From Washing Feet to Shaking Hands

Footwashing, Gender, and the Things that Make for Peace


  • Fran Porter The Queen's Foundation


footwashing; gender


In this article I build on the contribution of Lloyd Pietersen in Footwashing: Symbol, Sacrament or Subversive Ritual? from the perspective of a critical gender lens. I argue that women are situated differently to men in social relations in terms of care work, in/visibility, body image, and experiences of abuse, all of which limit the extent to which footwashing can be, or even should be advocated as, a contemporary subversive Christian practice. Instead, I explore the notion of subversive practice in the context of a deeply divided society, asking what of the ordinary can be a transformative experience today.