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On Hinduism$
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Wendy Doniger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199360079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.001.0001

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The Third Nature : Gender Inversions in the Kamasutra 1

The Third Nature : Gender Inversions in the Kamasutra 1

(p.314) The Third Nature : Gender Inversions in the Kamasutra 1
On Hinduism

Wendy Doniger

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the Kamasutra and what it says about gender. More specifically, it considers unexpectedly subtle stereotypes of feminine and masculine natures in the text, along with its relatively liberal attitudes to women’s education and sexual freedom. It looks into the Kamasutra’s liberalism toward women by discussing the attitudes to women in two important texts that precede it: the dharmashastra of Manu and the Arthashastra of Kautilya. It then explores the Kamasutra’s views on topics ranging from women’s access to household funds, divorce and widow remarriage, homoeroticism and the ‘third nature’, and bisexuality. It also analyzes Sir Richard Francis Burton’s translation of the Kamasutra, with an emphasis on same-sex eroticism.

Keywords:   gender, Kamasutra, women, sexual freedom, divorce, remarriage, homoeroticism, third nature, bisexuality, Richard Francis Burton

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