Is Your Soul Truly Gender Neutral?

Debating women’s ability to achieve enlightenment, according to Hindu mythology.

Are historical debates between men and women important?

Yes. Because when feminist scholars talk about women’s agency, the focus is on the angry protests of wives, of women wronged. They don’t look at their historical participation in intellectual and philosophical conversations.

This is why Sulabha’s debate is important. Unlike Gargi, silenced by terror tactics, Sulabha silenced her competition with the truth.

She silences him by saying that there is no essential difference between men and women, besides that which is socially constructed.

This is why Sulabha is interesting; she appears as a sole woman scholar in texts that usually depict women in relation to the men in their lives.

But back to the story.

Image via Author

What are some things Janaka is implying here?

#1: As a young and (I reiterate) beautiful woman, Sulabha is incapable of overcoming her desires for sensual pleasure to attain liberation.

#2: Women can’t be autonomous agents, only instruments under male control. When he accuses her of her wickedness for trying to prove her superiority over men, he means she’s been sent to his court to tempt him. He asks: who are you? where are you from? to whom do you belong?

The soul is the same in every person. I am you, you are me. We are the same, though our bodies differ. Therefore, wom(x)n are equally capable of doing the same things as men.

Your soul has no fixed connection to your body (they mean that when you die, it’ll move on). If there’s no connection, it’s under no one’s control. Hence, no woman is under anyone’s control.

A Generation Z kid studying sociology and searching for the Fortress of Solitude.

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