Is the (Hindu) Goddess a Feminist?

Rita M. Gross

in A Garland of Feminist Reflections

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780520255852
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943667 | DOI:
Is the (Hindu) Goddess a Feminist?

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This chapter explores the question of whether the Goddess is a feminist. It states that it depends on how the term feminist is defined. Various Hindu and Buddhist goddesses could be shown to be either feminists or nonfeminists in their traditional manifestations. But, in the long run, if the Goddess's devotees are feminists, then the Goddess will either come to be seen as a feminist or be abandoned by her feminist devotees. And if the Goddess's devotees are antifeminist or nonfeminist, then the Goddess will not be a feminist, whatever her appearance to outsiders who might find her appearance inspiring to their own feminism. Thus, the answer to this question lies not in the imagery and mythology of the Goddess, but in a complex and subtle interaction between the Goddess and her devotees.

Keywords: feminist; Buddhist goddesses; feminism; devotees; Goddess

Chapter.  3538 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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