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Veiled Submission: Gender, Power, and Identity Among Evangelical and Muslim Women in the United States

Abstract

The past decade has witnessed a proliferation of studies that illuminate devout women's affiliation with conservative religious communities. Despite the increasingly multicultural character of contemporary social and religious life, few studies to date have compared the experiences of conservative religious women across faith traditions. Guided by insights from cultural theory, this study begins by comparing elite gender discourses within evangelical Protestantism and Islam. Elite evangelical gender debates hinge on biblical references to women's submission. Similarly, Muslims dispute the meaning of the veil to Islamic womanhood. After outlining the contours of these debates, we draw on in-depth interview data with evangelical and Muslim women to demonstrate how these two groups of respondents negotiate gender in light of their distinctive religious commitments. In the end, we reveal that the unique cultural repertoires within these two religious communities enable women to affirm traditional religious values while refashioning such convictions to fit their post-traditional lifestyles.

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Bartkowski, J.P., Read, J.G. Veiled Submission: Gender, Power, and Identity Among Evangelical and Muslim Women in the United States. Qualitative Sociology 26, 71–92 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021456004419

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  • women
  • religion
  • evangelical
  • Muslim
  • Islam