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Embodying the Goddess: Healing the Wounds of Patriarchy through Women’s Consumption Practices in Feminist Spiritual Movements
Abstract: Spiritual and religious consumers have been labelled as ‘duped’ and ‘narcissistic’ (Aldridge, 2003). In the context of women’s spiritual healing and re-embodiment, this stigmatisation over women’s spiritual and religious autonomy reinforces the patriarchal discourses surrounding women’s position in religion. It is put forward that once women attempt to manoeuvre into traditional masculine ‘sacred’ spaces, women’s bodies become subject to systematic defeminisation and desexualisation, such as through unnegotiable religious attire (Page, 2014). A growing body of research has discovered an upward trend in women’s consumption of Goddess spirituality (Aune, 2015; Bowman, 2011; Foltz, 2000; Gordon, 1995; Harper, 2010); it is argued that women use feminist forms of spirituality as a means of realigning their embodied selfhood after abuse suffered through patriarchy (Foltz, 2000). Within Goddess spirituality, the female form becomes a site of celebration; her bodily functions are seen as reflections of nature. Her sexuality, her menstruation, her children’s births are all deemed proof that She is the Divine. Goddess rituals create sacred liminal space for embodied healing. It is therefore argued that spiritual consumption practices adopted by women pose a challenge to the normative discourses surrounding both religion, and consumerist economies (Bowman, 2011). Consequently, I argue that by undermining the importance of spiritual and embodied feminine healing, these narratives risk reinforcing the patriarchal systems of oppression over women’s bodies.