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Chastity and desire

This article explores the Jain construction of womanhood. It analyses how this construction is on the one hand different from Brahminical models, and how on the other it reiterates some of the more common paradigms of Brahmanism. While Brahminical texts have emphasized women's religiosity in their roles as householders, Jainism is distinguished by its recognition of women as independent spiritual agents with the capacity for renunciation and salvation. Not only do the earliest Jain monastic codebooks acknowledge the presence of women renouncers, popular tales about Jain women capable of extreme chastity and asceticism also establish them as the icons of Jain religiosity. However, the Jain imagery in this respect is not uniform, and there exist multiple discursive registers that at once enable and disempower women as autonomous religious beings. Existing alongside the positive portrayals of women's spirituality are deeply misogynist renderings of women as snares and temptresses. How then is the study of women in Jainism significant to our understanding of religion and womanhood in the South Asian context?
Language title : Chastity and desire
Author :
Publisher : Published 2009
Category : Articles
Sub Category : Sociology
Sect :
Language : English
No. of Pages : 19
Keywords : a


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