Idealized Women

M. Whitney Kelting

in Singing to the Jinas

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140118
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834365 | DOI:
Idealized Women

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Jain women both accept and rewrite the idealized roles received from religious texts, practices, and social expectation. The laywomen choose human – as opposed to divine – women as ideals of Jain piety, especially when the woman's religiosity was rewarded with the health and prosperity of her family. Fasting rituals and both fasting and ordination narratives illustrate the concerns and orthodoxy of many laywomen. However, in fast‐breaking gatherings and the ordination of female mendicants, female religiosity is produced by male mendicants and laymen as a symbol of Jain perfection. The Jain laywomen bothlisten to the male rhetoric of the normative texts and practices and reinterpret these normative models according to their ‘lived experiences’ as women.

Keywords: fasting; laymen; laywomen; mendicants; narratives; ordination; practices; texts

Chapter.  10794 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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