Dangerous Women's Bodies: Stories of How Women Ministers Are Threatening and Threatened Open Access

Wilcox, Ashley M. (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/05741r95w?locale=en


In this thesis, I have collected the stories of women ministers talking about their bodies through an online survey of ten questions. The first nine questions asked about the woman's identity and demographic information (name, age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity), denomination, and ministry setting. The final question asked the woman to share a story about her body in ministry. In the first section of my thesis, I share stories telling about how women ministers' bodies are perceived as threatening, including how they do not fit the expectations of a pastor, how their pregnancies seem threatening, and how they are threatening in singleness and sexuality. In the second section, I concentrate on stories women shared about clothing, where anxieties about the female body in ministry play out. This section also addresses the question of why women do not just cover their bodies. For many, a robe is the solution to constant comments about their appearance, but it does not work for women in denominations that traditionally do not use robes. The third section contains stories about the ways women ministers are threatened, physically and emotionally, in their work. In the fourth section, I focus on stories about how women can integrate their bodies into their ministry, as the Holy Spirit moves through their bodies and they provide an example for others of embodied ministry.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 3

I. Women Ministers as Threatening. 7

II. Clothing. 17

III. Women Ministers as Threatened. 28

VI. Integration. 39

Conclusion. 46

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