Gender and Nationalism: The Masculinizations of Hinduism and Female Political Participation in India


Banerjee, Sikata. 2003. “Gender and Nationalism: The Masculinization of Hinduism and Female Political Participation in India.” Women’s Studies International Forum 26 (2): 167-79. doi:10.1016/S0277-5395(03)00019-0.

Author: Sikata Banerjee


Feminist analysis has revealed the gendered nature of nations and nationalism. Adopting such a perspective, this paper analyzes the relationship between the masculinization of Hindu nationalism and female political participation. The image of an aggressive male warrior is central to certain versions of Hindu nationalism or Hindutva in contemporary India. This image is embedded within a political narrative, which declares its affinity for ideas of resolute masculinity through an array of symbols, historic icons, and myths. Given that Indian women are very visible in the politics of Hindutva, this paper interrogates how women have created a political space for themselves in a very masculinist narrative. This interrogation focuses on historical and cultural processes that enabled this masculinization, certain ideals of femininity implicit within this narrative which opens the door for female participation, and womens' use of images and icons drawn from a common cultural milieu to enter the political landscape of Hindutva.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Nationalism, Political Participation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2003

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