Compared to the feminist movement in the North, feminist struggle in the South has not been defined by the liberal politics of the women's suffrage movement, women's rights, and the demand for equal access to opportunities and privileges enjoyed by men. Feminists in the South do not have the luxury of attending to gender oppression alone, without simultaneously taking into consideration class, racial, colonial, and religious oppression. Their political theology takes many forms, including the option for solidarity with the poor, the critique of cultural alienation and racial repression, the challenge of the globalized economy, and activism for ecojustice and protection of nature. Virginia Fabella and Oduyoye (1988: xi) articulate the nature of such a theology:
Our theology must speak of our struggles and the faith that empowers us. Our theology goes beyond the personal to encompass the community, and beyond gender to embrace humanity in its integrity. Our theology takes cognizance of academic studies but insists on the wider spectrum of women's experience and reality for its inspirations and insights. Being contextual in the Third World has meant that women's theology has embraced the religio-cultural besides the socio-economic and has engaged it in a living dialogue.
In contrast to the political theology of their male counterparts, feminist political theologies from the South do not lay so much emphasis on God as an actor in and judge of human history. Aware of the limitations of anthropocentric discourse about God, feminist theologians avoid portraying human history as the only arena for God. They also question the wisdom of projecting a God that is all-powerful and controlling, a protector and benefactor of women, modeled after privileged males. While male liberation theologians have exhorted the church to bring about social change, female theologians are more realistic about ecclesial power and their optimism more guarded. The church, steeped in male hierarchy and tradition, has to repent for its sexism before it can be a beacon of hope and an agent for change.
Feminist theologians in the South welcome opportunities for dialogue and seek solidarity with women in the North because feminist struggles are increasingly interconnected and global. They have also engaged in crosscultural conversation with women theologians from racial minorities in North America. With passion and compassion, they continue to articulate a new theological voice full of hope and joy, with reverence for life and respect for all things. Integrating theory and praxis, their political theology is rooted in the local, but connected to the global.
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