a credit agreement or who was at one time ineligible for a mortgage because she was female will recognise that these were only watered down versions of the mysogyny inculcated by religion.

We should all remember that things can regress as well as progress, and value and protect the freedoms we now enjoy. They could so easily be revoked as the patriarchal religions fight their rearguard action. I happened in Germany in the 30s and has happened more recently in Egypt - the price of freedom is eternal vigilance - the more so for women. We can never take it for granted.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Howler
Format:Hardcover
The Universal declaration Of Human Rights (UDHR) was drawn up after the Nazi genocide, the forced labour on the Burma railway, the bombings of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the immense death toll in the Soviet Union which wiped out 10 per cent of the population.

The words in the UDHR were chosen very carefully so as not to give emphasis to any particular religion and to help the declaration become universally applied throughout the world (not achieved so far, but nevertheless a worthy cause still worth fighting for).

This wasn't good enough for the fans of Sharia law who have come up with their own version of the UDHR (The Cairo Declaration On Human Rights In Islam - CDHRI) which contains statements like this :-

"All human beings form one family whose members are united by submission to God and descent from Adam..........."

and other such nonsense, which emphatically loads the dice in favour of men and against women, also it doesn't support secularism and the right not to believe in God.

The supporters of CDHRI believe that the the UDHR is loaded towards a Western secular concept of Judeo-Christian origin, incompatible with Sharia law.

In other words they want to go their own way as regards Human Rights, but in so doing they have created a document which could be used by people who are actually working against Human Rights.

The absurd CDHRI is nicely contrasted with the UDHR in this very readable and badly needed book by Benson and Stangroom.

As Nick Cohen says the book "is both a joy to read and a call to arms".

Now get out there and arm yourself, and I don't just mean the women amongst you !
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Matt M.
Format:Hardcover
Benson and Strangroom create a compelling case for recognising religious oppression founded upon gender divides, buttressed by impactive anecdotal evidences from various unique and continuing atrocities.

The weighting of the evidences offered, in light of the sheer volume of religious adherents worldwide, obviously requires some consideration. It could be argued, for instance, that listing a small number of evocative incidents and practices does not necessarily provide a solid evidential base for causally linking religiosity with violence against women in the manner the authors seems to imply. There is particularly a case for this is FGM, where the authors are swift to refute a cultural argument when in other domains (such as the male dominance of the church) they are attempting to advance that very same argument themselves (i.e. that males dominated the hierarchy at the time and built their belief structures in this image).

In at least one important way this critique will miss the point however. The authors present an incisive theoretical argument that world religions such as Catholic Christianity are necessarily oppressive to women through the interpretation of core tenets (the male-only hierarchy of The Vatican, institutional discourses of gender roles etc.), and thus waving away the evidences as being unrepresentative misses this broader observation. It doesn't particularly matter what practice-based evidences the authors present, they are merely for effect: to drive the point home. The point they make is a theoretical one and it doesn't specifically require us to recognise any amount of gendered violence: merely that the discursive construction of women at the highest level within many world religions is as subservient to men.
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