Female body, nudity and shame in Jainism: A feminist viewpoint
Author(s): Dr. Rizia Begum Laskar
Abstract: This article explores the Jain concept of the female body with regards to renunciation and attaining mokña. The probing into the concepts of Jainism is primarily based on the Digambara sect of Jainism and the fact that the Digambara sect denies complete renunciation to women nuns specifically because of the female body while the same is available to men. The female body is not only considered to be inferior but also in denying it the option of nudity the attainment of mokña is also taken away from the women nuns. This paper argues from a feminist standpoint that the shame which emanates from nudity of the female body is because of the male gaze and that the subjugation of the female body relegates her to an inferior status. At the same time, the given identity of the female body is an irrefutable one and the denying of spirituality on the basis of one’s sex is an attempt at erasure of the very concept of being female.