Talking about “Blood Rites: The Religion of War”


Blood RitesSeveral discussion questions submitted by students in Gender Roles in Wartime and Peacetime this week focused on Barbara Ehrenreich’s article “Blood Rites: The Religion of War.”

Read the questions below and post your comments on one or both.

  1.  Barbara Ehrenreich points out that the “mass feelings inspired by war” are very similar to those of religion” (43). Why is it that women are so involved in and emotional about both war and religion, despite the fact that their gender greatly limits their participation in both? – from Amanda
  2. Ehrenreich describes the public frenzy towards war as something “marked by emotional intensity and a fixation on totems representative of the collectivity” (41). If this is coming from the pro-war side, could the same, or similar kind of activity be presented by the anti-war side? – from Laura
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5 Responses

  1. Woman having limited participation in war and religion does not mean they cannot be involved. That gives a woman more of a reason to try to get involved because everyone thinks thats not a woman’s job. Its just like telling a woman that she cannot vote, thats when she wants to vote even more, telling a woman no is just motivation for her to keep trying.

  2. Throughout history, women have been completely engulfed in war because it hits home for them. The structure of society, family life, and their personal life is significantly altered. Even though they are not physically involved in war like men are, it doesnt mean that they aren’t emotionally/mentally tied to it either. Women are obviously going to side with their country/husband. Strong emotions are going to be formed when you are part of a group or ideal that is shooting towards one specific thing. This is why I think that war can be connected to religion…because of its commonality of purpose/belief.

  3. As Kendra said, saying no to a woman is just more motivation for them to pursue what they want. Also, women have always participated in both areas of religion and war, just maybe not in a way that people look at it as participating. In the past, women in war were nurses and held down the fort at home, and now women are actually on the front line. In religion, women have prayed and belonged to churches just as long as men. They may not have been as active, but they definitly are a part of it.

  4. In regards to Laura’s comment, I think the same arguement could definitely apply to the anti-war side. I think people are often as excited about being a part of something as they are about actually caring. Pro-war movements are often government backed, giving them a lot of power and resources that they can use to create these feelings of excitement. The anti-war side has to work a little harder to draw out these same emotions, perhaps through the use of celebrities or technology. Something like the Dixie Chick’s anti-war, anti-Bush statements drew a lot of attention to the anti-war cause, because it gave people something interesting to gather round, and creating a thrill of being a part of the anti-war movement.

  5. I completely agree with the comment that saying no to women only pushes them more to achieve what they want. I think that women are definately involved in war in one way or another. Although they are not considered the American Heroes of the war, they are still playing very important roles, that most people tend to ignore. I dont quite see how women’s participation in religion is limited, but war is true.

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