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The Goddess as Role ModelSita and Radha in Scripture and on Screen$
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Heidi R. M. Pauwels

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369908

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369908.001.0001

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Approaching Sītā

(p.497) Conclusion
The Goddess as Role Model

Heidi R. M. Pauwels (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The conclusion first discusses the Indian Women's Movement's engagement with the goddess as role model and calls for a nuanced understanding before activist appropriation. Then, it brings together what insights can be drawn from this study for the construction of traditional South Asian “womanhood,” and how that construction has developed over time. It looks first at the devotional construction and then at the modern one. The latter is influenced by the rise of Hindutva in politics and by a consumerist context, not unlike Soap Serials. As Radha has come to resemble Sita, women who subordinate themselves to patriarchy are shown to be rewarded. Is this oppressive or catering to what women want? A test case is presented, studying recent attitudes toward dowry. Finally, suggestions are made for further investigation that might complicate these conclusions, but on the whole it seems that we can speak of a victory of dharma over love‐ at least for now.

Keywords:   dowry, Hindutva, Indian Women's Movement, Soap Serials, consumerism

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