Conservatiefchristelijke genderopvattingen in een geëmancipeerde samenleving
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This thesis investigates the explanations for the existence of conservative Christian conceptions of gender in contemporary secular and emancipated western society. I thereby focus on Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity, in response to American research that uncovered antifeminist sentiments within this strand of Christianity. In order to find explanations of these conservative Christian gender conceptions I posit the question: do conservative Christian women assign different roles to themselves in different life domains? Beside researching scientific literature I carried out a small explorative research by interviewing four Dutch women; one Pentecostal Christian and three Evangelicals. The development of traditional Christian gender conceptions has been interpreted in different ways. On the one hand these conservative conceptions are seen as a cause of the decline of traditional Christian churches in the west. On the other hand it appears that there are women who are attracted to conservative gender ideologies. Literature shows that for some women submission to husband headship can lead to empowerment. The interviews immediately show that in The Netherlands the conservative discourse as described in the first chapter of the thesis is much less present than it is in America. However, the interviews do indicate different roles being distinguished in different life domains. The women with a clear family domain comply with the traditional ideal of husband’s headship. Sociologist Sally Gallagher defines certain stances religion could adopt towards modernity in order to survive. One of these stances is ‘accommodating and compartmentalizing religion, work and family’. The results of the interviews bear witness to such stance and it can also be found in the literature on conservative Christian women. In addition Gallagher rightly points at the complex shapes traditional gender conceptions in contemporary society can adopt. she stresses the symbolism of the gender roles and the differences between traditional gender conceptions as an ideology and the pragmatic implementations thereof. Beside providing the findings on the subject of conservative Christian women and how they adhere to their traditional gender conceptions this thesis also critically approaches certain prevalent scientific conceptions of feminism and emancipation.