Hindu and Buddhist Gender Roles and Ideals: the Household and Abstract Concepts

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Introduction
Gender roles and ideals in Hinduism and Buddhism are diverse. A number of texts regarding household gender roles exist in Hindu traditions, and little to none are appear to exist in Buddhist traditions. The gendering of abstract concepts in both Hinduism and Buddhism may also occur. The cases sited indicate that male dominance is significantly more common than female dominance in ancient and Classical Hindu texts while regional variations may continue to exist. Buddhists appear to internalize the gender norms of diverse regions. Mention of other gender roles are rear.

In the Household
Gender roles within the Hindu household are diverse. Hindus now live around the globe (Narayanan 262), and differ as to the correct Hindu
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Some may believe that the obligation to periodically mate is a gift, and others a burden, perhaps particularly so in cases of child marriage (Turner). Sex also appears in art and ritual objects. The linga (Shiva’s ‘distinguishing symbol’) often sits in the yoni (the womb) in Hindu temples and homes, and temples may contain sexual art (Narayanan 299). These images may illustrate the mythology of the Puranas, and/or may have been used to educate young male students who were expected to eventually pursue marital sensual enjoyment or kama (ibid.). Narayanan notes that male offspring were preferred to female offspring for thousands of years (313). This has been largely influenced by the custom in which parents provide their daughters with money or property (dowries) before they set off to live with their husbands and the families of their husbands (ibid.; Turner). The dowry system thus creates a situation in which daughters are costly (Narayanan 313). Narayanan notes that sonograms and amniocentesis are often used today to observe the sex of the fetus, which is often aborted if female (314; Ansari). Consequently, abortions have recently resulted in a sharp drop in female births (ibid.). Some Hindus may reject dharmasastra teachings and the popular dowry system. Geographical differences may be correlated with differences of social norms, and because Hindu households are found around the world, Hindu social norms may also differ. A variety of Hindu sects

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