Feminist Theology 14 (3):367-387 (2006)

This article seeks to explore a neglected perspective in pastoral theology: namely that of the influence of conservative family culture and church practice on the spiritual, emotional, and physical development of young Christian women, particularly in the area of disordered eating patterns and negative self-image. It shows the ways in which hidden tensions, particularly within somewhat marginal Christian communities, or for groups which seek to define themselves strongly against prevailing secular cultural norms, can play themselves out in the inner conflicts of vulnerable young women. Such conflicts often centre on their difficulties in trying to define themselves in relation to their family and culture when they may have neither the opportunity nor the language to articulate the burden of such hidden conflicts. The author suggests models of pastoral care which involve working with Christian tradition and scriptural narratives to help Christian communities, and particularly women within them, to redefine assumptions about female roles and norms, and to develop a more open and physically grounded spirituality.
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DOI 10.1177/0966735006063775
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