Heavenly Bodies, Earthly Constructs: Conceptions of Gender and the Body Through the Lens of Neo-Paganism and Christianity


Religion, as both a spiritual and cultural institution, dictates our day to day lives and is one of the most influential power structures seen throughout history. Laws, lives, and societal roles have all been viewed through the narrow lens of religious fervor, with Christianity being the most influential religion in the world. Curiosity and subversion from these religious identities to alternative religious practices are seen as a diversion from the cultural norms established by Christianity. Christianity has been a consistent influence in Western culture well beyond the walls of the Church, and is seen both overtly and covertly through the individual’s decision making. Women’s bodies have been viewed and dictated through the different ideological lenses that the culture of Christianity has created and is continually felt in secular space. The view of women’s bodies has shifted dramatically when comparing the Christian view to the Neo-Pagan view, and this lens will be explored with a case study example of a survey that was completed in 2022. The ways that women’s bodies are viewed varies by religion with universally dominating religions like Christianity and alternative religions like Neo-Paganism having stark differences concerning perceptions of women’s bodies and their subsequent roles. The way the body, specifically women’s bodies, is viewed is radically different across religions, with two dichotomous views being Christianity and Neo-Paganism, and this paper explores the ways these conceptions are manifesting in society.


Alexis McKernan
Student, Masters in History and Masters in Museum Studies, University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2024 Special Focus—Spaces, Movement, Time: Religions at Rest and in Movement


Neopaganism, Christianity, Gender, History, Body, Politics, Feminist, Religion, Spirituality

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