According to a study discussed in a story published last week in The Telegraph, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is inspiring women to leave conventional organized religion "because they feel the church is not relevant to their lives."
Buffy didn't start this phenomenon--according to the author of the study, Dr Kristin Aune, a sociologist at the University of Derby, it began two decades ago, before Buffy was on the air. One million women, or 50,000 a year, have left their churches over the past 20 years. But Buffy helped show women an attractive alternative to religions that afford them little sense of the egalitarianism they value: wicca. Buffy celebrated female power, connection to the larger world of nature and spirit, and a disdain of hierarchies--all things inimical to traditional western religion. So they're bailing on it.
Referring to developments in the Church of England, Dr. Aune states, "Women's ordination, as priests and now bishops, has dominated debate and headlines – but while looking at women in the pulpit we have taken our eyes off the pews, where a shift with more consequences for the church's survival is underway." The news story goes on to say that
Dr Aune says the church must adapt to the needs of modern women if it is to stop them leaving in their droves.
She believes many women have been put off going to church in recent years because of the influence of feminism, which challenged the traditional Christian view of women's roles and raised their aspirations.
Her report claims they feel forced out of the church because of its "silence" about sexual desire and activity, and because of its hostility to single-parent families and unmarried couples which are now a reality for many women.
But it also says changes in women's working lives, with many more now pursuing careers as well as raising children, mean they have less time to attend church.
Dr Aune believes churches must now introduce services and activities that fit in better with modern's women's schedules, such as Saturday morning breakfast clubs.
Dr. Aune's study is published in a really expensive, recently published book I bet my library hasn't bought yet and won't have available for a while: Women and Religion in the West. I hope to read it as soon as possible.