Thursday, November 12, 2009
Women's role and desire
In a paper of mine ("Desidero Ergo Sum", RSO 2009), I argued that Mīmāṃsakas fall close from admitting women's and men's equality since they grant to women the eligibility (adhikāra) to perform rituals. The chief argument in favour of women is that they can become ritual agents because they long for the ritual's result, just like men. Hence, equality is based on the commonnes of desire. Now, Shaji George Kochuthara sent me an article of him ("Kāma without Dharma? Understanding the Ethics of pleasure in Kāmasūtra", Journal of Dharma, 34.1 (2009), 69-95) where more or less the same point is made. Women have an active role in kāma-related activities (which are not limited, explains Kochuthara, to sexual intercourses, but rather include all sort of sensual pleasures), because they are independent subject of desire. If I am not wrong, this may be the same kind of reasoning outlined in the case of the Mīmāṃsāsūtra: women are seen as independent subjects (unlike animals, for instance, or idiots) because they have desire. It is their very desire which allows them to emerge in the field of the plausible agents.