Chapter

Manhood and Masculinity

Jarrod L. Whitaker

in Strong Arms and Drinking Strength

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199755707
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895274 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755707.003.0002
Manhood and Masculinity

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Chapter 1 examines the use of common R̥gvedic terms that denote “man” (nár) and “manhood, masculinity” (nr̥mná, paúm̥sya). It argues that through the use of these terms poet-priests communicate a dominant and rocentric ideology to male ritual participants. One of the key ways that poet-priests do this is by closely aligning a man’s identity with the gods Agni and Indra. Hence, ritual practitioners lay claim to what constitutes manhood through the performances of rituals, while defining just how men should comport themselves in the ritual arena and in the world at large. This chapter illuminates the relationship between the performance of early Vedic rituals and the ways in which such practices encode, reproduce, and legitimize the masculine identities of Āryan men. It demonstrates that a fundamental aspect of early Vedic life involves the sustained promotion and embodiment of what it means to be a true man.

Keywords: man; manhood; masculinity; Agni; Indra; fire; violence; nár; nrnmá; paúmsya

Chapter.  8738 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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