Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 173–193 | Cite as

Male god imagery and female submission: Lessons from a southern baptist ladies' bible class

  • Carolyn Pevey
  • Christine L. Williams
  • Christopher G. Ellison


Several researchers have identified misogynistic tendencies in the Christian tradition. Many Christian churches use predominantly male images of God, preach the doctrine of wifely submission, and exclude women from leadership roles. To understand how women find happiness and sustain their self-esteem within the context of Christian patriarchy, this paper presents a case study of women who attend a Bible class at a large fundamentalist Southern Baptist church in a Texas city. Using fieldwork and in-depth interviews, we examine the ways that women negotiate a religious tradition that promotes male domination. We find considerable disjuncture between their religious beliefs and reported practices. The women interviewed used a variety of strategies to subvert the doctrine of wifely submission. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings, and identifying several promising directions for further investigation.


Social Psychology Social Issue Religious Belief Leadership Role Cross Cultural Psychology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Pevey
    • 1
  • Christine L. Williams
  • Christopher G. Ellison
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Texas-AustinAustin

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