Whose Body Whose Language? A Feminist Critique of the Construction of Discourses on a Woman’s Body in African Religious Spaces and its Effect on Well-being

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Gyaviira Kisitu
Lilian C Siwila

Abstract

The autonomy of a woman’s body and the space it occupies in many religious spaces appears to be embedded in a contested terrain. An African woman’s body is located in a space that seems to be safely controlled in order to save it from its supposed vulnerability. Such interventions have been championed by many factors such as colonialism, patriarchy, and religio-cultural ideologies derived from different religious traditions such as African Traditional Religions and Christianity. Within these interventions the female body seems to be silent, spoken for, acted upon, amidst situations that locate it in subordinated hierarchies of society. These hierarches appear to be carefully secured by the patriarchal rhetoric that cuts across the secular and religio-cultural traditions. This paper is a critique of how religions such as Christianity and African Religions construct women’s bodies which in turn affects their wellbeing in society. The paper uses discourse analysis to argue that although women’s bodies have power to control and challenge systems both in societal and spiritual realm as is argued by scholars these bodies are still perceived as subordinate to patriarchal control. Hence, the paper concludes, with a need for urgency in analyzing the way in which women’s bodies are located in religious spaces and its effect to women’s identity and wellbeing.

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How to Cite
Kisitu, G., & Siwila, L. (2016). Whose Body Whose Language? A Feminist Critique of the Construction of Discourses on a Woman’s Body in African Religious Spaces and its Effect on Well-being. Alternation Journal, 23(2), 185-200. Retrieved from https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/soa/article/view/1282
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Articles
Author Biographies

Gyaviira Kisitu, University of KwaZulu-Natal


PhD Candidate (Systematic Theology)
School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics

kisitudavis@yahoo.com

Lilian C Siwila, University of KwaZulu-Natal



Siwila@ukzn.ac.za