Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Department

Sociology

Reader 1

Lynn Rapaport

Reader 2

Colin Beck

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Rights Information

© 2014 Megan Pritchett

Abstract

The emergence of the Christian Right and the feminist movement in the mid-to-late 20th century have had a significant impact on the political, psychological, and social landscape of the U.S., and this is especially true for Christian women who sit at the cross-roads of these movements. To understand the context surrounding this group, I examine different areas of sociological literature: the primacy of gender and religion in identity formation, Christian marriage and gender roles, the “culture wars” of the Christian Right, and a brief overview of feminist theory. Utilizing qualitative research methods, I interviewed 13 self-identified Christian women to learn how they understood their female and Christian identities, as well as how they negotiated gender roles. Participants were also asked to share their definition and identification with feminism (or lack of identification). A short quantitative survey followed the interview. Themes that emerged from this research include idealized understandings of faith and self, complex and contradictory practice, and rejection of labels. Through self-definition, participants were able to navigate away from stereotypes and communicate their beliefs as they related to their experience.