Chapter

Spirits and Bodies

Marta Trzebiatowska and Steve Bruce

in Why are Women more Religious than Men?

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199608102
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744730 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608102.003.0003
Spirits and Bodies

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Women are more likely than men to engage in the type of religious and spiritual activities motivated by a desire to maintain contact with the souls of the dead. This chapter presents a brief history of Spiritualism and explains its disproportionate appeal to women. In some cases, mediumship was socially empowering for female practitioners. It argues that, prior to the institutionalization of Spiritualism in the twentieth century, women were more likely than men to become mediums because the role required sensitivity and a caring attitude to others. The second part of this chapter introduces data on women's attitudes to the disposal of the dead and to the human body in general in order to suggest a link between bodily purity and religious enthusiasm. Women are far more concerned than men about being cremated alive and about the decay of their bodies. This, in itself, does not make them more religious but it does point to some elective affinities between feminine attitudes and religiosity.

Keywords: Spiritualism; medium; Fox sisters; dead bodies; surviving; caring; after-life

Chapter.  5949 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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